Using Disability Studies in Modern Languages Research (Recording and Suggested Reading))

Session leader: Eleanor Jones (Southampton)

Date: 23 February 2022

Government and institutional responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have revealed in stark terms the prioritisation of certain lives and the disposability of others. This structuring of society around the ‘tolerable death’ of those with bodies and minds that exist outside of typicality has long been a central concern of disability studies. Engagement with this methodology is, then, more urgent and important than ever. In this session, I outline some of the central theoretical strands of this approach, showing how it can cast new light on global historical and cultural studies. In particular, I ask how we might begin to see disability as fundamental to our work as Modern Languages researchers, drawing on its intersections — and, perhaps, synonymities — with race, sexuality and gender.

Session Recording

This video is shared under a Creative Commons CC BY-NC license, meaning that it cannot be redistributed or reused for commercial purposes, and that credit must be given to the creator (Eleanor Jones) for any future uses or references to the content of the video.


Recommended reading

Works mentioned:

McRuer, Robert, Crip Theory: Cultural Signs of Queerness and Disability (New York: NYU Press, 2006)

Mitchell, David T., and Sharon Snyder, Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2000)

Samuels, Ellen, Fantasies of Identification: Disability, Gender, Race (New York: New York University Press, 2014)

Stiker, Henri-Jacques, A History of Disability, trans. by William Sayers (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999; orig. pub in French as Corps infirmes et sociétés, 1982)


Additional useful texts:

Barker, Clare, and Stuart Murray, The Cambridge Companion to Literature and Disability (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018)

Bell, Christopher, ed., Blackness and Disability: Critical Examinations and Cultural Interventions (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 2011)

Clare, Eli, Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling with Cure (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017)

Davis, Lennard J., ed., The Disability Studies Reader, 5th edn (London: Routledge, 2017)

Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie, Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature (New York: Columbia University Press, 1997)

Goffman, Erving, Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity (London: Penguin, 1990)

Kafer, Alison, Feminist, Queer, Crip (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2013)

Lorde, Audre, The Cancer Journals (San Francisco: Aunt Lute Books, 1980)

Pickens, Therí Alyce, Black Madness::Mad Blackness (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2019)

Puar, Jasbir K., The Right to Maim: Debility, Capacity, Disability (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2017)

Quayson, Ato, ‘Disability and contingency’, in Calibrations: Reading for the Social (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003), pp. 99-124

Quayson, Ato, Aesthetic Nervousness: Disability and the Crisis of Representation (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007)

Sandahl, Carrie, ‘Queering the crip or cripping the queer? Intersections of queer and crip identities in solo autobiographical performance’, GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian and Gay Studies, 9.1–2 (2003), 25–56

Scarry, Elaine, The Body in Pain: The Making and Unmaking of the World (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1985)

Sherry, Mark, ‘Overlaps and contradictions between queer theory and disability studies’, Disability and Society, 19.7 (2004), 769–83

Sontag, Susan, Illness as Metaphor (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1978) Sontag, Susan, AIDS and its Metaphors (New York: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, 1988)

Last modified: Monday, 7 March 2022, 6:29 PM