Communication and Construction of Monstrous Embodiment
June 15-16, 2012

Friday, 18 November 2011

Examining Connections: Postcolonialism and Disability Studies

Bringing a critical disability studies perspective into postcolonial literature presents a particular critical challenge since postcolonial and disability Studies frequently differ, intersect and/or overlap. Mark Sherry's intriguing article (Post)colonising Disability examines this complex intersection, by questioning categories of disability, postcolonial subjects, concepts like hybridity, ambivalence, exile, diaspora and others - within disability studies. The paper argues, in Sherry's words, ''that researchers need to be far more thoughtful and careful in theorizing of this relationship. Postcolonialism should not be understood as simply a metaphor for the experience of disability; nor should the terms “colonialism” or “disability” be rhetorically employed as a symbol of the oppression involved in a completely different experience.''

After discussing the definitions of postcolonialism and disability, Sherry examines the extensive metaphorical connections present in both discourses by closely looking at specific scholarly works and their connotations and finally offers more productive approaches to these issues, to increase awareness of using complex metaphors and thus avoid conflating certain concepts.
Sherry concludes that disability studies "need to examine the subtle forms of resistance that can be theorized in more complex ways than a simple model of unilateral oppression would suggest'' and postcolonial literature needs to focus more on issues of embodiment, creating a "more theoretically rigorous approach to both the study of postcolonialism and disability."

The recommended article is free access; however, if you have problems opening it, feel free to contact us, we love hearing from you as well as share! The same goes for any of our recommended readings!

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