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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

New Book: Reading Embodied Citizenship: Disability, Narrative, and the Body Politic (The American Literatures Initiative) [Hardcover]

 From Professor Emily Russell to Disability Studies in the Humanities listserv:

Dear all,

I've recently published a book through Rutgers University Press that might be of particular interest to folks on this list--certainly many of your work has been influential to me throughout its writing. Thanks!

Reading Embodied Citizenship: Disability, Narrative, and the Body Politic
Emily Russell

Liberal individualism, a foundational concept of American politics, assumes an essentially homogeneous population of independent citizens. When confronted with physical disability and the contradiction of seemingly unruly bodies, however, the public searches for a story that can make sense of the difference. The narrative that ensues makes "abnormality" an important part of the dialogue about what a genuine citizen is, though its role is concealed as an exception to the rule of individuality rather than a defining difference. Reading Embodied Citizenship brings disability to the forefront, illuminating its role in constituting what counts as U.S. citizenship.

Drawing from major figures in American literature, including Mark Twain, Flannery O'Connor, Carson McCullers, and David Foster Wallace, as well as introducing texts from the emerging canon of disability studies, Emily Russell demonstrates the place of disability at the core of American ideals. The narratives prompted by the encounter between physical difference and the body politic require a new understanding of embodiment as a necessary conjunction of physical, textual, and social bodies. Russell examines literature to explore and unsettle long-held assumptions about American citizenship.

"Examining a diverse range of texts, Reading Embodied Citizenship does a terrific job of situating readings of disabled bodies in a broad historical and cultural context. Elegantly done!"—Diane Price Herndl, author of Invalid Women: Figuring Feminine Illness in American Fiction and Culture, 1840-1940

1. Domesticating the Exceptional: Those Extraordinary Twins and the Limits of American Individualism
2. "Marvelous and Very Real": The Grotesque in The Heart is a Lonely Hunter  and Wise Blood
3. The Uniform Body: Spectacles of Disability and the Vietnam War
4. Conceiving the Freakish Body: Re-imagining Reproduction in Geek Love and My Year of Meats
5. Some Assembly Required: The Disability Politics of Infinite Jest
Conclusion: Inclusion, Fixing, and Legibility

Rutgers University Press site:

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