1st Edition

Social Histories of Disability and Deformity Bodies, Images and Experiences

Edited By David M. Turner, Kevin Stagg Copyright 2007
    212 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    224 Pages 3 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Collecting together essays written by an international set of contributors, this book provides an important contribution to the emerging field of disability history. It explores changes in understandings of deformity and disability between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries, and reveal the ways in which different societies have conceptualised the normal and the pathological.

    Through a variety of case studies including: early modern birth defects, homosexuality, smallpox scarring, vaccination, orthopaedics, deaf education, eugenics, mental deficiency, and the experiences of psychologically scarred military veterans, this book provides new perspectives on the history of physical, sensory and intellectual anomaly.

    Examining changes over five centuries, it charts how disability was delineated from other forms of deformity and disfigurement by a clearer medical perspective. Essays shed light on the experiences of oppressed minorities often hidden from mainstream history, but also demonstrate the importance of discourses of disability and deformity as key cultural signifiers which disclose broader systems of power and authority, citizenship and exclusion.

    The diverse nature of the material in this book will make it relevant to scholars interested in cultural, literary, social and political, as well as medical, history.


    List of Figures


    Notes on Contributors

    Introduction: Approaching Anomalous Bodies

    David M. Turner

    Part One: Discipline and Deformity: The Medical and Moral World of Monstrosity

    1. Representing Physical Difference: the Materiality of the Monstrous

    Kevin Stagg

    2. ‘When a disease it selfe doth Cromwel it’: The Rhetoric of Smallpox at the Restoration

    David E. Shuttleton

    3. Plague Spots

    Hal Gladfelder

    4. ‘Wonderful Effects!!!’ Graphic Satires of Vaccination in the first decade of the Nineteenth Century

    Suzanne Nunn

    Part Two: Controlling Disabled Bodies: Medicine, Politics and Policy

    5. Disciplining Disabled Bodies: The Development of Orthopaedic Medicine in Britain, c.1800-1939

    Anne Borsay

    6. Making Deaf Children Talk: Changes in Educational Policy towards the Deaf in the French Third Republic

    François Buton

    7. Eugenics, Modernity and Nationalism

    Ayça Alemdaroglu

    8. ‘Human dregs at the bottom of our national vats’: The Inter-War Debate on Sterilization of the Mentally Deficient

    Sharon Morris

    9. ‘That bastard’s following me!’ Mentally ill Australian Veterans Struggling to Maintain Control

    Kristy Muir

    10. Afterword: Regulated Bodies: Disability Studies and the Controlling Professions

    Sharon Snyder and David Mitchell


    David M. Turner is Senior Lecturer in History at Swansea University. He formerly taught at the University of Glamorgan where he was director of the ‘Controlling Bodies: the Regulation of Conduct 1650–2000’ project. He has published widely on the social and cultural history of early modern Britain, including the monograph Fashioning Adultery: Gender, Sex and Civility in England 1660–1740 (Cambridge University Press, 2002). His current research focuses on the idea of the ‘body beautiful’ in the eighteenth century and connections between disability and criminality in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
    Kevin Stagg lectures in History at Cardiff University and recently contributed a Chapter on the body for Garthine Walker (ed.), Writing Early Modern History (Hodder Arnold, 2005). His research interests range from the body and disability in history to early modern print culture, transport and trade.