University of Michigan Press

Corporealities: Discourses of Disability

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Corporealities: Discourses of Disability

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Backlash Against the ADA

Reinterpreting Disability Rights

Linda Hamilton Krieger, Editor

For civil rights lawyers who toiled through the 1980s in the increasingly barren fields of race and sex discrimination law, the approval of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990 by a nearly unanimous U.S. House and Senate and a Republican President seemed almost fantastic. Within five years of the Act's effective date, however, observers were warning of an unfolding assault on the ADA by federal judges, the media, and other national opinion-makers. A year after the Supreme Court issued a trio of decisions in the summer of 1999 sharply limiting the ADA's reach, another decision invalidated an entire title of the act as it applied to the states. By this time, disability activists and disability rights lawyers were speaking openly of a backlash against the ADA. What happened, why did it happen, and what can we learn from the patterns of public, media, and judicial response to the ADA that emerged in the 1990s? In this book, a distinguished group of disability activists, disability rights lawyers, social scientists and humanities scholars grapple with these questions. Taken together, these essays construct and illustrate a new and powerful theoretical model of sociolegal change and retrenchment that can inform both the conceptual and theoretical work of scholars and the day-to-day practice of social justice activists. Contributors include Lennard J. Davis, Matthew Diller, Harlan Hahn, Linda Hamilton Krieger, Vicki A. Laden, Stephen L. Percy, Marta Russell, and Gregory Schwartz. Backlash Against the ADA will interest disability rights activists, lawyers, law students and legal scholars interested in social justice and social change movements, and students and scholars in disability studies, political science, media studies, American studies, social movement theory, and legal history. Linda Hamilton Krieger is Professor of Law, University of California School of Law, Berkeley.

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The Biopolitics of Disability

Neoliberalism, Ablenationalism, and Peripheral Embodiment

David T. Mitchell with Sharon L. Snyder

In the neoliberal era, when human worth is measured by its relative utility within global consumer culture, selected disabled people have been able to gain entrance into late capitalist culture. The Biopolitics of Disability terms this phenomenon “ablenationalism” and asserts that “inclusion” becomes meaningful only if disability is recognized as providing modes of living that are alternatives to governing norms of productivity and independence. Thus, the book pushes beyond questions of impairment to explore how disability subjectivities create new forms of embodied knowledge and collective consciousness. The focus is on the emergence of new crip/queer subjectivities at work in disability arts, disability studies pedagogy, independent and mainstream disability cinema (e.g., Midnight Cowboy), internet-based medical user groups, anti-normative novels of embodiment (e.g., Richard Powers’s The Echo-Maker) and, finally, the labor of living in “non-productive” bodies within late capitalism.

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Bodies in Commotion

Disability and Performance

Edited by Carrie Sandahl and Philip Auslander

A testament to the synergy of two evolving fields. From the study of staged performances to examinations of the performing body in everyday life, this book demonstrates the enormous profitability of moving beyond disability as metaphor. . . . It's a lesson that many of our cultural institutions desperately need to learn. -Martin F. Norden, University of Massachusetts-Amherst This groundbreaking collection imagines disabled bodies as "bodies in commotion"-bodies that dance across artistic and discursive boundaries, challenging our understanding of both disability and performance. In the book's essays, leading critics and artists explore topics that range from theater and dance to multi-media performance art, agit-prop, American Sign Language theater, and wheelchair sports. Bodies in Commotion is the first collection to consider the mutually interpretive qualities of these two emerging fields, producing a dynamic new resource for artists, activists, and scholars.

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Bodies of Modernism

Physical Disability in Transatlantic Modernist Literature

Maren Tova Linett

Bodies of Modernism brings a new and exciting analytical lens to modernist literature, that of critical disability studies. The book offers new readings of canonical and noncanonical writers from both sides of the Atlantic including Flannery O’Connor, Eudora Welty, H. G. Wells, D. H. Lawrence, Elizabeth Bowen, Henry Green, Olive Moore, Carson McCullers, Tennessee Williams, J. M. Synge, Florence Barclay, Virginia Woolf, and James Joyce. Through readings of this wide range of texts and with chapters focusing on mobility impairments, deafness, blindness, and deformity, the study reveals both modernism’s skepticism about and dependence on fantasies of whole, “normal” bodies.

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Disability in Twentieth-Century German Culture

Carol Poore

Comprehensively researched, abundantly illustrated and written in accessible and engaging prose . . . With great skill, Poore weaves diverse types of evidence, including historical sources, art, literature, journalism, film, philosophy, and personal narratives into a tapestry which illuminates the cultural, political, and economic processes responsible for the marginalization, stigmatization, even elimination, of disabled people---as well as their recent emancipation. ---Disability Studies Quarterly "A major, long-awaited book. The chapter on Nazi images is brilliant---certainly the best that has been written in this arena by any scholar." ---Sander L. Gilman, Emory University "An important and pathbreaking book . . . immensely interesting, it will appeal not only to students of twentieth-century Germany but to all those interested in the growing field of disability studies." ---Robert C. Holub, University of Tennessee Disability in Twentieth-Century German Culture covers the entire scope of Germany's most tragic and tumultuous century---from the Weimar Republic to the current administration---revealing how central the notion of disability is to modern German cultural history. By examining a wide range of literary and visual depictions of disability, Carol Poore explores the contradictions of a nation renowned for its social services programs yet notorious for its history of compulsory sterilization and eugenic dogma. This comprehensive volume focuses particular attention on the horrors of the Nazi era, when those with disabilities were considered "unworthy of life," but also investigates other previously overlooked topics including the exile community's response to disability, socialism and disability in East Germany, current bioethical debates, and the rise and gains of Germany's disability rights movement. Richly illustrated, wide-ranging, and accessible, Disability in Twentieth-Century German Culture gives all those interested in disability studies, German studies, visual culture, Nazi history, and bioethics the opportunity to explore controversial questions of individuality, normalcy, citizenship, and morality. The book concludes with a memoir of the author's experiences in Germany as a person with a disability. Carol Poore is Professor of German Studies at Brown University. Illustration: "Monument to the Unknown Prostheses" by Heinrich Hoerle © 2007 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / VG Bild-Kunst, Bonn A volume in the series Corporealities: Discourses of Disability "Insightful and meticulously researched . . . Using disability as a concept, symbol, and lived experience, the author offers valuable new insights into Germany's political, economic, social, and cultural character . . . Demonstrating the significant ‘cultural phenomena' of disability prior to and long after Hitler's reign achieves several important theoretical and practical aims . . . Highly recommended." ---Choice

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Disabled Veterans in History

David A. Gerber, Editor

Disabled Veterans in History explores the long-neglected history of those who have sustained lasting injuries or chronic illnesses while serving in uniform. The contributors to this volume cover an impressive range of countries in Europe and North America as well as a wide sweep of chronology from the Ancient World to the present. The essays address the emergence of "veteran" as a political category with unique privileges and entitlements and of disabled veterans as a special project--and indeed one of the original projects--of the modern welfare state. The introductory essay, "Finding Disabled Veterans in History," offers perhaps the first attempt at synthesizing knowledge about disabled veterans in Western societies. The other essays examine the representation of disabled veterans from Sophocles' Philoctetes to American feature films; the relations of disabled veterans to the state and society in such public policy issues as pensions, medical care, physical rehabilitation, and job retraining; and the disabled veteran's agency and experience in reentering the peacetime world. Other topics include the place of disabled veterans in societies defeated in war; the fate of disabled veterans in societies experiencing frequent changes of political regimes; the emergence of pensions and vocational rehabilitation for disabled veterans; and the abiding problem of alcohol abuse among disabled veterans. The contributors come from a variety of disciplines, including history, physical rehabilitation, Slavic studies, sociology, communication and media, and museum studies. The book will be of interest especially to researchers in the fields of war and society, the welfare state, and disability studies, as well as those in the medical, rehabilitation, and counseling fields. David A. Gerber is Professor of History, State University at Buffalo. He is the author or editor of five previous books.

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Fictions of Affliction

Physical Disability in Victorian Culture

Martha Stoddard Holmes

Highly recommended . . . Holmes moves seamlessly from novelists like Charles Dickens to sociologists like Henry Mayhew to autobiographers like John Kitto. ---Choice "An absolutely stunning book that will make a significant contribution to both Victorian literary studies and disability studies." ---Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Emory University "Establishes that Victorian melodrama informs many of our contemporary notions of disability . . . We have inherited from the Victorians not pandemic disability, but rather the complex of sympathy and fear." ---Victorian Studies Tiny Tim, Clym Yeobright, Long John Silver---what underlies nineteenth-century British literature's fixation with disability? Melodramatic representations of disability pervaded not only novels, but also doctors' treatises on blindness, educators' arguments for "special" education, and even the writing of disabled people themselves. Drawing on extensive primary research, Martha Stoddard Holmes introduces readers to popular literary and dramatic works that explored culturally risky questions like "can disabled men work?" and "should disabled women have babies?" and makes connections between literary plots and medical, social, and educational debates of the day. Martha Stoddard Holmes is Associate Professor of Literature and Writing Studies at California State University, San Marcos.

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Foucault and the Government of Disability

Shelley Tremain, Editor

Foucault and the Government of Disability is the first book-length investigation of the relevance and importance of the ideas of Michel Foucault to the field of disability studies-and vice versa. Over the last thirty years, politicized conceptions of disability have precipitated significant social change, including the landmark Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990, the redesign of urban landscapes, the appearance of closed-captioning on televisions, and the growing recognition that disabled people constitute a marginalized and disenfranchised constituency. The provocative essays in this volume respond to Foucault's call to question what is regarded as natural, inevitable, ethical, and liberating, while they challenge established understandings of Foucault's analyses and offer fresh approaches to his work. The book's roster of distinguished international contributors represents a broad range of disciplines and perspectives, making this a timely and necessary addition to the burgeoning field of disability studies. "A serious step forward not only for disability studies but for the range of theoretical positions associated with Foucault. Foucault and the Government of Disability will provide for years to come a basis for rethinking Foucault's impact on social theory as well as a foundation for active political struggle against the oppression of people with disabilities." -- Tobin Siebers, University of Michigan "Testimony to the enduring power of Foucault's work to stimulate new ways of thinking about and resisting the pernicious effects of normalization within modern societies... Critically engaging Foucault as well as received interpretations of his work, this collection is intended for readers of Foucault as well as critical disability theorists. It delivers on its promise to stimulate us to think differently about both disability and Foucault." -- Jana Sawicki, Williams College Shelley Tremain teaches in the Philosophy Department of the University of Toronto at Mississauga.

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Mad at School

Rhetorics of Mental Disability and Academic Life

Margaret Price

A very important study that will appeal to a disability studies audience as well as scholars in social movements, social justice, critical pedagogy, literacy education, professional development for disability and learning specialists in access centers and student counseling centers, as well as the broader domains of sociology and education. ---Melanie Panitch, Ryerson University "Ableism is alive and well in higher education. We do not know how to abandon the myth of the 'pure (ivory) tower that props up and is propped up by ableist ideology.' . . . Mad at School is thoroughly researched and pathbreaking. . . . The author's presentation of her own experience with mental illness is woven throughout the text with candor and eloquence." ---Linda Ware, State University of New York at Geneseo Mad at School explores the contested boundaries between disability, illness, and mental illness in the setting of U.S. higher education. Much of the research and teaching within disability studies assumes a disabled body but a rational and energetic (an "agile") mind. In Mad at School, scholar and disabilities activist Margaret Price asks: How might our education practices change if we understood disability to incorporate the disabled mind? Mental disability (more often called "mental illness") is a topic of fast-growing interest in all spheres of American culture, including popular, governmental, aesthetic, and academic. Mad at School is a close study of the ways that mental disabilities impact academic culture. Investigating spaces including classrooms, faculty meeting rooms, and job searches, Price challenges her readers to reconsider long-held values of academic life, including productivity, participation, security, and independence. Ultimately, she argues that academic discourse both produces and is produced by a tacitly privileged "able mind," and that U.S. higher education would benefit from practices that create a more accessible academic world. Mad at School is the first book to use a disability-studies perspective to focus specifically on the ways that mental disabilities impact academic culture at institutions of higher education. Individual chapters examine the language used to denote mental disability; the role of "participation" and "presence" in student learning; the role of "collegiality" in faculty work; the controversy over "security" and free speech that has arisen in the wake of recent school shootings; and the marginalized status of independent scholars with mental disabilities. Margaret Price is Associate Professor of English at Spelman College.

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The Measure of Manliness

Disability and Masculinity in the Mid-Victorian Novel

Karen Bourrier

The Measure of Manliness is among the first books to focus on representations of disability in Victorian literature, showing that far from being marginalized or pathologized, disability was central to the narrative form of the mid-century novel. Mid-Victorian novels evidenced a proliferation of male characters with disabilities, a phenomenon that author Karen Bourrier sees as a response to the rise of a new Victorian culture of industry and vitality, and its corollary emphasis on a hardy, active manhood. The figure of the voluble, weak man was a necessary narrative complement to the silent, strong man. The disabled male embodied traditionally feminine virtues, softening the taciturn strong man, and eliciting emotional depths from his seemingly coarse muscular frame. Yet, the weak man was able to follow the strong man where female characters could not, to all-male arenas such as the warehouse and the public school.

The analysis yokes together historical and narrative concerns, showing how developments in nineteenth-century masculinity led to a formal innovation in literature:  the focalization or narration of the novel through the perspective of a weak or disabled man. The Measure of Manliness charts new territory in showing how feeling and loquacious bodies were increasingly seen as sick bodies throughout the nineteenth century. The book will appeal to those interested in disability studies, gender and masculinity studies, the theorization of sympathy and affect, the recovery of women’s writing and popular fiction, the history of medicine and technology, and queer theory.
 

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