- 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
Design is a little-examined but significant factor in the history of disability, particularly in the context of the modern West. Both designers and users contributed to a history of design that sometimes ignored and sometimes addressed disability. For many modernist designers, the ideal of a “standard” or predictable body was key to a vision of an efficient industrial society, creating a world of objects and spaces that excluded or ignored disabled people. Nonetheless, people with disabilities engaged with design culture in distinctive ways, using and adapting mainstream designs to their own use. In the late twentieth century, the design world took up new goals of improving access, raising new questions about the intentions of designers and the role of users.
Bess Williamson studies the intersections between social history and modern design. She teaches Design History at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her book Accessible America: A History of Disability and Design will be published by NYU Press in 2019.
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