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Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body First Edition (US) First Printing Edition

4.8 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1859840078
ISBN-10: 1859840078
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Lennard J. Davis is head of the English Department at the University of Illinois at Chicago where he is also Professor of Disability and Human Development. His books include "Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness and the Body" and "The Disability Studies Reader".
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 228 pages
  • Publisher: Verso; First Edition (US) First Printing edition (December 17, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1859840078
  • ISBN-13: 978-1859840078
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #215,063 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book, seven strong chapters and a brief, personal Preface, ably discusses and deconstructs historic notions of disability ("the missing term in the race, class gender triad")and fully describes the harrowingly destructive - because so socially, culturally, and psychically damaging - concept of 'the norm,' historic uses (and abuse) of the body, and with it: the body politic.
Dr Davis supplies the reader with a bit of context. He grew up as the hearing child of Deaf parents in New York's South Bronx, where his parents, he reports, "were as good as any other person in the South Bronx, which is to say they were pretty badly off."
Chapter Four, "Nationalism and Deafness: The Nineteenth Century" offers historic perspectives on deafness, including the fact that by the beginning of the nineteenth century, sign language had become a transnational language. Anyone fluent in sign language could communicate with any other signer - worldwide. This is no small thing. The Deaf "became a subgroup within each state throughout Europe." Some additional topics are: oralism and sign language, disability, class, nationalism, eugenics, politics, poverty, industrialization, and health. The bigger concepts of inclusion and exclusion are touched upon, too.
"Deafness and Insight" is a challenging and complex chapter in which Davis explores "deafness as a critical modality." A main assertion throughout this book is that the concept of the "normal" body informs cultural assumptions about art, literature, and the totality, in fact, of culture.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book to learn a little more about disability studies and also because of the author, since Davis in a know CODA (child of deaf adults) and I'm doing a little research on CODAs as well. I really liked his argument of incorporating disability alongside, and not just stuffing them within the discussion on race, class and gender, and I believe he was very convincing and did an excellent job at proving his point. I also appreciated the fact that he used popular novels like Flaubert’s Madame Bovary, Austen's Emma, and Mary Shelley's Frankenstein to address the issues on the portrayal of disability, language ideologies, and eugenics in literature. Finally, not to give away any spoilers, but I was deeply moved with the ending, which I don't particularly believe was his intention, but me being a Puerto Rican and for him to meditate on the case of another belonging to the same culture as myself, and shedding a little light (again, I don't think it was his intention) on the reality of a lot of deaf people in my country, was something that took me by surprise. An overall, great purchase.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone interested in either the history or theory of disability should read this book. I would think it would also be helpful for those with disabilities and their family members to find a social-historical context regarding their experiences. My favoroite chapter was the one regarding how statisitics, Sir Francis Galton, and eugenics are connected to formulate our current conceptions of what we call "normal". He also makes connections to the positon/role of disability in both literature and art. Highly recommended.
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By C on May 16, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Davis is a go to for disability rights and studies.

Enforcing Normalcy's Chapter 2
is filled with literature examples
that depict impaired and not impaired bodies.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great read with good information. Can be a little dry at times, but what historical accounts aren't? Overall well done :)
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