This seminar introduces the disability memoir as a genre which provides a differentiated insight into central aspects of disability culture in the USA. It offers an introduction to disability studies and its significance for American Cultural and Literary Studies. By focusing on examples of women’s disability autobiographies, we will discuss the authors’ personal accounts of the social dimension of disability politics in the USA. We will explore the gendered, embodied experiences of disability represented by women autobiographers in the late 20th to the early 21st centuries by addressing the following questions:
- How do the texts engage with the complex interrelations between the embodied categories of disability, gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation?
- Do the texts challenge traditional images of disabled women and dominant medical discourses of disability?
- Which plot models are used in these texts and how do they relate to the representation of embodied disability experiences?
In the second part of this course, seminar participants will learn how to devise and formulate further research questions and topics on their own.
We will read the following texts:
Georgina Kleege: Sight Unseen (1999)
- A. Brownworth and S. Raffo (eds.): Restricted Access. Lesbians on Disability (1999) excerpts
Simi Linton: My Body Politic (2005)
All primary and secondary literature will be provided at the beginning of the semester.