Brief Description of Course: Understanding disability as a cultural concept—not a medical condition or personal misfortune—that describes how human variation matters in the world, this course asks: how do literary texts represent physical and intellectual disability? Reading drama, fiction, and poetry, we will consider how disability prompts new strategies of writing and thinking, in order to consider what new forms of representation disability can produce, and what the concept of disability can teach us about being human. We will consider literary, visual, performative, and performance-based possibilities for bodies and minds that resist normative structures, theorize ideas of access, cure, and care, and claim disability as enlivening identity.
Required Reading: Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; Ilya Kaminsky, Deaf Republic; William Shakespeare, Richard III; Molly McCully Brown, The Virginia State Colony for Epileptics and Feebleminded; Mike Lew, Teenage Dick; Bernard Pomerance, The Elephant Man (along with response from The Apothetae theater company); Nabil Lahlou, Ophelia Is Not Dead; Rachel Adams, Benjamin Reiss, and David Serlin, ed. Keywords for Disability Studies (excerpts); other selected critical materials.
First Three Authors/Texts: Mark Haddon, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time; Ilya Kaminsky, Deaf Republic; William Shakespeare, Richard III.
Method of Instruction: This course will function as a seminar, in which all students participate in lively discussion.Method of Evaluation: Class participation, including attendance, quizzes, and discussion (20%); short writing exercises (30%); community engagement project (20%); critical experiment (10%); final project (20%).