Gendering Disability

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Disability and gender, terms that have previously seemed so clear-cut, are becoming increasingly complex in light of new politics and scholarship. These words now suggest complicated sets of practices and ways of being.

Contributors to this innovative collection explore the intersection of gender and disability in the arts, consumer culture, healing, the personal and private realms, and the appearance of disability in the public sphere—both in public fantasies and in public activism. Beginning as separate enterprises that followed activist and scholarly paths, gender and disability studies have reached a point where they can move beyond their boundaries for a common landscape to inspire new areas of inquiry. Whether from a perspective in the humanities, social sciences, sciences, or arts, the shared subject matter of gender and disability studies—the body, social and cultural hierarchy, identity, discrimination and inequality, representation, and political activism—insistently calls for deeper conversation. This volume provides fresh findings not only about the discrimination practiced against women and people with disabilities, but also about the productive parallelism between these two categories.

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Editorial Reviews

author of Signs of Resistance: American Deaf Cultural History, 1900 to World War - Susan Burch

"This compilation is a pioneering study of the 'borderlands' of the body. The diverse chapters speak to activists and scholars, as well as those less familiar with the issues of disability studies and gender studies. It will serve the academic and activist communities well, encouraging new insights into the ways we define ourselves and others."
author of In Pursuit of Equity: Women, Men, and the Quest for Economic Citizens - Alice Kessler-Harris

"Gendering Disability is among the most intellectually stimulating books I have read in years. The stunning breadth of the discussion evokes personal experience with disability, elucidates the historical and social meanings of bodily differences, and places disability within other theoretical frameworks."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813533728
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 2/28/2004
  • Pages: 328
  • Product dimensions: 6.28 (w) x 9.32 (h) x 1.05 (d)

Meet the Author

Bonnie G. Smith is Board of Governors Professor of History at Rutgers University and a past director of the University's Institute for Research on Women.

Beth Hutchison is assistant director of the Institute.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Critical race theory, feminism, and disability : reflections on social justice and personal identity 9
Why the intersexed shouldn't be fixed : insights from queer theory and disability studies 45
Interpreting women 61
Integrating disability, transforming feminist theory 73
Inseparable : gender and disability in the amputee-devotee community 107
Fighting polio like a man : intersections of masculinity, disability, and aging 119
"Disability" and "divorce" : a blind Parisian cloth merchant contemplates his options in 1756 134
Bodies in trouble : identity, embodiment, and disability 145
Disabled masculinity : expanding the masculine repertoire 166
Helen Keller's love life 181
Feeling her way : Audre Lorde and the power of touch 192
Disability, gender, and national identity in the painting of Frida Kahlo 216
"But, mother - I'm - crippled!" : Tennessee Williams, queering disability, and dis/membered bodies in performance 233
Is there still a "double handicap"? : economic, social, and political disparities experienced by women with disabilities 253
Integrating consumer disabilities into models of information processing : color-vision deficiencies and their effects on women's marketplace choices 272
Women and emerging disabilities 286
The sexist inheritance of the disability movement 294
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