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288 Prosthesis When we thought we were at the point of concluding, the frontiers of the domain we were claiming to explore receded before us. —Marcel Detienne and Jean-Pierre Vernant, Cunning Intelligence in Greek Culture and Society This message will self-destruct. —Inspector Gadget I bega n t h is book with three moments, three spaces: Periclean Athens , following the Ten Years’ War; in the aftermath of World War II; and here, today. I suggested that now, as in these historical spaces, bodies continue to change, as do attitudes about them, and the rhetorical entailments of these bodily transformations continue to be negotiated. I argued, deliberatively, that a “futuristic” disability studies will not be about eradication of disability, but about new social structures and relations, made possible by new rhetorics. Somewhat ironically, these disability futures, I hope I have shown, can be made possible through disability historiography. Hopefully, this book has changed your view on all three of these spaces and the bodies within them. But most vitally, mētis needs to have transformed where you can go from here and how you will get there. I have argued that tension around the body exists, first, because efforts to define rhetoric have so often denied and denigrated the body; second, because this denial has always been laughably impossible; third, because modern body values and anxieties have always been mapped back across history; and finally because studying any culture’s attitudes and arguments about the body always connects us intimately with attitudes and Prosthesis 289 arguments about rhetorical possibility. That is, to care about the body is to care about how we make meaning. In my second chapter, I worked through an inventory of arguments about rhetoric and the body, I returned to these arguments throughout the book, and I will revisit these again, as a means of mapping where we might go next, and how. One: The body is invested rhetorically. The body has always been a rhetorical product or experiment, even as bodies have always been insistently material. Two: Rhetoric is always embodied. The body has traditionally been rhetorical equipment and a rhetorical instrument, but it has also always been a rhetorical engine. The body is rhetorical—it communicates and thinks. Three: Disability shapes our available means of persuasion. Embodied difference can actually be read as the very possibility of meaning. These three positions then shape how we learn through the body, but also who can learn. As I conclude this book, I want to return to these points and relate them specifically to learning, as a gesture toward future applications of mētis. My argument, in parsing through the classical debate, was that we have always worried about bodies, and this worry always centers around and never resolves the desire to exclude difference and thus to create categories of disability. Unfortunately, debates about education have also always utilized logics of exnomination—an obsession about who cannot learn, a cataloging of deficiencies. Underneath these explorations is always the notion that differences in aptitude are “natural .” I believe that, finally, the great potential of mētis rhetoric is to challenge these beliefs about how we learn and about who can learn. A mētis epistemology holds that we all, intercorporeally, shape realities . This is the inverse of an educational scheme in which bodies are containers for information, with some bodies better adapted to hold these contents than others. Mētis is a model for adaptation, change, critique , uniqueness, prosthesis, recursivity, invention, intercorporeality, ambiguity, and abstraction. What if these were our central educational values (instead of accumulation, retention, comprehension, compliance reproduction)? 290 • Disa bil it y Rh et or ic Mētis should also offer a constant reminder of the exclusions (and consumptions) of the past and present, a machine for interrogating the interests and investments of the normative. Taking this rhetoric seriously in the modern classroom, we would create space for embodied knowing, advocate a heightened respect for all bodies, and perhaps even seek to endorse and enhance bodily difference—creating educational exchanges against the grain of the normative. How exactly this can be achieved is a matter for debate. But the possibilities and potentialities are exciting to consider. There is much work to be done. The future of disability rhetoric (and perhaps also all of disability studies and rhetoric) lies not just in developing tools for reinterpretations of culture, but in developing new cultures and new social relations. This process of creation will work through and toward positive...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780815652335
Related ISBN
9780815633242
MARC Record
OCLC
871210777
Pages
304
Launched on MUSE
2014-03-10
Language
English
Open Access
No
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