Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Big Day for Disability History

Two big projects in US disability history are launching into the world today:

Today's the release date of Kim Nielsen's A Disability History of the United States (Beacon Press 2012), a concise (272 pages!), inexpensive (just $16 in hardcover!), and sweeping account, starting before 1492, and landing in the present-day.  If this is exactly the book you've needed for a class, for a book group, for your own study, you're not alone.   I've only been reading in disability history for seventeen years, but back in the 1990s, you'd be lucky to find a text that even acknowledged the existence of disability before Samuel Gridley Howe's 1848 report to the Massachusetts legislature.  (All my graduate projects had colonial and Early Republic settings, so I noticed.)  So for that aspect alone, let alone all the other goodness involved, I'm thrilled to greet this book.

Also--DVR alert--start popping the popcorn and dimming the lights!  Tonight is the first night of Turner Classic Movies' month-long feature, "The Projected Image:  A History of Disability in Film."   More than twenty films, various eras and genres, all with disability themes, airing all five Tuesdays in October.  Lawrence Carter-Long will co-host the series with Ben Mankiewicz.  Tonight's lineup:  An Affair to Remember (1957);  Patch of Blue (1965); Butterflies are Free (1972), Gaby-A True Story (1987), and The Sign of the Ram (1948).  All with closed captions, all with audio description.  It's a big deal that a cable network is devoting this much time to disability history and culture, and to make it accessible too; if you don't get TCM, consider calling your cable company and just subscribing for October.  That'll be great for you (20+ movies on disability themes, plus the rest of their lineup), and it'll send a signal that this kind of programming is appreciated. 

Also, if anyone wants to see a discussion feature here on DSTU, for either Kim Nielsen's book, or the TCM Film Series, I'm game.  Just holler in comments, and I'll be glad to set that up.  Otherwise, the hashtag for twitter discussions of the film series is #ProjectedImageTCM, and TCM has its own discussion boards that are certainly available for the purpose.

ETA:  Here's a podcast interview with Kim Nielsen about the new book.  

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