Disability Rights at Home and Abroad: Changing Perspectives from 20th-Century United States and Japan

AHA Session 205
Disability History Association 1
Saturday, January 5, 2019: 1:30 PM-3:00 PM
Williford B (Hilton Chicago, Third Floor)
Sandy Sufian, University of Illinois at Chicago
The Audience

Session Abstract

What do Helen Keller, Randolph Bourne, the Los Angeles Psychopathic Association, and the National Federation of the Blind have in common? Each helped to shape the disability history of the United States in the first half of the 20th century, with Keller’s influence extending across the Pacific into contemporary Japan. The work represented in this panel is reflective of expansions and contractions of disability rights, moments in time when disabled people found themselves leading the way or, conversely, lost along the way. Much of the activism inherent in this history is miniscule in its immediate societal impact, but its presence in the historic record is important in tracing the agency (or lack thereof) of disabled people. This panel exhibits the diversity of disability history in the making of 20th century America, as well as its transnational influence.
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