We of the Tender Organs

Travis Chi Wing Lau// *adapted from a presentation at the Modern Language Association 2022 annual conference In the wake of the recent discourses surrounding disability fakery and the accusations that those with long COVID are faddishly embracing a new identity of self-victimization in a world that needs to “return to normal,” I have been meditating…

The Head of a Dog or Horn of a Rhino: Meaning, Milton, and Me

[H]e reproaches me with want of beauty and loss of sight: “A monster huge and hideous, void of sight.” … [B]ut he immediately corrects himself, and says, “though not indeed huge, for there cannot be a more spare, shrivelled and bloodless form.” It is of no moment to say any thing of personal appearance, yet…

Austen, Expectations, and Crips in the World

Pasquale S. Toscano // I’ve been reading a great deal of Jane Austen lately, which is odd, because I’ve never considered myself a fan of the grande dame of English letters. All of her plots are so damn predictable, and well—how shall we put this—quaint. And then there are those maddeningly handsome gentlemen and far-too-fetching…

Trump, Madness, Tricolon Crescendos

Pasquale S. Toscano // Madness is therefore defined to be a vehement dotage, or raving without a fever, far more violent than melancholy, full of anger and clamour, horrible looks, actions, gestures, troubling the patients with far greater vehemency both of body and mind, without all fear and sorrow, with such impetuous force and boldness…

Environmental Neurodiversity and Systems Change

Neşe Devenot // Neurodivergent perspectives inspired two of the biggest environmental justice movements of 2019—Extinction Rebellion and Greta Thunberg’s “Fridays for Future”—and I don’t think that’s a coincidence. For her part, Thunberg garnered widespread media attention for linking her global impact to having Asperger’s, an autism-spectrum condition that Thunberg calls her “superpower.” According to Thunberg,…

Teaching Victorian Disability Studies

“What it must mean, if we are to be present in this age of challenges, is a profound rethinking of our pedagogical priorities, disciplinary boundaries, and subject positions. Let us actually be Victorianists.” –Christie Harner, “Victorian hybridities”[i] Travis Chi Wing Lau // As I begin to construct my syllabus for my introductory seminar on medical…

Special Issue Review: Chemistry, Disability, and Frankenstein

Diana Rose Newby // Chemistry, Disability, and Frankenstein, theme issue of Literature and Medicine, vol. 36, no. 2, fall 2018. In her introduction to the 1831 edition of Frankenstein, Mary Shelley concludes with well wishes for her creation’s second life: “And now, once again, I bid my hideous progeny go forth and prosper” (25). Today,…