English 180A

Autobiography: Disability Memoir

Section Semester Instructor Time Location Course Areas
1 Spring 2017 Kleege, Georgina
TTh 11-12:30 140 Barrows

Book List

Bauby, J-D.: The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; Danquah, M. : Willow Weep for Me; Forney, E. : Marbles; Galloway, T.: Mean Little Deaf Queer; Guest, P. : One More Theory about Happiness; Keller, H. : The World I Live In; Kingsley & Levitz, J. & 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 because they tend to 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 accommodate a wide range of individuals with similar impairments.  Are these texts agents for social change or merely another form of freak show?  In this course, we will examine a diverse selection of disability memoirs and consider both what they reveal about cultural attitudes toward disability and what they have in common with other forms of autobiography. 

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