- 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
Disability history and social history of medicine are two subfields that share many common topics and sources but that approach them very differently. For medical historians, disability takes center stage as a problem that requires fixing, and the “victims” are primarily patients. For disability historians, disability suggests not just the person or practitioner, but also a unique understanding of all the elements, including politics, economics, and culture, that shape relationships for the disabled. Following a brief history of each subfield, two examples are presented—responses to epidemics and the idea of cure—to discuss how scholars can be in more productive conversation. As is demonstrated here, disability is not just a topic to be studied, but rather a tool of analysis. While the distinctive roots and purposes of the two subfields ensure that they will always be fundamentally incompatible, they can, and should, engage in productive conversation.
Catherine Kudlick became Professor of History and director of the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University in 2012 after two decades at the University of California, Davis. She has published a number of books and articles in disability history, including Reflections: The Life and Writings of a Young Blind Woman in Post-Revolutionary France (2003) and “Disability History: Why We Need Another Other” in The American Historical Review (2003). She oversaw completion of Paul Longmore’s posthumously published book, Telethons: Spectacle, Disability, and the Business of Charity (2016).
Access to the complete content on Oxford Handbooks Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter without a subscription.
If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.