The New Disability History: American Perspectives

The New Disability History: American Perspectives

by Paul K. Longmore, Lauri Umansky
     
 

ISBN-10: 0814785646

ISBN-13: 9780814785645

Pub. Date: 03/01/2001

Publisher: New York University Press

Disability has always been a preoccupation of American society and culture. From antebellum debates about qualification for citizenship to current controversies over access and reasonable accommodations, disability has been present, in penumbra if not in print, on virtually every page of American history. Yet historians have only recently begun the deep…  See more details below

Overview

Disability has always been a preoccupation of American society and culture. From antebellum debates about qualification for citizenship to current controversies over access and reasonable accommodations, disability has been present, in penumbra if not in print, on virtually every page of American history. Yet historians have only recently begun the deep excavation necessary to retrieve lives shrouded in religious, then medical, and always deep-seated cultural, misunderstanding.

This volume opens up disability's hidden history. In these pages, a North Carolina Youth finds his identity as a deaf Southerner challenged in Civil War-era New York. Deaf community leaders ardently defend sign language in early 20th century America. The mythic Helen Keller and the long-forgotten American Blind People's higher Education and General Improvement Association each struggle to shape public and private roles for blind Americans. White and black disabled World War I and II veterans contest public policies and cultural values to claim their citizenship rights. Neurasthenic Alice James and injured turn-of-the-century railroadmen grapple with the interplay of disability and gender. Progressive-era rehabilitationists fashion programs to make crippled children economically productive and socially valid, and two Depression-era fathers murder their sons as public opinion blames the boys' mothers for having cherished the lads' lives. These and many other figures lead readers through hospital-schools, courtrooms, advocacy journals, and beyond to discover disability's past.

Coupling empirical evidence with the interdisciplinary tools and insights of disability studies, the book explores the complex meanings of disability as identity and cultural signifier in American history.

Author Biography: Author of The Invention of George Washington, Paul K. Longmore is Professor of History and Director of the Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University. Associate Professor of History at Suffolk University, Lauri Umansky is the author of Motherhood Reconceived and co-editor, with Molly Ladd Taylor, of "Bad" Mothers: The Politics of Blame in Twentieth Century America.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814785645
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
03/01/2001
Series:
History of Disability Series
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
422
Sales rank:
682,379
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

Introduction: Disability History: From the Margins to the Mainstream1
Part IUses and Contests
1Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History33
2"Speech Has an Extraordinary Humanizing Power": Horace Mann and the Problem of Nineteenth-Century American Deaf Education58
3"This Unnatural and Fratricidal Strife": A Family's Negotiation of the Civil War, Deafness, and Independence83
4"Trying to Idle": Work and Disability in The Diary of Alice James107
Part IIRedefinitions and Resistance
5A Pupil and a Patient: Hospital-Schools in Progressive America133
6Cold Charity: Manhood, Brotherhood, and the Transformation of Disability, 1870-1900157
7The Outlook of The Problem and the Problem with the Outlook: Two Advocacy Journals Reinvent Blind People in Turn-of-the-Century America187
8Reading between the Signs: Defending Deaf Culture in Early Twentieth-Century America214
9Medicine, Bureaucracy, and Social Welfare: The Politics of Disability Compensation for American Veterans of World War I236
10Helen Keller and the Politics of Civic Fitness268
Part IIIImages and Identities
11Martyred Mothers and Merciful Fathers: Exploring Disability and Motherhood in the Lives of Jerome Greenfield and Raymond Repouille293
12Blind and Enlightened: The Contested Origins of the Egalitarian Politics of the Blinded Veterans Association313
13Seeing the Disabled: Visual Rhetorics of Disability in Popular Photography335
14American Disability Policy in the Twentieth Century375
Contributors393
Index397

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