English 180A

Autobiography: Disability Memoir

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2015 Kleege, Georgina
TTh 3:30-5 141 Giannini

Book List

Bauby, J.-D.: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Cheney, T.: Manic: A Memoir; Danquah, M.: Willow Weep for Me; Galloway, T.: Mean Little Deaf Queer; Guest, P.: One More Theory About Happiness; Hathaway, K.: The Little Locksmith; Keller, H.: The World I Live In; Kingsley, J. and Levitz, M.: Count Us In; Laborit, E.: The Cry of the Gull; Simon, R. : Riding the Bus with My Sister


Autobiographies written by people with disabilities offer readers a glimpse into lives at the margins of mainstream culture, and thus can make disability seem less alien and frightening.  Disability rights activists however, often criticize these texts for the ways they can reinforce the notion that disability is a personal tragedy that must be overcome through superhuman effort rather than a set of cultural conditions that could be changed to improve the lives of many individuals with similar impairments. Are these texts agents for social change or just another form of freak show? This course will examine a diverse range of disability memoirs to develop an understanding of autobiography as a literary form.    


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