1st Edition

The Rejected Body Feminist Philosophical Reflections on Disability

By Susan Wendell Copyright 1997

    The Rejected Body argues that feminist theorizing has been skewed toward non-disabled experience, and that the knowledge of people with disabilities must be integrated into feminist ethics, discussions of bodily life, and criticism of the cognitive and social authority of medicine. Among the topics it addresses are who should be identified as disabled; whether disability is biomedical, social or both; what causes disability and what could 'cure' it; and whether scientific efforts to eliminate disabling physical conditions are morally justified.

    Wendell provides a remarkable look at how cultural attitudes towards the body contribute to the stigma of disability and to widespread unwillingness to accept and provide for the body's inevitable weakness.

    Introduction; Chapter 1 Who Is Disabled? Defining Disability; Chapter 2 The Social Construction of Disability; Chapter 3 Disability as Difference; Chapter 4 The Flight from the Rejected Body; Chapter 5 The Cognitive and Social Authority of Medicine; Chapter 6 Disability and Feminist Ethics; Chapter 7 Feminism, Disability, and Transcendence of the Body;


    Susan Wendell is Associate Professor of Women's Studies at Simon Fraser University, British Columbia. She is the co- editor, with David Copp, of Pornography and Censorship (1983).

    "...Wendell has significantly expanded the scholarship on impairment, a critical and underdeveloped area in disability studies." -- Signs
    "The Rejected Body is both a very human and a very humane book. The author, Susan Wendell, a person living with disabilities, shines through this book, and invites the reader to engage with the issues in which she is interested." -- Canadian Journal of Philosophy
    "Even within the feminist framework, our definitions, knowledge, perceptions, and treatments of disabilities require rethinking. A well-informed deconstruction." -- Ms. Magazine
    "The Rejected Body makes an important contribution of feminist and disability literature and provides an interesting look at a topic that has been considered as 'other' by many writers and researchers
    Women and Health."
    "Wendell's book lends extra voice to the position that we need to re-conceptualize human worth in order to arrive at an ethic that can provide for a broad range of life experiences." -- American Reporter ...the author ponders the definition of disability and the social and cultural factors that create it...
    "The book is highly recommended to those who are, have been, or will be disabled in any way (which as Wendell points out, includes nearly all of us). It is also recommended to everyone else
    ." -- Philosophy in Review
    "The Rejected Body is a 'must-read' for anyone interested in important human differences of which phlosophy has heretofore been ignorant." -- Ethics