Bending Over Backwards: Essays on Disability and the Body / Edition 1

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Overview

With the advent of the human genome, cloning, stem-cell research and many other developments in the way we think of the body, disability studies provides an entirely new way of thinking about the body in its relation to politics, the environment, the legal system, and global economies.

Bending Over Backwards reexamines issues concerning the relationship between disability and normality in the light of postmodern theory and political activism. Davis takes up homosexuality, the Americans with Disabilities Act, the legal system, the history of science and medicine, eugenics, and genetics. Throughout, he maintains that disability is the prime category of postmodernity because it redefines the body in relation to concepts of normalcy, which underlie the very foundations of democracy and humanistic ideas about the body.

Bending Over Backwards argues that disability can become the new prism through which postmodernity examines and defines itself, supplanting the categories of race, class, gender, and sexual orientation.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Lennard Davis is history in the making; for he is one of the foremost proponents of "disability studies," the newest theoretical kid on the block, noteworthy in part because it brings together scholars from the humanities and the medical sciences."

-Stanley Fish,in Chicago Tribune

"Bending Over Backwards is a welcome dismemberment of all that was unknowingly artificial from the start."

-The Minnesota Review,

"[Its] uniqueness of thought is this collection's strength as it makes for an interesting and proactive read."

-American Journal of Occupational Therapy,

"Davis's work offers creative and challenging examples that may be useful to our discipline and particularly to Disability historians. Bending Over Backwards remains an important and useful work for historians as a template for examining the myriad ways disability and Deafness infiltrate vital aspects of our identity, including laws, cultural icons, literature, and citizenship."

-H-Net Reviews,

"Taken all together, the chapters offer an important, theoretically rich introduction to disability issues."

-Novel,

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814719503
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2002
  • Series: Cultural Front Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 200
  • Product dimensions: 6.36 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet the Author

Lennard J. Davis is head of the English Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he is also Professor of Disability and Human Development. His books include Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness and the Body and The Disability Studies Reader.

Michael Bérubé is Paterno Family Professor in Literature at Pennsylvania State University, and the author of several books, including What’s Liberal about the Liberal Arts, The Employment of English, and Life As We Know It, which was a New York Times notable book and NPR book of the year. He is general editor of NYU Press’s Cultural Front series, has contributed to numerous magazines and newspapers, and writes a popular blog, American Airspace, at michaelberube.com.

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Side Shows and Back Bends
Introduction - People With Disability: They Are You 1
1 The End of Identity Politics and the Beginning of Dismodernism: On Disability as an Unstable Category 9
2 Crips Strike Back: The Rise of Disability Studies 33
3 Dr. Johnson, Amelia, and the Discourse of Disability 47
4 Criminal Statements: Homosexuality and Textuality in the Account of Jan Svilt - Eighteenth-Century Shipwrecked Sailor 67
5 Who Put the The in The Novel?: Identity Politics and Disability in Novel Studies 79
6 The Rule of Normalcy: Politics and Disability in the U.S.A. [United States of Ability] 102
7 Bending Over Backwards: Narcissism, the ADA, and the Courts 119
8 Go to the Margins of the Class: Disability and Hate Crimes 145
9 A Voyage Out (Or Is It Back?): Class and Disability in My Life 158
Notes 165
Index 191
About the Author 201
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