The Story of My Work: How I Became Disabled

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson


Perhaps the best opening line in disability studies comes from Georgina Kleege: “Writing this book made me blind.” Following this honorable tradition, I begin my explication of disability studies through my own experience with a similar starting point: “Feminism made me disabled.” Honoring as well the tradition of making theory through narrative, I also follow Helen Keller, who like Kleege situates her knowledge in the local. From these exemplary works of feminist disability studies, I develop an explication of how I grew disability studies and how it grew me. Throughout, I consider the categories of disabled and nondisabled and the ways in which they have developed in disability studies literature broadly. I conclude by asserting the importance of both access and identity and community for disabled people. 

Keywords: feminist disability studies, disability identity, misfitting, history of disability studies


feminist disability studies; disability identity; misfitting; history of disability studies

Full Text:



Copyright (c) 2014 Rosemarie Garland-Thomson

Beginning with Volume 36, Issue No. 4 (2016), Disability Studies Quarterly is published under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license unless otherwise indicated. 

Disability Studies Quarterly is published by The Ohio State University Libraries in partnership with the Society for Disability Studies.

If you encounter problems with the site or have comments to offer, including any access difficulty due to incompatibility with adaptive technology, please contact the web manager, Terri Fizer.

ISSN: 2159-8371 (Online); 1041-5718 (Print)