Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Engaging ideas, transforming minds
Canadian Scholars’ Press
355 pages
6.75 x 9.75 inches
May 2009
Print ISBN: 9781551303635
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Rethinking Normalcy introduces the growing field of disability studies to an undergraduate audience in a variety of disciplines and programs based in the social sciences, humanities, and health sciences. The authors articulate the depth and breadth of this newly emerging field of study and provide a vibrant foretaste of the kind of work disability studies scholars and activists do to provocatively question the power of normalcy.

Strongly interdisciplinary, this volume draws upon many different social and cultural approaches to the study of disability, and essentially addresses disability as a social and political issue.

The chapters in this book exemplify ways of questioning our collective relations to normalcy, as such relations affect the lives of both disabled and currently non-disabled people.

Over sixty per cent of this book features the work of disability studies scholars located in Canada.

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Geoffrey Reaume

Part I: Disability Studies and the Question of Normalcy
Chapter 1: The Social Model in Context, Michael Oliver
Chapter 2: Disability History: Why We Need Another "Other," Catherine J. Kudlick
Chapter 3: Disability Studies: The Old and the New, Tanya Titchkosky
Chapter 4: Disability, Identity, and Representation: An Introduction, Rosemarie Garland-Thomson
Chapter 5: "Difference in Itself": Validating Disabled People's Lived Experience, James Overboe

Part II: Normalizing Suffering
Chapter 6: Coming Face-to-Face with Suffering, Rod Michalko
Chapter 7: When the Body Protests: New Versions of Activism, Diane Driedger
Chapter 8: To Be or Not to Be? Whose Question Is It, Anyway? Two Women with Disabilities Discuss the Right to Assisted Suicide, Tanis Doe and Barbara Ladouceur

Part III: Institutionalizing Normalcy
Chapter 9: Conspicuous Contribution and American Cultural Dilemmas: Telethon Rituals of Cleansing and Renewal, Paul K. Longmore
Chapter 10: Patients at Work: Insane Asylum Inmates' Labour in Ontario, 1841-1900, Geoffrey Reaume
Chapter 11: Discipline and Dehumanization in a Total Institution: Institutional Survivors' Descriptions of Time-out Rooms, Claudia Malacrida

Part IV: Law and Social Space
Chapter 12: Bending towards Justice, Marcia H. Rioux
Chapter 13: Legal Peripheries: Struggles over DisAbled Canadians' Places in Law, Society and Space, Vera Chouinard

Part V: Education, Technology, and Work
Chapter 14: Visible Minorities: Deaf, Blind, and Special Needs Adult Native Literacy Access, Charles Miller
Chapter 15: Negotiating Identities, Negotiating Environments: An Interpretation of the Experiences of Students with Disabilities, Jacqueline Low
Chapter 16: The Normality of Doing Things Differently: Bodies, Spaces, and Disability Geography, Nancy Hansen and Chris Philo
Chapter 17: Disability, Marginality, and the Nation-State—Negotiating Social Markers of Difference: Fahimeh's Story, Parin Dossa

Part VI: Global Interconnections and Local Challenges
Chapter 18: The Sexist Inheritance of the Disability Movement, Corbett Joan O'Toole
Chapter 19: Disabled Women: An Excluded Agenda of Indian Feminism, Anita Ghai
Chapter 20: We Were Never Identified: Feminism, Queer Theory, and a Disabled World, Robert McRuer
Chapter 21: Creating Community across Disability and Difference, Carla Rice, Hilde Zitzelsberger, Wendy Porch, and Esther Ignagni

Appendix: Students' Resources: Further Readings and Related Websites

Tanya Titchkosky

Tanya Titchkosky teaches Disability Studies in the Department of Social Justice Education at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education, as well as in the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto. She is a member of the Women and Gender Studies Institute of U of T, and of the Honorary Research Association of the University of New Brunswick.

Rod Michalko

Rod Michalko is teaching Disability Studies in the Equity Studies Program of New College, U of T. He is an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Equity Studies, OISE, and also participates in the Critical Disability Studies Program at York University. Titchkosky and Michalko have jointly authored five books and numerous articles in disability studies.


"It is inspiring and exciting to see so much happening in disability studies in Canada and abroad and an excellent place to start is by reading Rethinking Normalcy. This volume illustrates the richness and relevance of disability studies to our everyday life by covering many of the debates, concepts, and controversies in this field from a primarily Canadian perspective.... There is nothing like this book in Canada. It is badly needed."

"The interdisciplinary nature of this volume is excellent. A major strength of the anthology is that it brings together a number of diverse and significant readings. Its broad cross-section of articles makes it ideal as an introduction to key issues and authors in disability studies."

"In Rethinking Normalcy the editors provide an exciting and comprehensive collection of works that foreground the study of disability in Canada."

"In Rethinking Normalcy the editors provide an exciting and comprehensive collection of works that foreground the study of disability in Canada."
—  Jacqueline Low, Department of Sociology, University of New Brunswick

Student Resources

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