The essays in this volume take as their impetus the relations of power that are produced by the social interactions of the disabled and nondisabled in medieval and early modern culture. This book demonstrates the necessity of the disability perspective to any consideration of embodied identity in the Middle Ages and beyond. In addition, it emphasizes the importance of placing social processes of identity formation within their particular cultural and historical moments. The essays here demonstrate the wide-ranging and pervasive presence of disability in the Middle Ages and, consequently, the importance of a disability perspective to a more complete understanding of medieval notions of the self and body in domestic, legal, medical, and social terms. The collection represents an initial attempt to grapple with the major challenges in medieval disability scholarship. First, this book compels medieval scholars to become aware of disability as an important subject of inquiry and to consider disability in their investigations of identity categories.Next, this collection asserts the importance of a historical emphasis in disability scholarship overall and affirms the Middle Ages as a period not to be neglected in the history of disability but mined for its rich, varied, and uniquely medieval standpoint. Lastly, by exploring disability within historical, legal, medical, and literary discourse of the Middle Ages, this book brings the disability perspective to the humanities, prompting scholars to carefully examine, to paraphrase Linton, what has always been there but has never been discussed.
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"... this study of disability articulates in exciting ways new trajectories for present and future exploration... showing us the value of highly focused studies that shed startling new light on particular times, places and people, studies that will serve as models for future scholarship." (Prof. Kevin Corrigan Emory University) "It is gratifying to see young scholars in both history and literature working in the relatively new terrain shared by disability studies and medieval studies." (Prof. Edward Wheatley Loyola University)"
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