The New Disability History: American Perspectivesby Paul K. Longmore, Lauri Umansky
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/i>… See more details below
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.
Table of Contents
|Introduction: Disability History: From the Margins to the Mainstream||1|
|Part I||Uses and Contests|
|1||Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History||33|
|2||"Speech Has an Extraordinary Humanizing Power": Horace Mann and the Problem of Nineteenth-Century American Deaf Education||58|
|3||"This Unnatural and Fratricidal Strife": A Family's Negotiation of the Civil War, Deafness, and Independence||83|
|4||"Trying to Idle": Work and Disability in The Diary of Alice James||107|
|Part II||Redefinitions and Resistance|
|5||A Pupil and a Patient: Hospital-Schools in Progressive America||133|
|6||Cold Charity: Manhood, Brotherhood, and the Transformation of Disability, 1870-1900||157|
|7||The Outlook of The Problem and the Problem with the Outlook: Two Advocacy Journals Reinvent Blind People in Turn-of-the-Century America||187|
|8||Reading between the Signs: Defending Deaf Culture in Early Twentieth-Century America||214|
|9||Medicine, Bureaucracy, and Social Welfare: The Politics of Disability Compensation for American Veterans of World War I||236|
|10||Helen Keller and the Politics of Civic Fitness||268|
|Part III||Images and Identities|
|11||Martyred Mothers and Merciful Fathers: Exploring Disability and Motherhood in the Lives of Jerome Greenfield and Raymond Repouille||293|
|12||Blind and Enlightened: The Contested Origins of the Egalitarian Politics of the Blinded Veterans Association||313|
|13||Seeing the Disabled: Visual Rhetorics of Disability in Popular Photography||335|
|14||American Disability Policy in the Twentieth Century||375|
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