- 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
This investigation of intellectual disability in the Middle Ages uncovers narratives of this perceived condition in the historical sources. Authors of normative texts, for instance, medical, legal, and natural-philosophical authorities, were the medieval equivalent of modern scientific experts with regard to defining, assessing, and controlling notions of intellectual disability. This new and specific discussion seeks to reframe the paradigm of what constituted intellectual disability at different periods in both medieval and modern times. Philosophically, and subsequently judicially, medieval intellectual disability was considered the absence of reason, representing the irrational, which contrasted the mentally disabled with the Aristotelian concept of the human being as the rational animal. Medieval terminology employed a fluidity of definitions, which highlights the constructedness of terms revolving around intellectual disability. Analyses of the culturally specific constructions of intellectual disability enhance our knowledge of the intellectual heritage underpinning current concepts of cognitive and mental pathologies.
Irina Metzler, Wellcome Trust research fellow at Swansea University, combines the approaches of modern disability studies with historical sources to investigate the cultural, religious, and social aspects within which medieval cultures positioned physically and intellectually impaired persons. She has published three books and a number of articles on medieval disability.
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