Advanced English Seminar: Literature of Disability

Upper School

Grade 11, Grade 12


Open to Grades 11-12

Credits: 0.5

This course will explore some of the ways that writers with disabilities view, imagine, and narrate their experiences. As society pushes people with disabilities towards the margins, how does their written work help them to claim a fuller, more empowered self?  How do they disrupt traditional notions of “abled” and “disabled” bodies? What new and old forms and sub-genres of writing are particularly effective in doing so? As poet Jennifer Bartlett put it, how does one use writing as “a way of being in the world that wasn’t made for us”? Through our engagement with the texts and subjects in this emerging field of literature, we will also consider the intersection of disability with the other aspects of an individual’s identity in society.  In this work, perhaps we, too, might engage the world differently and reframe the way we think about our lives and differences. Texts may include Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability, ed. Sheila Black, Jennifer Bartlett, and Michael Northern; Frida Kahlo and My Left Leg by Emily Rapp Black, Places I’ve Taken My Body by Molly McCully Brown; Call Me Ahab: A Short Story Collection by Anne Finger; Cost of Living by Martoj Martek; Deaf Republic by Ilya Kaminsky; and Wound from the Mouth of a Wound by Torrin A. Greathouse.

Offered Spring 2024