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The New Disability History: American Perspectives
     

The New Disability History: American Perspectives

by Paul K. Longmore, Lauri Umansky
 

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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

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814785645
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
03/01/2001
Series:
History of Disability Series
Pages:
422
Sales rank:
770,980
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.80(d)

Table of Contents

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
5A Pupil and a Patient: Hospital-Schools in
Progressive America 133
6Cold Charity: Manhood, Brotherhood, and the
Transformation of Disability, 1870–1900 157
7The Outlook of The Problem and the Problem with the Outlook:
Two Advocacy Journals Reinvent Blind People in
Turn-of-the-Century America 187
8Reading between the Signs: Defending Deaf Culture in
Early Twentieth-Century America 214
9Medicine, Bureaucracy, and Social Welfare: The Politics of
Disability Compensation for American Veterans of
World War I 236
10Helen Keller and the Politics of Civic Fitness 268
11Martyred Mothers and Merciful Fathers: Exploring Disability and Motherhood in the Lives of Jerome Greenfield and
Raymond Repouille 293

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