- The Oxford Handbook of Disability History
- The Perils and Promises of Disability Biography
- Disability History and Greco-Roman Antiquity
- Intellectual Disability in the European Middle Ages
- Disability in the Premodern Arab World
- Disability and the History of Eugenics
- Social History of Medicine and Disability History
- Material Culture, Technology, and the Body in Disability History
- Designing Objects and Spaces: A Modern Disability History
- Documents, Ethics, and the Disability Historian
- Disability and Work During the Industrial Revolution in Britain
- Disability and Work in South Asia and the United Kingdom
- Disability and Work in British West Africa
- Race, Work, and Disability in Progressive Era United States
- Organized Labor and Disability in Post–World War II United States
- Deaf-Blindness and the Institutionalization of Special Education in Nineteenth-Century Europe
- Disability and Madness in Colonial Asylum Records in Australia and New Zealand
- Madness, Transnationalism, and Emotions in Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century New Zealand
- Institutions for People with Disabilities in North America
- Picturing Disability in Eighteenth-Century England
- Disability, Race, and Gender on the Stage in Antebellum America
- Polio and Disability in Cold War Hungary
- Monstrous Births, Birth Defects, Unusual Anatomy, and Disability in Europe and North America
- Disability in Modern Chinese Cinema
- Transnational Interconnections in Nineteenth-Century Western Deaf Communities
- The Disability Rights Movement in the United States
- The Rise of Gay Rights and the Disavowal of Disability in the United States
- Disabled Veterans and the Wounds of War
Abstract and Keywords
Biographical scholarship provides a means by which to understand the past. Disability biography writes disabled people into historical narratives and cultural discourses, acknowledging power, action, and consequence. Disability biography also analyzes the role of ableism in shaping relationships, systems of power, and societal ideals. When written with skilled storytelling, rigorous study, nuance, and insight, disability biography enriches analyses of people living in the past. Disability biography makes clear the multiple ways by which individuals and communities labor, make kinship, persevere, and both resist and create social change. When using a disability analysis, biographies of disabled people (particularly people famous for their disability, such as Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Helen Keller) reveal the relationality and historically embedded nature of disability. In an ableist world, such acts can be revolutionary.
Kim E. Nielsen is Professor of Disability Studies at the University of Toledo, where she also teaches courses in history and women’s and gender studies. Nielsen’s most recent book, A Disability History of the United States, was published by Beacon Press in 2012.
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