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Description - The New Disability History by Paul K. Longmore

Disability has always been a preoccupation of American society and culture. From antebellum debates about qualification for citizenship to current controversies over access and reasonable accommodations, disability has been present, in penumbra if not in print, on virtually every page of American history. Yet historians have only recently begun the deep excavation necessary to retrieve lives shrouded in religious, then medical, and always deep-seated cultural, misunderstanding. This volume opens up disability's hidden history. In these pages, a North Carolina Youth finds his identity as a deaf Southerner challenged in Civil War-era New York. Deaf community leaders ardently defend sign language in early 20th century America. The mythic Helen Keller and the long-forgotten American Blind People's higher Education and General Improvement Association each struggle to shape public and private roles for blind Americans. White and black disabled World War I and II veterans contest public policies and cultural values to claim their citizenship rights. Neurasthenic Alice James and injured turn-of-the-century railroadmen grapple with the interplay of disability and gender. Progressive-era rehabilitationists fashion programs to make crippled children economically productive and socially valid, and two Depression-era fathers murder their sons as public opinion blames the boys' mothers for having cherished the lads' lives. These and many other figures lead readers through hospital-schools, courtrooms, advocacy journals, and beyond to discover disability's past. Coupling empirical evidence with the interdisciplinary tools and insights of disability studies, the book explores the complex meanings of disability as identity and cultural signifier in American history.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780814785645
ISBN-10: 0814785646
Format: Paperback
(229mm x 152mm x mm)
Pages: 422
Imprint: New York University Press
Publisher: New York University Press
Publish Date: 28-Feb-2000
Country of Publication: United States

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Author Biography - Paul K. Longmore

Paul K. Longmore is Professor of History and Director of the Institute on Disability at San Francisco State University and author of The Invention of George Washington. Lauri Umansky is Professor of History at Suffolk University and is the author of The New Disability History: American Perspectives and "Bad Mother: The Politics of Blame in the Twentieth Century America.

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