Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2015

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

English and American Literature

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



“Disabling Modernity: Disability and Sexuality in British Literature, Film, and Culture, 1880-1939,” traces the literary and cultural history of disability across two key periods: from the fin de siècle to 1914, which witnessed the emergence of sexology as a discipline, and from the Great War to 1939, the most active years of the eugenics movement. Disability did not only destabilize understandings of citizenship, "normality," and nation, it made it possible to conceive of alternative narrative modes and new models of inclusion and social acceptance. This project demonstrates that the disabled body takes on different valences of significance for queer and disabled women writers of the interwar period, who began to construct a literature where disability and bildung were compatible for the first time; for veterans of the Great War, who increasingly imagined the disabled body as a site of masculine trauma, and for filmmakers of the 1920s, who were forced to efface all verbal and visual signs of disability from their works.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Vincent Sherry

Committee Members

Miriam Bailin, Melanie Micir, Amber Musser, Anne Stiles, Gaylyn Studlar


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