This is a review of an academic text in Disability Studies Quarterly that I wrote this past summer, and that just came out this spring. The book I was reviewing, Recovering Disability in Early Modern England, is very much a scholarly work (with jargon to match), but it was fascinating, and I would definitely recommend reading it. For someone not in the field of disability studies, one of the most interesting things that it does is illustrate the ways in which disabled people in the past acted with more agency than most people nowadays might expect. The review itself is aimed at academics; here’s the second paragraph:
Perhaps the greatest strength of this book is its multifaceted approach to the subject of disability in early modern England. While many of the essays focus on disability representation in specific texts now recognized as literature, others focus more broadly on historical popular culture or material artifacts. Many of the essays also make explicit connections to political systems (both early modern and present-day), making them useful or interesting for scholars and students outside the fields of literature or the humanities who may not be as familiar with some of the literary texts discussed. The inclusion of multiple kinds of disability and physical difference—including but not limited to blindness, paralysis, dwarfism, and autism and mental disorders—allows readers to create a broader picture of the period’s attitudes and constructs regarding disability and the ways in which these impacted the lived experiences of disabled people.
Anyway, it’s a cool book. If you have the chance to take a look at it, you should. It’s interesting.