Disability Aesthetics

In Tobin Siebers’ Paper we mentioned earlier (see also the description of our colloquium’s talk in the dates section)

, he gives an introductory definition of Disability Aesthetics:

“What I am calling disability aesthetics names a critical concept that seeks to emphasize the presence of disability in the tradition of aesthetic representation. Disability aesthetics refuses to recognize the representation of the healthy body— and its definition of harmony, integrity, and beauty—as the sole determination of the aesthetic. It is not a matter of representing the exclusion of disability from aesthetic history, since such an exclusion has not taken place, but of making the influence of disability obvious. This goal may take two forms: 1) to establish disability as a critical framework that questions the presuppositions underlying definitions of aesthetic production and appreciation; 2) to establish disability as a significant value in itself worthy of future development.”

(Siebers, Tobin. What Can Disability Studies Learn from the Culture Wars? Cultural Critique – 55, Fall 2003, pp. 182-216)

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