Disability Studies Quarterly
Summer 2005, Volume 25, No. 3
Copyright 2005 by the Society
for Disability Studies

Staging Stigma: A Freak Studies Manifesto

Michael M. Chemers, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Dramatic Literature
335 Purnell Center for the Arts
Carnegie Mellon University
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
Phone: 412-268-2399
E-mail: chemers@andrew.cmu.edu

In his introduction to Lennard Davis' Bending Over Backwards; Disability, Dismodernism, and other Difficult Positions (2002), Michael Bérubé notes as ironic the emergence of Disability Studies in an academic environment where progressive scholarship on identity politics is already considered a sideshow full of, in the words of the late James Tuttleton, "freaks." Lauding the pioneering work of Davis' Enforcing Normalcy (1995), which called attention to both the social construction of disability and the centrality of this phenomenon to any discussion of the politics of embodiment, Bérubé laments both the unaccountable decentralization of culture criticism from general scholarship, and the unaccountable lack of disability awareness in contemporary culture criticism. "Theories of the social construction of sexuality and gender may have relegated disability to the margins," he writes, "but to the margins of what? Of already socially marginal discourse?" Disability Studies, he argues, is thus rendered the "sideshow of a sideshow" (p. viii).

When I joined the Society for Disability Studies, coming from a background of theatre history and criticism, I discovered that the study of freakery (that is, the performance art of the freak show and its associated trades) had been relegated to the margins of discourse of even this, the ne plus ultra of marginalized discursive communities, creating in effect a sideshow of a sideshow of a sideshow (imagine the freaks who might occupy such a site). This is no longer the case. In some ways, Freak Studies (if the field is mature enough to thus be termed) is coming to be regarded as emblematic of Disability Studies' core concerns. It is remarkably interdisciplinary, it exhibits a voracious appetite for evidence and narratives previously understood as occult and perverse, and it seems to encourage a certain level of radicalism ready-made for the increasing, and increasingly progressive, politicization of the discipline.

Foundational to Disability Studies, of course, is the popular postmodern notion that every kind of identity is "socially constructed" rather than "essential"; that is, the process of identification is a dynamic one that is heavily influenced by political, economic, or religious expediency in conversation with actual physical attributes, such as biological sex, skin color, "impairment," or some other quality, which can be employed to mark conformity or stigma. This dialectical process requires more, however, than that a particular identity be authoritatively "marked" as stigmatic in morality, law, science, prohibition, myth, and so on; to be rendered meaningful, identity must be embodied, and repeatedly. This notion helps the critic to recognize ways in which identity may be profitably seen not merely as a straitjacket inherited from a callous, rigid social matrix, but also as a role to be tactically played (or played against) in an ever-changing system of representation. In the lexicon of theatre studies, identity is performative. As such, identity (especially, we might say, stigmatized identity) incorporates a certain amount of flex in relation to the discourses that seek to control it. Although this is certainly not a new idea (theatre practitioners have been studying the mechanisms of this "identity flex" for thousands of years), it is a powerful concept for our discipline, and for the Disability Rights movement, particularly. The body marked as disabled is, as certain authors have noted in recent writings, ironically the one with the greatest potential for destabilizing the very systems of hegemony that so mark it (see Thomson 1997; Mitchell and Snyder 2001; Davis 2002). That there exist in our society so many mechanisms, ostensibly for the protection of, but in fact for the regulation and control of the disabled body, is perhaps the most eloquent argument in support of such a notion. Stigma must be staged.

The discourse of the disabled body shares many significant qualities with that of the body of a theatrical performer, chiefly that both discourses are characterized by systems of control, (which usually, in both cases, purport to be operating to encourage "decency"). It should come as no surprise, then, that the combination of these two hermeneutically slippery bodies should raise many eyebrows. Freakery, that is, the intentional performance of constructed abnormality as entertainment, raises particularly thorny questions about the way history regarding stigmatized bodies in performance has traditionally been done. Because freak shows have customarily attracted performers whose bodies are marked as sites of socially-constructed notions of abnormality, practitioners of freakery have been to a significant degree, but by no means exclusively, members of the disability community (nor does anyone mean to suggest that all performers with disabilities are freaks). The strategy of disability identity manipulation generally employed by the freak show is plain: the tactical exaggeration and exacerbation of perceived deviance for the purpose of parting gawkers from their money. Perhaps one reason scholarship is so wary of the freak is that it categorically refuses to help the society-at-large overcome discomfort: Quite the contrary, it nurtures that discomfort and turns a profit on it. Undeniably capitalist, typically mercenary, often indecent and usually exploitative (but of the freak or the gawker?), particularly irreverent of systems of control, the freak show's very existence generates justifiable suspicion among progressive scholars of identity politics.

Prior to the advances in civil rights thinking of the 1960s, the discourse in opposition to freak shows was primarily founded in a sense of "social decency," which did not direct itself to the needs and concerns of marginalized persons performing as freaks but to the sensibilities of the able-bodied and ableist public. The minority opposition to freakery, which tended in the final analysis to be a conservative one, was offended not by the nature of the freak performance but by the very sight of persons with unusual bodies or behaviors, and wished them removed from the public view and isolated in attics and asylums (the "Ugly Laws" were passed for this purpose) or, in the very worst cases in Europe and the U.S., euthanized. This sensibility dominated the discourse critical of freak shows in the United States since the 1800s, and it was remarkably ineffective at reducing or altering the behavior of freaks or their managers whose profits were undiminished, even bolstered, by this kind of opposition, since it rendered their theatrical product even naughtier and more abnormal.

In the past 30 years, a more scholarly discourse, which is critical of the freak show on the grounds that it is an exploitation of disabled individuals, has gained more currency and been far more effective. Grounded in civil rights, social equity, and activism, scholars have advocated the opposition to freakery as a technique for redressing the violence, humiliation, and other forms of inequity suffered by disabled persons. Freak shows by the 1960s were already suffering economic collapse due to advances in amusement technology (that is, the invention of very popular rides, very profitable and cheap to operate, which negated the need for expensive, difficult-to-manage freak stars), the unsexy medicalization of disability, (which had actually taken root many decades previously and had very little effect on freak performance), and a general turning away from carnival art forms by the public in favor of the far-weirder television. The industry was already on its last legs, changing into something quite different (see Dennett, 1997), when it came under attack from scholars as well as activists for being "damage imagery." Research on freaks that was not automatically condemnatory of the freak tradition has since the 1960s been roundly criticized by scholars as misguided, inappropriately sentimental, or even prurient (see Gerber's "Volition and Valorization: The 'Careers' of People Exhibited," in Thomson 1996; Chemers 2001, 2003).

Apart from the obvious contradictions inherent in any line of thought that attempts to silence its opposition in this manner, one problem with this reasoning that was not generally recognized between the 1960s and 1980s was that such logic linked the marginalization of disabled persons to a depravity innate in a culture which was thought to demonstrate its own immaturity in its love of freakery. By condemning the freak show as a vile anachronism, one could argue, somewhat facilely, that the culture of the United States had somehow matured beyond the urge to marginalize "deviants." This patently illogical conclusion (I for one see little clear evidence that our society no longer marginalizes disabled persons or others marked with stigma) engenders a certain inappropriate utopian passivity and a reluctance to continue the much-needed project of progressive cultural criticism. A more salient problem with the notion that a body rendered freakish by performance is the enemy of the mainstreaming of persons with disabilities, however, is that such a notion purports to reveal some essential truth about the human body, to regulate its behavior, and to guide the cultural contexts in which it is performed and perceived. That is, it does not erase but merely redraws the boundaries that proscribe what a body marked as disabled can be allowed to do; once again, to control the ability of the disabled body to produce destabilizing, threatening meanings.

We know that in Western history, the body understood as abnormal has not exclusively been the subject of such discourse. Mikhail Bakhtin, for example, famously argues that at one moment in history, at least, the unusual body represented a spectacular opportunity for social, personal, and political liberation. Certainly, in the Golden Age of the Freak Show, the 19th century, the discourse of freakery appeared at least superficially to be more strongly attached to a sense of wonder than one of disgust or even prurience. So what, then, explains the solemnity that has in the last few decades gained such dominance over the discourse of the staging of stigma?

Certainly the medicalization of disability had a major part to play in the darkening of this dialectic, if not in the dissolution of the traditional freak show industry; the transformation of physical abnormality from a site of Bakhtinian excess and freedom to one of pathology casts any study of the freak, which is not highly moralized, as a perverse celebration of disease. Disability scholars will tend to reject such a rubric as part of the "kill it or cure it" dogma of eugenic pseudoscience, as identified by Paul Longmore. It is rather the social discourse against freakery's purpose and relative value that presents a more difficult problem for Freak Studies. This discourse requires us to accept three assumptions:

Firstly, that freakery is, head to heel, a tool for the reinforcement of normative hierarchies.

Secondly, that the opposition to freakery is motivated by a desire to dissolve those hierarchies, which will result in the liberation of disabled persons from a history of exploitation, marginalization, and violence.

Finally, the freak show is a dark reflection of an imagination mired in depravity and perversity, and whatever entertainment qualities it might have cater exclusively to a degenerate lust for titillation.

These three assumptions have heavily weighted any scholarly discussion of freak shows. I would identify the beginning of "Freak Studies" with the challenging of these three assumptions.

Robert Bogdan was perhaps the first serious scholar of disability to raise such doubts with his Freak Show: Presenting Human Oddities for Amusement and Profit (1988). This pioneering text must be the first stop for any student of freakery; in it Bogdan applies Herbert Blumer's principles of symbolic interactionism to an explosive reinvisioning of the freak as a product of performative social construction: "Being extremely tall is a matter of physiology," he writes, "being a giant involves something more.....'freak' is a frame of mind, a set of practices, a way of thinking about and presenting people"(p. 3). In this way, Bogdan anticipates the arguments central to modern Disability Studies that clarify the separation of and conversations between "impairment" and "disability" and is thereby able to view freakery as an illusion, a trick of semiotic sleight-of-hand, a show; in theatrical parlance, a job.

Bogdan's paradigm raises three important questions. Firstly, is the exploitation of the freak a historically-justifiable fact? Bogdan is certainly the first disability-focused scholar to venture into this territory, and as such he is compelled more than any previous writer to seek out the freak's own voice, a voice that was hitherto subalterned even among the subaltern. His work calls into serious complication the notion that all freaks were always exploited victims of unredeemably degenerate managers and a universally vicious public, and begins to recover the complex evidence that was not lost, but was utterly ignored; evidence suggesting that the freak show was no more or less coercive than any other form of 19th-century theatrical entertainment in the United States, (which even for able-bodied performers was no picnic). Such matters depend, rather, largely on the ethical maturity of the management (and the ability of the performer to influence management's behavior through labor organization), the adaptability of the performers, the relative entertainment value of a particular show, and the style of performance. Bogdan was the first scholar to my knowledge who began to suspect that the exploitation of the freak show was perpetrated not by the audience, but by freaks themselves, in a highly specialized and uniquely theatrical manner.

The second question Freak Studies raises is that if freakery exists primarily as a tool for the reinforcement of normative hierarchies, does the critical discourse that opposes it really function to confound that system of repression? Foucault cautions us to inquire of such critical discourses specifically whether they in fact operate as extensions of the very systems of power they critique; locked, perhaps, in the same dance of pleasure and pain he describes in the formation both of controls on bodies and behavior and the evasion of such controls. Bogdan reports on the Sutton's Incredible World of Wonders controversy in 1984, when the efforts of disability rights activist Barbara Baskin to abolish the freak show resulted in the severe restriction of the ability of one disabled man, Otis Jordan, to make a living in his chosen profession. From a purely material point of view, one observes a certain level of displacement in the actions of those who purport as their chief aim the freedom of the non-normate body from exploitation precisely by replacing those systems with new restrictions that strive to contain the very body they have ostensibly been created to liberate. Prior to Bogdan's book, this discourse appears to have taken the form of a monologue. The opinion of the freak was utterly unheard; no one wanted to hear it.

The third question that is critical to Freak Studies is one of whether the study of freak show history can be genuinely revelatory or invigorating to any "serious" scholarly conversation. Bogdan's book has long been justified in this regard in the fields of sociology as well as literary criticism and theatre history, but this issue actually began to be addressed a decade earlier in Leslie Fielder's psychoanalytic celebration of subculture, Freaks: Myths and Images of the Secret Self (1978). The "secret self" Fiedler suggests is actually a complex process of self-discovery that can be incited by confrontation with a body rendered freakish by performance, a concept first articulated by Sigmund Freud in his landmark essay "Das Unheimlich." Unfortunately, Fiedler's "secret self" applies to the viewer of the freak, and seems to be unconcerned about the effect of gazing on the freak's own "secret self" (this kind of disregard seems typical for psychoanalytic approaches to freakery). However, far more interesting to Freak Studies is Fiedler's ensuing articulation of the phrase "Tyranny of the Normal," a shorthand for describing the ongoing nightmarish war to force all elements of human society to conform to a single paradigm of "normal" existence, assisted by the amateur bioethics of certain medical professionals who casually dismiss the life of a person with a disability (or other "deviance") as valueless. The "Tyranny of the Normal" yanks the study of freaks from the margins of culture criticism and plunges it deep into the practical concerns of not merely navel-gazing psychoanalytic literary critique, but of medical teratology, social Darwinism, and politicized eugenics; issues which have immediate, sometimes catastrophic impacts on human lives.

The potential for freak-related research to energize cross-disciplinary scholarship reached its most significant interrogation to date in Rosemarie Garland Thomson's Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability in American Culture and Literature (1997), which distinguished itself from previous forays into freak show study by its commitment to the Social Model of Disability as a rubric for freak hermeneutics. This is the first text that understands freak literature and performance as part of a minority discourse, politicized and self-affirming; Thomson's identification of the freak show as a "narrative of peculiarity as eminence" recenters Bakhtin's freaktopia argument by demonstrating the intense subversive power of the freakish body to revise oppressive disability narratives in favor of transgressive and liberatory ones. Thomson's offering came hard on the heels of her editing of a collection of essays, Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body (1996) which houses important supplementary works by Bogdan and Fiedler.

Thomson's rigorous humanistic investigation of the impact of freakery on the cultural history of the United States has incited a new category of scholarship, a growing lineage of serious writings which investigate freakery not solely as the victimization of a disenfranchised minority but rather as a highly specialized and potentially liberatory form of performance art. The defining characteristic of these very diverse scholars is an agreement that a "freak" cannot exist in the absence of an extant social stigma, and cannot exist without conditioned theatrical conventions that enter into a dialogue with that stigma. Analysis of a freak in performance, then, must include a careful examination of the level of active participation of the enfreaked subject in performance, in much the same manner a scholar would consider the techniques by which any "legitimate-theatre" actor adapts his or her body to a particular role. Under such a rubric, the freak, hitherto visible only as a voiceless victim of conscienceless managers and gawking, degenerate audiences, can be recognized as an active agent, even finally as an artist whose work shapes and is shaped by the same complex and dynamic social forces governing any aesthetic production, while not denying the complexity of the freak's relationship to labor, exploitation, and various kinds of stigma.

To conceive of freaks in such a way has a magnificent potential, not only for illuminating the history of the freak show theatrical tradition in a way sympathetic to, although by no means uncritical of, its participants, but also for raising important questions about the naturalization of concepts of "normal" and "abnormal" in American cultural history. It permits the historian, finally, to subject the freak to the same level of scholarly and aesthetic scrutiny as might be appropriate for any "legitimate" cultural actor. Such a task is critical, I would argue, because although not every disabled body in performance is freakery, every disabled body in performance enters into some kind of dialogue with the perceived history of the freak show. The more we allow that history to remain obscure, unexamined, and inappropriately moralized, the more its phantasms will dog the paths modern performers of disability; those who choose the professional stage, and those who must perform every day on the stage of the regular social matrix.

In is in this context that I hope this themed double-issue of Disability Studies Quarterly will continue the scholarly dialogues assembled by Rosemarie Garland Thomson nearly a decade ago, when Freak Studies was still the sideshow of a sideshow of a sideshow. Now closer to the midway of Disability Studies, this garden of strange fruits may be able to demonstrate its utility to the ongoing interdisciplinary project of Disability Studies. The following pages are intended to help shape this fascinating sub-discipline as it continues to grow, and to be a milestone and a map for scholars who hope to contribute to that growth.

Initially, DSQ had intended for this collection to be a single volume, but so many writers responded to our call for papers with such a high degree of excellent scholarship, the Co-Editors have graciously consented to expand the theme section into two parts. Nevertheless, we received many more papers than we were able to publish, and we wish all of those writers whom we could not include here the best of luck in finding homes in print.

The content of the papers appeared to divide themselves naturally into two distinct categories: the first dealing with the concerns of historical freaks in the material conditions of performance, and the second dealing with the more theoretically-defined realms of representing freakery in narratives and other forms of cultural products. All of these papers exhibit a remarkable multidisciplinarity, combining techniques of, variously: literary criticism; histories and historiographies of labor, race, gender, sexuality, and class; cultural anthropology and sociology; Hispanic and Francophonic Studies; performance studies and theatre history; bioethics; the politics of embodiment; and the polymorphous vagaries of pop-culture criticism. In this way we feel we have succeeded to uphold DSQ's commitment to interdisciplinarity and the presentation of multiple methodologies and viewpoints, and we are also proud to have assembled our group of writers from Canada, Britain, and Australia, as well as from across the United States.

The first issue of this freak-related theme, which we have titled "Aberrant Performances," combines a critique of freak studies in general with a series of historically-based analyses of freakery in the context of actual, living performances. We begin with a commentary by David Mitchell and Sharon Snyder, "Exploitations of Embodiment: Born Freak and the Academic Bally Plank," in which the sometimes murky intellectual hazards of freak show scholarship are exposed. Using Mat Fraser's freak show documentary to frame an insightful critique of academic objectivity, this essay takes to task those investigators of freak shows who mistakenly believe that scholarly criticism will shield them from culpability in scholarship that merely re-enfreaks their subjects.

With "Dwarfs: The Changing Lives of Archetypal "Curiosities"—and Echoes of the Past," Betty M. Adelson has contributed a much-needed concise overview of the relationship of persons of short stature to the industry of freak performance. In this commentary piece, Adelson provides a warning to freak show researchers to engage evidence regarding dwarfs on stage with a complex historiography, one which neither resorts to knee-jerk condemnation nor mollycoddles the pernicious effects these events and attitudes have on the lived realities of short-statured individuals.

Moving from these commentaries to general scholarship on freaks in performance, Susan Crutchfield sheds new light on the often under-researched life of Helen Keller in "'Play[ing] her part correctly': Helen Keller as Vaudevillian Freak." Framing her historical analysis of Keller and Anne Sullivan Macy's vaudeville-style performances within the controversy between two of Freak Studies' most vocal scholars, Crutchfield exposes how these performances subtly employed freak show rhetoric to communicate some unexpected messages. Crutchfield's work deftly combines rigorous scholarship in the disciplines of disability scholarship, labor studies, and theatre history.

In "Freakery and Prosthetic Actuality in Joseph Chaikin's Body Pieces" Ed Roberts Fellow Telory W. Davies provides a long-awaited critical analysis of the use of freak show imagery in the disability-themed work of one of the United States' most important theatre artists, Joseph Chaikin. Davies' article is a behind-the-scenes inquiry into the freak show strategies Chaikin, in collaboration with playwright John Belluso, employed to draw out and then critique the non-disabled fear of the "fragmented" body, tactically using freakish imagery to play with, and against, pernicious social stereotypes.

In "Midget Cities: Utopia, Utopianism, and the Vor-schein of the Freak Show," I collaborate with sociologist Richard Howells in an investigation of one of the United States' least reported-upon freak show phenomena, the establishment of performance communities inhabited and operated entirely by persons of short stature. Viewing these communities through the Utopianist lenses shaped by the writings of Ernst Bloch, we examine ways in which the "midget cities" complicate our understanding of freak shows, the lived realities of some of their performers, and the discussion of Utopian experiments in the United States in the early half of the last century.

Closing out this section, Elizabeth Stephens examines the most cutting-edge manifestations of freak performance. In "Twenty-First Century Freak Show: Recent Transformations in the Exhibition of Non-Normative Bodies" Stephens notes the remarkable changes brought about in freakery since its Golden Age in the 19th century, and examines the startling polymorphisms freakery has adopted in order to remain a viable form of performance art in the post-civil-rights-era world.

Finally, film critic Hioni Karamanos reviews the long-awaited DVD release of Freaks Fans of the genre will appreciate this in-depth discussion of Tod Browning's 1932 cult horror classic, in which Karamanos notes a certain disconnect in disability consciousness between the ones expressed by Browning in 1932 and the ones apparently guiding the producers of the DVD.

In the second issue of this special theme, "Prodigious Narratives," we will explore the interdisciplinarity of freak-related criticism even further, with essays, commentary, and reviews from Susan Antebi, Madeleine Hron, Sheila Moeschen, Catherine Scott, and others.

I wish to personally thank the Beth Haller, Corinne Kirchner, and Katie LeBesco of DSQ for their foresight in proposing a special theme issue on this topic, and for their immense intelligence and kindness in shepherding this novice editor to a successful outcome. I'd also like to thank the outside readers for lending their multifarious skills to this unusual compilation, and to the authors for their contributions and their professionalism. On a personal note, I'd like to thank Rosemarie Garland Thomson not merely for laying the groundwork for Freak Studies, but for her mentorship of my work as well as her unflagging moral support over the past few years. It is our collective hope that this issue of DSQ will encourage more scholars of disability to examine the history of freakery with open eyes, so that our discipline will continue to be strengthened by our willingness to pry into the still largely unexplored regions represented by these articles. To that end, I have included below a by no means exhaustive list of resources that should be considered required reading for any scholar interested in delving into this bizarre history. I have not included works which merely retell the (often fictitious) biographies of freaks, or works that couch the history in notions of "inspirational narratives," as these works are certainly little more than freak shows themselves.

Guide To Freak Studies Resources

Adams, R. (2001). Sideshow USA: Freaks and the American Cultural Imagination. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Bakhtin, M. (1984). Rabelais and his World. Helene Iswolksy, trans. Bloomington: Indiana UP.

Bank, R. (1997). Theatre Culture in America, 1825-1860. London: Cambridge University Press.

Baynton, D. (2001). Disability and the Justification of Inequality in American History. The New Disability History: American Perspectives. Eds. Paul K. Longmore and Laurie Umansky. New York: New York University Press. pp. 33-57.

Bogdan, R. (1988). Freak Show, Presenting Human Oddity for Amusement and Profit, Chicago: Chicago University Press.

Chemers, M. (2003). Le Freak, C'est Chic: the 21st Century Freak Show, Pornography of Disability or Theatre of Transgression? Modern Drama, 46:2, pp. 285-304.

Chemers, M. (2001). On the Boards in Brobdignag: Performing Tom Thumb. New England Theatre Journal, v. 12, pp. 79-104.

Davis, L. (1999). Constructing Normalcy, the Bell Curve, the Novel, and the Invention of the Disabled Body in the Nineteenth Century. The Disability Studies Reader. Lennard Davis, ed. New York: Routledge. pp. 9-28.

Dennett, A. (1997). Weird and Wonderful, the Dime Museum in America. New York: New York University Press.

Donley, C. and S. Buckley, eds. (1996). The Tyranny of the Normal: An Anthology. Kent: Kent State University Press.

Dunn, K. (1989). Geek Love. New York: Warner.

Fiedler, L. (1978). Freaks, Myths and Images of the Secret Self. New York: Simon and Schuster.

FitzGerald, W. (1897, March-August). Side-Show. I-V Strand Magazine.

Foucault, M. (1997). The Abnormals. Ethics, Subjectivity, and Truth. Ed. Paul Rabinow. Trans. Robert Hurley. New York: New Press, pp. 51-58.

Freud, S. (1997). Writings on Art and Literature. Palo Alto: Stanford University Press.

Goffman, E. (1963). Stigma: Notes On The Management Of A Spoiled Identity. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall.

Goldfarb, A (1976, Fall). Gigantic and Miniscule Actors on the Nineteenth-Century American Stage. Journal of Popular Culture, 10, no. 2, pp. 267-79.

Haller, M. (1967). Eugenics. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.

Hays, M. (1995). Representing Empire; class, culture, and the popular theatre in the Nineteenth Century. Imperialism and Theatre. Ed. J. Ellen Gainor. New York: Rutledge.

Mannix, D. (1990). Freaks, We Who Are Not As Others. San Francisco: Re/Search Publications.

McConachie, B. (1993). Museum Theatre and the Problem of Respectability for Mid-Century Urban Americans, in The American Stage: Social and Economic Issues from the Colonial Period to the Present. Ron Engle and Tice Miller (eds.). New York: Cambridge University Press, pp. 270-296.

McNamara, B. (1974). 'A Congress of Wonders,' The Rise and Fall of the Dime Museum, Emerson Society Quarterly, v 20 3rd qtr, pp. 201-216.

Mitchell, D. & Snyder, S. (2000). Narrative Prosthesis: Disability and the Dependencies of Discourse. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.

Thomson, R., ed. (1996). Freakery, Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body. New York: New York University Press.

Thomson, R. (1997). Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Disability in Popular Culture. New York: Columbia University Press.

Twitchell, J.(1992). Carnival Culture. New York: Columbia University Press.

Copyright (c) 2005 Michael Chemers

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