New book – Beholding Disability in Renaissance England, by Allison P. Hobgood – University of Michigan Press

Beholding Disability in Renaissance England

 
Allison P. Hobgood
 
How disability and ableism took shape in Renaissance England
 

Description

Human variation has always existed, though it has been conceived of and responded to variably. Beholding Disability in Renaissance England interprets sixteenth- and seventeenth-century literature to explore the fraught distinctiveness of human bodyminds and the deliberate ways they were constructed in early modernity as able, and not. Hobgood examines early modern disability, ableism, and disability gain, purposefully employing these contemporary concepts to make clear how disability has historically been disavowed—and avowed too. Thus, this book models how modern ideas and terms make the weight of the past more visible as it marks the present, and cultivates dialogue in which early modern and contemporary theoretical models are mutually informative.

Beholding Disability also uncovers crucial counterdiscourses circulating in the English Renaissance that opposed cultural fantasies of ability and had a keen sensibility toward non-normative embodiments. Hobgood reads impairments as varied as epilepsy, stuttering, disfigurement, deafness, chronic pain, blindness, and castration in order to understand not just powerful fictions of ability present during the Renaissance but also the somewhat paradoxical, surprising ways these ableist ideals provided creative fodder for many Renaissance writers and thinkers. Ultimately, Beholding Disability asks us to reconsider what we think we know about being human both in early modernity, and today.
 

Allison P. Hobgood is an Affiliated Scholar at Willamette University.

More information on the editor website.

Online conference – Composing Disability Conference: “A Cultural History of Disability”, hosted by the OrganizerGeorge Washington University – April 9th – 5:00 PM – 11:00 PM CEST

 

About this Event

We are happy to announce that the Composing Disability conference that was postponed last year will be returning virtually on April 9th, 2021. Please join us in celebrating the publication of A Cultural History of Disability. This six-volume collection focus on Antiquity, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Long Eighteenth Century, the Long Nineteenth Century, and the Modern Age. The presenters for the event are listed below in the program and feature Martha Stoddard Holmes of California State, San Marcos and Joyce Huff of Ball State University (GW English PhD, 2001) who will deliver the keynote address for this event. All six volumes of A Cultural History of Disability will be available through the Gelman Library.

Composing Disability: A Cultural History of Disability is free and open to the public and will take place on April 9th, 2020 as a virtual event. The conference will feature live transcription and an ASL interpreter.

A Cultural History of Disability includes numerous participants from GW. The general editors for the six-volume series are David Bolt and GW English Professor Robert McRuer. The volume on the Middle Ages is edited by Professor Jonathan Hsy, along with Tory V. Pearman and Joshua R. Eyler, and the volume on the Modern Age is edited by Professor David T. Mitchell and Sharon L. Snyder. Department Chair Professor Maria Frawley has a chapter in the Nineteenth Century volume and PhD candidate Emily Lathrop has a chapter in the Renaissance volume. The volume on the Modern Age includes contributions from PhD candidate Zahari Richter, Samuel Yates (GW English PhD, 2019), and Theodora Danylevich (GW English PhD, 2018). The Renaissance volume also includes a chapter by Gallaudet Professor Jennifer Nelson, who received her BA from GW English in 1988. Alan Montroso (GW English PhD, 2019) and Haylie Swenson (GW English PhD, 2018) will also participate in the event.

A Cultural History of Disability spans more than 2,500 years. Bolt and McRuer write in the series preface: “A ‘system of representation,’ according to Stuart Hall, ‘consists, not of individual concepts, but of different ways of organizing, clustering, arranging, and classifying concepts, and of establishing complex relations between them.’ From this cultural studies perspective, a cultural history of disability is attuned to how disabled people have been caught up in systems of representation that, over the centuries (and with real, material effects), have variously contained, disciplined, marginalized, or normalized them. A cultural history of disability also, however, traces the ways in which disabled people themselves have authored or contested representations, shifting or altering the complex relations of power that determine the meanings of disability experience.”

Please join us on April 9th!

SCHEDULE OF EVENTS

11:00 AM-12:30 PM ROUNDTABLE: A Cultural History of Disability in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Moderator: Jonathan Hsy

Haylie Swenson, “Disability Studies and Animal Studies”

Alan Montroso, “Monstrosity, Disability, Ecology”

Emily Lathrop, “Learning Difficulties: The Idiot and the Outsider in the Renaissance”

Jennifer Nelson, “Deafnesses and Silences in Shakespeare’s England”

1:30-3 PM ROUNDTABLE: A Cultural History of Disability in the Nineteenth Century and the Modern Age. Moderator: David Mitchell

Maria Frawley, “Chronic Pain: ‘The Wounded Soldiery of Mankind'”

Theodora Danylevich, “Chronic Pain and Illness: States of Privilege and Bodies of Abuse”

Zara Richter, “Speech Disability’s Awkward Late Modernity: A Multimodal Historical Approach”

Samuel Yates, “Deafness: Screening Signs in Contemporary Cinema”

3:30-5 PM Keynote Address: Martha Stoddard Holmes and Joyce Huff, editors of A Cultural History of Disability in the Long Nineteenth Century. Moderator: Robert McRuer