Disability Aesthetics

Course Number: ENGL 170DA
Prerequisites: Check on GOLD
Advisory Enrollment Information: May be repeated for credit providing letter designations are different.
General Education Areas Fulfilled: GE Area G Requirement, Writing Requirement
Catalog Course Entry: ENGL 170AA-ZZ
Quarter: Winter 2020
Instructor: Miller, Jesse
Day(s): MW
Time: 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM
Location: GIRV 2124
Description:

This course will provide you with an introduction to the field of disability studies through an engagement with literature, the arts, and culture. You will leave the class with an understanding of how social and cultural models of disability can impact our thinking about health, embodiment, identity, space, medical ethics, reading, and aesthetics.

What does it mean to be normal? What makes a body beautiful? How does disability shape narrative? What is Universal Design and how does it apply to social spaces like a classroom and aesthetic forms like a novel?  How can the arts impact public health and lived experiences of (dis)ability? To answer these, and many more questions, we will consider the history of representations of disability in the arts, from the idealized bodies of classical sculpture and drama, to the grotesque figures of Southern Gothic literature. We will also examine the way contemporary disabled writers and artists create in order to challenge dominant cultural narratives of ability and disability by looking at poetry that proposes new languages of embodiment, autobiographical experiments that challenge commonplaces of medical ethics, and performances that explore the meaning of social interdependence. Finally, we will speculate upon how the tools of literary study can be used to address issues related to disability in our community by working together on a disability-related public project.