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Material Traces of Disability

Material Traces of Disability AbstractThis paper examines the lived experiences of Canadian machinist and double-amputee Andrew A. Gawley (1895–1961), whose prosthetic “steel hands” rose him to fame during the mid-twentieth century, to analyze how disability objects can illuminate complex tensions of unruliness to represent a fraught epistemological materiality. Drawing on Williamson and Guffey’s “design model of disability,” I argue that Gawley’s prostheses are physical and tangible representations of his need to achieve functional normalcy. His self-reliance and identity was not only premised on ability, but dependent upon the complex unruliness ascribed within the prostheses, such that the sensationalized freakery of the “steel hands” become as crucial to Gawley’s identity as his performances of normative masculinity. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Nuncius (successor of "Annali") Brill

Material Traces of Disability

Nuncius (successor of "Annali") , Volume 35 (3): 26 – Jan 1, 1

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Publisher
Brill
Copyright
Copyright © Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0394-7394
eISSN
1825-3911
DOI
10.1163/18253911-03503008
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThis paper examines the lived experiences of Canadian machinist and double-amputee Andrew A. Gawley (1895–1961), whose prosthetic “steel hands” rose him to fame during the mid-twentieth century, to analyze how disability objects can illuminate complex tensions of unruliness to represent a fraught epistemological materiality. Drawing on Williamson and Guffey’s “design model of disability,” I argue that Gawley’s prostheses are physical and tangible representations of his need to achieve functional normalcy. His self-reliance and identity was not only premised on ability, but dependent upon the complex unruliness ascribed within the prostheses, such that the sensationalized freakery of the “steel hands” become as crucial to Gawley’s identity as his performances of normative masculinity.

Journal

Nuncius (successor of "Annali")Brill

Published: Jan 1, 1

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