Aparna Nair, University of Oklahoma
Sara Scalenghe, Loyola University Maryland
Wei Yu Wayne Tan, Hope College
This roundtable aims to build new bridges and start fresh conversations both among historians of disability and among historians of Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. In no more than ten minutes each, the four speakers will first succinctly present the main findings of their recent research, which includes blindness, deafness, and physical impairments from the early modern period to the twentieth century. Because the goal of this roundtable is to be to be interactive and collaborative, we will then promptly engage the audience so that we can collectively brainstorm similarities and differences in perceptions and experiences of disability across space and time. Some of the questions we will raise include: When did the word “disability” acquire meaning outside of Europe and the U.S.? How did local modernization projects, missionary and colonial encounters, the introduction of biomedicine and of new technologies for disabilities, industrialization, and the creation of nation-states affect the lives of people with different impairments? By the end of the session, we hope to have made some progress towards illuminating the specific ways in which globalizing disability history compels us to rethink or at least nuance our Euro-American centric narratives and to deepen our understanding of the category of disability itself.