HPR 107: Narratives of Ability and Disability
Professor Naomi Mandel
course will look at stories people tell about bodies: about what the
body can do, what it can't, how it enlightens, when it betrays. We will
focus on fiction because in fiction, the body's abilities and
disabilities are not only a source of insight into diverse experiences
and social constructions of marginality and normalcy, but a vehicle for
exploring the nature of humanity and its limits. The novels, stories,
and films we will encounter in this course will explore what it means
to live with a deformed arm, with bulemia, with PTSD, with mental
impairment. We will ask questions like these: What is an ability? How
are our abilities different from our disabilities? How are our
abilities and disabilities the source of knowledge about others and
about ourselves? Can we count on our abilities or on our disabilities
to lead us to knowledge, to love, to truth?
Marie. Pig Tales: A Novel of Lust and Transformation. . Trans.
Linda Coverdale. New York: The New York P, 2003.
Additional readings in .pdf form on course webct page
Freaks. Tod Browning, dir. MGM, 1932.
Safe. Todd Haynes, dir. Columbia, 1995.
3 one-to-two-page response papers @ 5% each: 15%
timely submission of rough drafts for Paper #1 and #2 (5% each): 10%
Paper #1 (3-5 pages): 20%
Paper #2 (3-5 pages): 20%
Paper #3 (3-5 pages): 20%
In-class active oral participation: 15%
you have a documented disability and wish to discuss academic
accommodations, please contact me within the first two weeks of class.
For further assistance, please contact the staff at:
Disabilities Services for Students (in the Office of Student Life) 330 Memorial Union
874-2098; Web: http://www.uri.edu/disability_services/
Sept. 4 Introductions. Homework: Print out course readings from WebCT!
Sept. 9 Definitions: Ability, Disability, Impairment, Handicap, Narrative
Sept. 11 Johnson, "Art Object"; Ellison, from Invisible Man
Sept. 16 Churchwell, "Introduction"; Holmes, "Phenomenon," "Afterlife"
Sept. 18 Kafka, "The Hunger Artist"; Hornbacher, from Wasted; Heffernan, "Narrow Minded"
Sept. 23 Class meets in Multicultural Center, Hardge Forum (Rm 101)
Sept. 25 Prompt Paper #1 distributed
Sept. 30 ROSH HASHANA. NO CLASS.
Oct. 2 Davis, "Nude Venuses"
Oct. 7 Garland-Thomson, "The Cultural Work of American Freak Shows"
rough draft due
Oct. 9 YOM KIPPUR. NO CLASS. Read Garland-Thomson "Staring at the
Other" and Larsen & Haller, "The Public Perception of Real
Oct. 14 screening of
Oct. 16 discuss
Oct. 21 Bender, "Eternal Love"; Mairs, "Carnal Acts"
23 Wallace, "B.I. #40"; Golfus, "Sex and the Single
Oct. 28 Darrieussecq, Pig Tales
Oct. 30 Guest Speaker: Prof. Alain-Philippe Durand
Nov. 4 ELECTION DAY, NO CLASSES
6 In-class development of prompt Paper #2
Nov. 11 VETEREN'S DAY, NO CLASSES
12 Hemingway, "Another Country"; "Soldier's Home".
13 Brueggeman, "An Enabling
18 Kaufman, "Just a Normal Girl"; Kleege,
"Disabled Students Come Out"
Nov. 20 Trilling, "In This Time, in That Place"
Nov. 25 Guest Speaker: Prof. Kat Ellis, "The Art and Science of Deafology"
Nov. 27 THANKSGIVING
Dec. 2 screening Safe
4 Safe, Continued
Dec. 9 Discussion of Safe