Event Title

Disabling the Stigma: Charles Dickens and Disability in Victorian London

Location

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

Start Date

1-5-2014 2:00 PM

End Date

1-5-2014 3:00 PM

Project Type

Poster- Restricted to Campus Access

Description

The Victorian era was an age obsessed with classification and with demarcating the boundaries of ability through the likes of workhouse laws, statistics, and eugenics. Against this ethos, Charles Dickens and his friend and benefactor, The Baroness Angela Burdett Coutts, worked to raise awareness about the meaning of disability and to right the dominant tendency to either overlook those with deformities or to mark them as poor or morally corrupt. This project contextualizes Dickens and Coutts collaborative philanthropic efforts and explains ways in which their disability-friendly initiatives were remarkably progressive, but also complementary to and symptomatic of nineteenth-century discourses of self-help and middle-class domesticity. The latter portion of the project explores the impacts of the others within their social networksuch as John Groom, Louisa Twining, Edward Bulwer Lytton, and Wilkie Collinsupon the discourse of disability throughout the nineteenth century, so as to position all of these individuals contributions as particularly noteworthy for the way in which they established alternative and more accommodating relationships between industry and the disabled community.

Sponsoring Department

Colby College. English Dept.

CLAS Field of Study

Humanities

Event Website

http://www.colby.edu/clas

ID

35

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May 1st, 2:00 PM May 1st, 3:00 PM

Disabling the Stigma: Charles Dickens and Disability in Victorian London

Parker-Reed, SSWAC

The Victorian era was an age obsessed with classification and with demarcating the boundaries of ability through the likes of workhouse laws, statistics, and eugenics. Against this ethos, Charles Dickens and his friend and benefactor, The Baroness Angela Burdett Coutts, worked to raise awareness about the meaning of disability and to right the dominant tendency to either overlook those with deformities or to mark them as poor or morally corrupt. This project contextualizes Dickens and Coutts collaborative philanthropic efforts and explains ways in which their disability-friendly initiatives were remarkably progressive, but also complementary to and symptomatic of nineteenth-century discourses of self-help and middle-class domesticity. The latter portion of the project explores the impacts of the others within their social networksuch as John Groom, Louisa Twining, Edward Bulwer Lytton, and Wilkie Collinsupon the discourse of disability throughout the nineteenth century, so as to position all of these individuals contributions as particularly noteworthy for the way in which they established alternative and more accommodating relationships between industry and the disabled community.

http://digitalcommons.colby.edu/clas/2014/program/232