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Bodies Out of Bounds: Feminist and Queer Disability Studies

Women, Gender, And Sexuality Studies 3203 - Spring 2020

For many, "disability" seems like a concept with a relatively stable definition and a fairly straightforward relationship to questions of health and well-being. But in the past few decades, scholars and activists have begun to challenge the notion that disability is a tragedy to be medically prevented or inspirationally "overcome." These scholars have instead focused their attention on the social aspects of disability: how it came to be constructed as a category of identity, the physical and institutional barriers that have excluded disabled people from public life, and the distortion of disabled lives within the mainstream representation. More recently, writers have turned their attention to the way disability had been defined though norms of race, gender, and sexuality. These intersections will be the focus of this course. From the diagnoses of hysteria, to debates over selective abortion, the recent proliferation of breast cancer memoirs, we will consider how the politics of disability has both complemented and complicated the usual goals of feminism. We will also explore some of the ways that disability studies as a discipline has redefined, and in turn been shaped by, the fields of queer theory, masculinity studies, and critical race theory. We will consider how deviant genders have been the target of medicalization, the relationship between "corrective surgery" and compulsory gendering, the desexualization and hypersexualization of disabled bodies, and the role that medicine has played in justifying colonial conquest and perpetuating racial inequalities. Pre: Any 100 or -200 level Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies course

Section 01

Bodies Out of Bounds: Feminist and Queer Disability Studies
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