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Chang and Eng Reconnected

The Original Siamese Twins in American Culture

Cynthia Wu

Conjoined twins Chang and Eng Bunker have fascinated the world since the nineteenth century. In her captivating book, Chang and Eng Reconnected, Cynthia Wu traces the “Original Siamese Twins” through the terrain of American culture, showing how their inseparability underscored tensions between individuality and collectivity in the American popular imagination. 

Using letters, medical documents and exhibits, literature, art, film, and family lore, Wu provides a trans-historical analysis that presents the Bunkers as both a material presence and as metaphor. She also shows how the twins figure in representations of race, disability, and science in fictional narratives about nation building.

As astute entrepreneurs, the twins managed their own lives; nonetheless, as Chang and Eng Reconnected shows, American culture has always viewed them through the multiple lenses of difference.

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Claiming Disability

Knowledge and Identity

Simi Linton

From public transportation and education to adequate access to buildings, the social impact of disability has been felt everywhere since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. And a remarkable groundswell of activism and critical literature has followed in this wake.

Claiming Disability is the first comprehensive examination of Disability Studies as a field of inquiry. Disability Studies is not simply about the variations that exist in human behavior, appearance, functioning, sensory acuity, and cognitive processing but the meaning we make of those variations. With vivid imagery and numerous examples, Simi Linton explores the divisions society creates—the normal versus the pathological, the competent citizen versus the ward of the state.

Map and manifesto, Claiming Disability overturns medicalized versions of disability and establishes disabled people and their allies as the rightful claimants to this territory.

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Cognition, Education, and Deafness

Directions for Research and Instruction

David S. Martin, Editor

This groundbreaking book integrates the work of 54 contributors to the 1984 symposium on cognition, education, and deafness. It focuses on cognition and deaf students’ growth and development, problem-solving strategies, thinking processes, language development, reading methodology, measurement of potential, and intervention programs. The synthesis of these discoveries establishes directions for new research and outlines implications for all professionals working with hearing-impaired learners.

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Come, Let Me Guide You

A Life Shared with a Guide Dog

Come, Let Me Guide You explores the intimate communication between author Susan Krieger and her guide dog Teela over the ten-year span of their working life together. This is a book about being led by a dog to new places in the world and new places in the self, a book about facing life’s challenges outwardly and within, and about reading those clues—those deeply felt signals—that can help guide the way. It is also, more broadly, about the importance of intimate connection in human-animal relationships, academic work, and personal life. In her previous book, Traveling Blind: Adventures in Vision with a Guide Dog by My Side, Krieger focused on her first two years with Teela, her lively Golden Retriever-Yellow Labrador. Come, Let Me Guide You continues the narrative, beginning at the moment the author must confront Teela’s retirement and then reflecting on the entire span of their relationship. These emotionally moving stories offer the reader personal entrée into a life of increasing pleasure and insight as Krieger describes how her relationship with her guide dog has had far-reaching effects, not only on her abilities to navigate the world while blind, but also on her writing and teaching, her ability to face loss, and her sense of self. Come, Let Me Guide You is an invaluable contribution to the literature on human-animal communication and on the guide-dog-human experience, as well as to disability and feminist ethnographic studies. It shows how a relationship with a guide dog is unique among bonds, for it rests upon highly regulated connections yet touches deep emotional chords. For Krieger, those chords have resulted in these memorable stories, often humorous and playful, always instructive, and generative of broader insight.

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Coming to My Senses

One Woman's Cochlear Implant Journey

Deafened at the age of six, Claire Blatchford was educated orally with speech lessons, speechreading, and hearing aids. Though successful both professionally and domestically, at the age of 67 Blatchford decided to undergo a cochlear implantation. In this memoir, she describes in prose and verse living with a cochlear implant for the past three years. At first, Blatchford feared losing the last of her hearing through the surgical process. Her audiologist explained that her hearing was worsening and that soon she would move from profound deafness into a state called “cosmic deafness.” Blatchford decided upon the surgery in hope of meeting her hearing family on their turf, and of again hearing the wind, rain, rivers, and crickets. After being implanted, however, she realized that amplification and comprehension were two different things: at first all she heard was a soup of sound, a condition known as being brain deaf. Blatchford soon learned, however, that regaining her hearing was a journey of discovery. Gradually, the sound soup gave way to the ability to hear some sentences without speechreading. The sound of her own voice surprised her, and she could hear her grandchildren speak. The thrill of new things heard on one car trip to a friend’s house moved her to “try my first yodel as I pass by your house.” When asked by others if they should receive an implant, she cautions that it is an individual decision that each deaf person must make. For her, it was the right decision.

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Concerto for the Left Hand

Disability and the Defamiliar Body

Michael Davidson

Professor Davidson---an accomplished literary critic---offers a focused and balanced analysis of poetry, film, and the arts honed with his excellent knowledge of the latest advances in disability studies. He is brilliant at reading texts in a sophisticated and aesthetically pleasurable way, making Concerto for the Left Hand one of the smartest books to date in disability studies. ---Lennard Davis, University of Illinois, Chicago "Moving elegantly among social theorists and cultural texts, Davidson exemplifies and propels an ethical-aesthetic model for criticism. Davidson asks continuously and with a committed intensity 'where a disability ends and the social order begins' . . . this book brings the study of poetry and poetics into the twenty-first century." ---Rachel Blau DuPlessis, Temple University Concerto for the Left Hand is at the cutting edge of the expanding field of disability studies, offering a wide range of essays that investigate the impact of disability across various art forms---including literature, performance, photography, and film. Rather than simply focusing on the ways in which disabled persons are portrayed, Michael Davidson explores how the experience of disability shapes the work of artists and why disability serves as a vital lens through which to interpret modern culture. Covering an eclectic range of topics---from the phantom missing limb in film noir to the poetry of American Sign Language---this collection delivers a unique and engaging assessment of the interplay between disability and aesthetics. Written in a fluid, accessible style, Concerto for the Left Hand will appeal to both specialists and general audiences. With its interdisciplinary approach, this book should appeal not only to scholars of disability studies but to all those working in minority art, deaf studies, visual culture, and modernism. Michael Davidson is Professor of American Literature at the University of California, San Diego. His other books include Guys Like Us: Citing Masculinity in Cold War Poetics and Ghostlier Demarcations: Modern Poetry and the Material World.

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A Constructive Theology of Intellectual Disability:Human Being as Mutuality and Response

Human Being as Mutuality and Response

Molly C. Haslam

Responding to how little theological research has been done on intellectual (as opposed to physical) disability, this book asks, on behalf of individuals with profound intellectual disabilities, what it means to be human. That question has traditionally been answered with an emphasis on an intellectual capacity the ability to employ concepts or to make moral choicesand has ignored the value of individuals who lack such intellectual capacities.The author suggests, rather, that human being be understood in terms of participation in relationships of mutual responsiveness, which includes but is not limited to intellectual forms of communicating.She supports her argument by developing a phenomenology of how an individual with a profound intellectual disability relates, drawn from her clinical experience as a physical therapist. She thereby demonstrates that these individuals participate in relationships of mutual responsiveness, though in nonsymbolic, bodily ways.To be human, to image God, she argues, is to respond to the world around us in any number of ways, bodily or symbolically. Such an understanding does not exclude people with intellectual disabilities but rather includes them among those who participate in the image of God.

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Counting Working-Age People with Disabilities

What Current Data Tell Us and Options for Improvement

Andrew J. Houtenville, David C. Stapleton, Robert R. Weathers III, and Richard V. Burkhauser, Editors

U.S. government agencies compile a thorough set of statistics on populations defined by age, race, ethnicity, and marital status—but not by disability status. Therefore, working-age people with disabilities are often overlooked in discussions of the latest statistics on employment, income, poverty, and other measures of the status of a particular population. This book helps remedy this situation by providing a systematic review of what current statistics and data on working-age people with disabilities can and cannot tell us, and how the quality of the data can be improved to better inform policymakers, advocates, analysts, service providers, administrators, and others interested in this at-risk population.

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Crippled Grace

Disability, Virtue Ethics, and the Good Life

Shane Clifton

Crippled Grace combines disability studies, Christian theology, philosophy, and psychology to explore what constitutes happiness and how it is achieved. The virtue tradition construes happiness as whole-of-life flourishing earned by practiced habits of virtue. Drawing upon this particular understanding of happiness, Clifton contends that the experience of disability offers significant insight into the practice of virtue, and thereby the good life.
With its origins in the author’s experience of adjusting to the challenges of quadriplegia, Crippled Grace considers the diverse experiences of people with a disability as a lens through which to understand happiness and its attainment. Drawing upon the virtue tradition as much as contesting it, Clifton explores the virtues that help to negotiate dependency, resist paternalism, and maximize personal agency. Through his engagement with sources from Aristotle to modern positive psychology, Clifton is able to probe fundamental questions of pain and suffering, reflect on the value of friendship, seek creative ways of conceiving of sexual flourishing, and outline the particular virtues needed to live with unique bodies and brains in a society poorly fitted to their diverse functioning. 
Crippled Grace is about and for people with disabilities. Yet, Clifton also understands disability as symbolic of the human condition—human fragility, vulnerability, and embodied limits. First unmasking disability as a bodily and sociocultural construct, Clifton moves on to construct a deeper and more expansive account of flourishing that learns from those with disability, rather than excluding them. In so doing, Clifton shows that the experience of disability has something profound to say about all bodies, about the fragility and happiness of all humans, and about the deeper truths offered us by the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love.

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Crossing the Divide

Representations of Deafness in Biography

Rachel M. Hartig

This remarkable volume examines the process by which three deaf, French biographers from the 19th and 20th centuries attempted to cross the cultural divide between deaf and hearing worlds through their work. The very different approach taken by each writer sheds light on determining at what point an individual’s assimilation into society endangers his or her sense of personal identity. Author Hartig begins by assessing the publications of Jean-Ferdinand Berthier (1803–1886). Berthier wrote about Auguste Bébian, Abbé de l’Epée, and Abbé Sicard, all of whom taught at the National Institute for the Deaf in Paris. Although Berthier presented compelling portraits of their entire lives, he paid special attention to their political and social activism, his main interest. Yvonne Pitrois (1880-1937) pursued her particular interest in the lives of deaf-blind people. Her biography of Helen Keller focused on her subject’s destiny in conjunction with her unique relationship with Anne Sullivan. Corinne Rocheleau-Rouleau (1881-1963) recounted the historical circumstances that led French-Canadian pioneer women to leave France. The true value of her work resides in her portraits of these pioneer women: maternal women, warriors, religious women, with an emphasis on their lives and the choices they made. Crossing the Divide reveals clearly the passion these biographers shared for narrating the lives of those they viewed as heroes of an emerging French deaf community. All three used the genre of biography not only as a means of external exploration but also as a way to plumb their innermost selves and to resolve ambivalence about their own deafness.

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