Abstract

This article makes the case that the normative aspirations of recognition politics are worth pursuing as a dimension of disability politics— although the tactics need to be revised— through an interpretation of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein. Specifically, I read Frankenstein's Creature as a visibly disabled subject, as someone who is misrecognized and mistreated due to his body's physical features, in order to analyze the tragedy of the novel: how the not-so-monstrous Creature can never see himself as anything other than a monster since he is never afforded the positive recognition he desires. The article concludes by considering how the tragedy could have been avoided in an attempt to envision a better path toward social justice for people with disabilities and other victims of identity-based subordination. More broadly, this article attempts to bring Mary Shelley into the political theory canon, casting her as a progressive social critic who believed that misrecognition creates monsters out of those who are negatively labelled as such.


"In this the direct moral of the book consists… Treat a person ill, and he will become wicked… Let one being be selected, for whatever cause, as the refuse of his kind— divide him, a social being, from society, and you impose upon him the irresistible obligations— malevolence and selfishness."

– Percy Shelley, 1818, Review of Frankenstein

I. Introduction

President Donald Trump has a long and storied history of treating people with disabilities with disrespect. This behavior often manifests in concrete insults against specific disabled individuals. In 2015, when Trump was a Republican presidential candidate on the campaign trail, he mocked New York Times reporter Serge Kovaleski, a man with arthrogryposis, by imitating his distinct arm mobility and speaking patterns in a derogatory fashion. A year later, Trump implied that disabled people are incompetent when he belittled Charles Krauthammer, a columnist who is paralyzed from the waist down, by referring to him as "a guy that can't even buy a pair of pants" in an attempt to undermine the Pulitzer prize-winning author's criticisms of him. Moreover, after he took office, accusations emerged that Trump repeatedly used slurs— including the word "retarded"— to describe Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin, who is deaf, when she appeared on the reality television show Celebrity Apprentice. Beyond these intentional and targeted attacks, Trump also traffics in ableist stereotypes and rhetoric. For example, the title of Trump's book, Crippled America (2015), which promises to "make America great again," insinuates that that greatness and disability cannot coexist. Finally, President Trump equated disability with the grotesque by remarking that it was "a little tough to watch" visibly disabled athletes in action when he hosted a White House ceremony to celebrate American athletes who competed in the 2018 Paralympic games in South Korea.

This pattern of demeaning treatment toward people with disabilities should not be taken lightly for several reasons. First, the President of the United States has a substantial impact on core values and social expectations regarding our civic and ethical duties to our fellow citizens. This means that the President's demeanor has the potential to establish an acceptable code of conduct for others to follow, and his hateful rhetoric has the potential to mainstream and normalize ableism. 1 Although it would be difficult to measure Trump's precise influence on the perpetuation of an ableist culture, he is certainly not helping matters. Numerous research studies confirm that children with disabilities are far more likely to be victims of bullying and social mistreatment than their nondisabled peers. 2 Moreover, a vast literature comprised of personal narratives from within the field of disability studies reveals how people with disabilities of all ages report being frequently treated as objects of fear, pity, fascination, disgust, or resentment by their fellow co-workers, neighbors, doctors, and even family members. 3 Beyond these direct intersubjective exchanges, negative stereotypes about disabled people as tragic and pitiful cripples, perpetual children, abnormal freaks, sinister monsters, and burdens on the social system pervade popular television shows, literature, and movies. 4 Hence, even though disability was a stigmatized identity long before Trump's presidency, his powerful and highly visible position may amplify the frequency and severity of ableist discourses and exchanges.

Second, this pattern of demeaning treatment is concerning because these incidents are not "mere words." A prominent idea within contemporary political theory is that cultural, discursive, and symbolic harms can be just as real and insidious as material injustices, such as physical violence, the unequal distribution of legal rights, and economic exploitation. In particular, proponents of the politics of recognition— including Charles Taylor, Nancy Fraser, and Axel Honneth, among others— have drawn our attention to the detrimental political effects of "misrecognition," which is an umbrella term used to describe institutionalized patterns of cultural value that constitute one as comparatively "lesser" or unworthy of respect or esteem. As a practice, misrecognition often takes the concrete form of projecting an inferior or demeaning identity onto a group, often along the lines of race, gender, sexual orientation, class, religious affiliation, and ability. Misrecognition is concerning because it often invokes a sense of shame, humiliation, and low self-worth in those who are misrecognized. As Nancy Fraser explains, "To be denied recognition— or to be 'misrecognized'— is to suffer both a distortion of one's relation to one's self and an injury to one's identity." 5 In turn, when members of misrecognized groups internalize and come to believe messages that reinforce their inferiority, they can become complicit in their own subordination. They may not question or challenge their "appropriate" place at the margins of society. Thus, misrecognition is a pressing political problem because it has the potential to curtail powers of autonomous political agency. 6 As Charles Taylor cautions,

A person or group of people can suffer real damage, real distortion, if the people or society around them mirror back to them a confining or demeaning or contemptible picture of themselves. Nonrecognition or misrecognition can inflict harm, can be a form of oppression, imprisoning someone in a false, distorted, and reduced mode of being… 7

Thus, when viewed as a form of oppression, Trump's words are not merely offensive or "politically incorrect." They are politically harmful.

Given that the tenor of misrecognition has reached a new pitch in the age of Trump, reopening and extending the debate about the relative merits and drawbacks of the politics of recognition seems timely and necessary for contemporary theorists who wish to safeguard members of marginalized groups from identity-based subordination. The concept of recognition was originally derived from Hegel's philosophical formulations about the "struggle for recognition" and the "dialectic of master and slave" in the Phenomenology of Spirit (1807), where he argues that identity is dialogically constructed through a process of mutual recognition. Building off of the Hegelian insight that one becomes a subject by virtue of being recognized by another, Charles Taylor's highly influential essay, "The Politics of Recognition," published in 1992, sparked a renewed interest in the topic during the rise of identity politics and multiculturalism in the 1990s.

Today, recognition has its fair share of critics and defenders. This article contributes to ongoing debates about recognition politics through a reading of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818). As this analysis intends to demonstrate, Frankenstein displays a deep interest in how individual identity arises out of interpersonal relationships, and, as a result, the novel serves as a rich resource for both examining the political ills of misrecognition and envisioning potential remedies. My reading positions Victor Frankenstein's Creature as a signifier of visible disability and disfigurement— as a figure who is misrecognized and coded with negative social valuations due to his physical characteristics— in order to highlight the detrimental effects of misrecognition on a person's capacities for autonomous agency. The article then envisions how things might have been otherwise for the Creature in an attempt to imagine potential remedies to misrecognition for people with disabilities. 8

This interpretation of Frankenstein serves as a rebuttal to Patchen Markell's critique in Bound by Recognition (2003), wherein he argues that the pursuit for recognition should be abandoned since it is an elusive and misguided goal. Markell creatively offers a textual interpretation of Sophocles's Antigone to make his case, reading the tragedy as a paradigmatic tale of the futility of recognition in a context of plurality. In an attempt to fight fire with fire (or tragedy with tragedy), I argue that one of the lessons that can be gleaned from the political allegory of Frankenstein is that members of marginalized groups cannot afford to reject recognition politics tout court. The normative aspirations of the politics of recognition are worth pursuing even if the tactics need to be revised and reoriented toward a procedural justice paradigm.

More broadly, this article aims to bring Mary Shelley into the political theory canon. Shelley was the daughter of Enlightenment intellectuals Mary Wollstonecraft, a feminist theorist, and William Godwin, a utopian anarchist philosopher. Unsurprisingly, she grew up reading and discussing political philosophy. Her personal journal details how she studied her parents' oeuvre, Cicero, Locke, Voltaire, Rousseau, and Hume in the years immediately preceding her authorship of Frankenstein. 9 Although she may not be as recognizable as the aforementioned heavyweights of the Western canon, Mary Shelley should be considered a political theorist in her own right as well. She did not write a standard political treatise or manifesto, but her novels are laced with rich political and philosophical insights. 10 Frankenstein demonstrates as great an interest in concerns regarding human nature, education, familial obligation, and social justice as it does in creating a ghost story to "curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart." 11 Indeed, embedding political philosophy within literature was something of a family affair. William Godwin wrote the novel The Adventures of Caleb Williams (1794) to espouse his anarchist ideals, call for an end to tyrannical governance, and illustrate how legal institutions can corrupt and ruin individuals. Similarly, Mary Wollstonecraft's novel Maria, The Wrongs of Woman (1798) offers a powerful feminist critique of the legal institution of marriage and advances the idea that education is the key to women's liberation. Shelley clearly followed in her parents' footsteps by writing fiction with heavy political overtones.

Because novels are not as straightforward as a treatise, many compelling (and sometimes contradictory) political interpretations of Frankenstein have developed over the years, and Shelley's personal political sympathies remain a bit of an enigma. Several scholars have analyzed Frankenstein within the revolutionary fervor of late eighteenth century Europe, suggesting that Shelley equated revolution with monstrosity to emphasize the uncontrollable dangers of revolutionary politics. 12 According to this reading, Shelley espouses conservative political ideals that closely align with those of Edmund Burke. However, this conservative characterization has been disputed in recent years. After examining various themes in the novel and combing through Mary Shelley's personal life— including her letters, journals, and the epigraph to her father—other scholars portray Shelley as someone who embraced the radical legacy of her parents despite her mixed feelings toward revolution. 13 From this perspective, Shelley is depicted as "an informed, critical observer and liberal sympathizer who wishes to prevent both continued injustice and revolutionary violence." 14 Yet another camp of scholars has searched for clues into Shelley's politics by tracing her philosophical lineage through source material in the text, but it has proven difficult to squarely place her into a distinct school of thought. 15 For instance, she has paradoxically been portrayed as both one of Rousseau's greatest sympathizers and harshest critics. 16

This article is not primarily interested in pinning down Shelley's personal political views or making claims about the author's "true" message, per se. Rather, my goal is to use Frankenstein as a resource to consider present-day political debates over the nature and extent of recognition politics. Frankenstein explores how social dynamics influence an individual's capacities and opportunities to participate in public life. Indeed, I have always found it remarkable that the novel focuses so intently on socio-cultural impediments to participation since it was written in era when the majority of women, people of color, and propertyless workers faced a variety of formal barriers, including the denial of basic right to vote. From this angle, Shelley can be thought of as a progressive social critic, one who believed that social misrecognition creates monsters out of those who are negatively labelled as such.

II. Patchen Markell on the Futility of Recognition

In recent years, there have been increasing doubts as to recognition theory's emancipatory potential. Important criticisms have developed within different schools of thought. For their part, neo-Marxists and socialists worry that the ascendancy of recognition politics displaces more radical materialist critiques by turning attention away from economic injustices and demands for redistribution. 17 Critics of identity politics have voiced their concerns as well, arguing that recognition struggles may lead to several undesirable consequences, including balkanization (i.e. a politics of difference fragments the populace along identity-based divisions) and essentialism (i.e. recognition claims require members of minority groups to conform to group norms, thereby reifying group identities and ignoring intra-group heterogeneity). 18 Moreover, the poststructuralist deconstruction of the liberal subject challenges the politics of recognition by suggesting that identities are too plural, fluid, and open to contestation and revision to be theorized as the foundation for definitive recognition claims. 19

Among these critics, Patchen Markell offers perhaps the most comprehensive and compelling refutation in Bound by Recognition (2003). In this book, Markell turns to tragedy, arguing that tragedy inherently challenges recognition politics by severing the relationship between action and identity. In his words,

Tragedy challenges the straightforward association of agency with control… Tragedy teaches us that… efforts to achieve sovereign agency, whether through choice or through recognition, are themselves ethically and politically problematic misrecognitions— not misrecognitions of the identity of another, as that term usually implies, but failures to acknowledge key aspects of our own fundamental situation, including especially our own finitude in relation to the future. 20

Of course, tragedies with sad, disastrous, and calamitous endings surely challenge proponents of sovereign hyper-agency who act as though one can readily master his or her own fate and transform social reality into their ideal blueprint with just the right amount of gumption and willpower. However, as my reading of Frankenstein hopes to make clear, tragedy's lessons are far more varied than Markell acknowledges. As an art form, tragedy can convey an array of politically relevant lessons to its spectators or readers. By engendering moments of catastrophic loss and occasions for mourning, tragedy might also provide a vehicle for catharsis. It can also inspire criticism and reflection by confronting a reader or an audience member with a hard truth about a grave state of contemporary affairs, or even invite a kind of motivation for action from its witnesses by asking them to imagine a better solution, using a sad ending as a cautionary tale to avoid.

To take a step back, what is the crux of Markell's substantive criticism? He argues that pursuits for recognition are fundamentally misguided for several reasons. First, Markell argues that demands for recognition overlook the reality that identity construction is an ongoing and unpredictable enterprise. While being recognized by others in the way one would like to be understood might be desirable, there is no way to translate such recognition into a guarantee since political interaction is inevitably messy and unpredictable. Appropriating Arendt's formulations of plurality and agency, Markell argues that recognition disregards an important element of the human condition— finitude, or "one's practical limits in the face of an unpredictable and contingent future." 21 Because our public identities are constituted in a context of plurality and indeterminacy, he argues, we cannot control how our identities will be perceived by others, so the pursuit for recognition is elusive and should be abandoned. In addition, Markell disagrees with Taylor's assumption that autonomous action is dependent upon identity. Whereas Taylor maintains that misrecognition hinders or destroys a person's successful relationship to their selves, thereby undermining their potential for autonomous agency, Markell argues that we cannot and should not attempt to achieve a coherent conception of a "doer" behind a "deed." In sum, Markell argues that the political pursuit of recognition denies the open-ended and contingent nature of human interaction and mistakenly binds identity to action. If a radical "identity crisis" is politically paralyzing, as Taylor seems to suggest, Markell argues that an excessively firm grip on the unrealizable ideals of sovereign agency and coherent identity will lead progressive movements even further astray. 22

In an effort to persuade his reader to abandon the pursuit for recognition, Markell provides a unique interpretation of Antigone. According to Markell, Antigone stages a paradigmatic struggle for identity recognition: the characters of Antigone and Creon attempt to achieve sovereign agency by acting on their understandings of who they are, and by demanding that others respect them on the basis of their self-declared "true identities." 23 Markell argues that Antigone's act of disobedience (through the burial of her brother in spite of Creon's edict to let Polyneices' body lay unburied in disgrace) is an attempt to achieve the recognition of her identity as "sister" and "woman." At the same time, Creon primarily self-identifies as a citizen and ruler, despite the fact he is also Polyneices' uncle. He values the well-being of the polis over his duties towards family, for he treats Polyneices as ekthros (enemy) after the war. Furthermore, because Creon's exclusively civic conception of philia is rigidly masculine, Antigone's disobedience simultaneously misrecognizes his civic authority and threatens his masculinity. 24

The main point that Markell wants to drive home through this interpretation is that Antigone and Creon's actions— actions derived from identities— ironically undermine their commitments to the very self-identities that they hold dear. Although Antigone is willing to suffer death out of loyalty to a blood relative, she undermines her identification with her familial gender role by severing ties with Ismene and inappropriately appearing in civic spaces. Likewise, Creon's acts also undermine his own self-identifications. His pursuit of civic order turns him into a tyrant, and the death of his son Haemon forces him to effeminately mourn over his dead child. 25 With respect to the central message of the tragedy, Markell writes, "it teaches us that the attempt to become master of our own deeds and identity is not only doomed to fail, but risks intensifying that suffering unnecessarily, even demanding that we give our lives for what will turn out to be our illusion of control." 26 According to Markell's interpretation, Sophocles' Antigone captures the dangers of pursuing identity recognition in a context of plurality and indeterminacy.

In place of a politics of recognition, Markell advocates a politics of acknowledgement. He succinctly outlines his creative project as follows, writing,

Acknowledgement is in the first instance self- rather than other- related; its object is not one's own identity but one's own basic or ontological condition or circumstances, particularly one's own finitude; this finitude is to be understood as a matter of one's own practical limits in the face of an unpredictable and contingent future, not as a matter of the impossibility or injustice of knowing others; and finally, acknowledgement involves coming to terms with, rather than vainly attempting to overcome, the risk, hostility, misunderstanding, opacity, and alienation that characterizes life among others. 27

Unlike recognition, acknowledgment is a relation to oneself in which one's own condition of finitude serves to produce a kind of self-awareness and humility. He asks subjects to recognize their own limitations instead of pursuing the fantasies of personal sovereignty and mastery vis-à-vis the politics of recognition. In doing so, Markell attempts to place the onus and burden of action on those who would otherwise be asked to confer recognition (i.e. members of privileged groups) instead of the group seeking it (i.e. members of subordinated groups).

Overall, some components of Markell's critique are convincing. Markell persuasively argues that Charles Taylor's conception of recognition relies on an essentialist notion of identity. Taylor argues that an individual or group deserves, or is entitled to, recognition, such as when he insists that "Due recognition is not just a courtesy we owe people. It is a vital human need." 28 According to this logic, bearers of distinct identities are entitled to the positive affirmation their identities and the attendant valuable qualities. However, as Markell rightly notes, when recognition is subsumed under a distributive justice paradigm and conceived of as a vital human need or a good that is owed to people, identity is subsequently envisioned as a predetermined "fact" or kernel of selfhood awaiting recognition. This is a problematic way of thinking about identity because identities are not fixed, and we often cannot control how someone will receive us. The dialogical process of subject formation is unpredictable and malleable, which makes it impossible to require someone to recognize another for who they really are. 29

That said, Markell also offers a misguided and incomplete theory of identity construction. His narrow focus on the indeterminacy of face-to-face human interaction in a context of plurality does not take seriously the structural dynamics of power that often systematically impose ascriptive identities on embodied subjects through processes of cultural inscription. Markell glosses over how larger social forces like racism, sexism, classism, and heterosexism influence who gets paid attention to, what gets heard, and how in a context of plurality. Once structural power relations come into full focus, however, we notice that there is often a loose and vaguely predictable pattern to how the social construction of identity takes place and how identity formation also occurs at one remove from dyadic interactions. Thus, Markell neglects to consider the role of stereotypes, cultural tropes, and social discourses on identity formation. This oversight is problematic because, as feminist theorist Susan Bickford importantly reminds us, there is an important distinction "between being stereotyped…and being heard differently than we want to be." 30 On the one hand, being heard differently than we want to be is a political inevitability that characterizes the condition of plurality. On the other hand, being stereotyped and systematically misrecognized is an oppressive phenomenon that members of subordinated groups are more likely to experience. In sum, Markell overstates the indeterminacy of intersubjective exchanges because he does fully grapple with the reality that a context of plurality exists alongside a context of structural social inequality.

Markell's lack of attention to structural inequality leads him to both downplay the psychological dimensions of identity-based oppression and also develop an unsatisfactory theory of agency. His recommendation that we all come to terms with the existential reality of finitude too easily slides into a fatalistic acceptance of the political status quo by promoting a deterministic view in which autonomous agency and human deeds count for too little. For instance, in his re-reading of Hegel's account of the master-slave relation, Markell offers some limited insights about resistance, writing,

On Hegel's account, identity-based social subordination is not fundamentally rooted in the failure of the powerful to notice some fact about the worth or value of the subordinated… Instead, these practices are rooted in the failure of the powerful to acknowledge something about themselves— specifically, in their failure to acknowledge, to bear the weight of, the fundamental human condition of finitude. 31

However, if the solution to the problem is simply to wait for privileged groups to voluntarily acknowledge their finitude, members of identity-based social movements may understandably be reluctant to hold their breath. There is little reason to believe that the politically powerful will reject the status quo, which serves them so well, in favor of an ethos that underscores their vulnerability and finitude. This tactic therefore provides little assistance to individuals currently navigating the damaging, all-too-real effects of identity-based subordination and risks leaving those who are most in need of positive political change without a clear course of action toward justice.

In sum, Markell insightfully argues that the social construction of identity is a continuous and indefinite enterprise, and that participating in processes of social construction does not mean that you always get what you want. While proponents of recognition such as Charles Taylor have suggested that due recognition of a group or individual self-identity is a vital human need like other goods– such as money, power, and opportunity— Markell makes a compelling case that recognition should not be conceived as something that is ultimately "granted" or "accorded" to a marginalized group; it is not a tangible good or object that can be possessed, exchanged, or withheld. However, instead of rejecting the recognition paradigm altogether in favor of a politics of acknowledgement, as Markell proposes, the following reading of Frankenstein recommends that the pursuit for recognition should instead be reconceived as a move toward procedural justice to secure members of marginalized groups an equal social standing and capacity to influence processes of identity construction. This means that the pursuit for recognition should concern itself with equalizing power relations and including all groups and individuals in the ongoing collective activity through which identities are constructed, deconstructed, and remade.

III. Mary Shelley on the "Horror" of Misrecognition

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein (1818), written two centuries ago, is frequently (although not exclusively) read as a cautionary tale about the hubris of science and technology: Victor Frankenstein plays God and creates a Creature out of dead human and animal parts, and the Creature then becomes uncontrollable and wreaks havoc on the community. At first glance, therefore, Frankenstein is an unlikely source for the discussion at hand. However, when the interpretive lens shifts from science to politics, I argue that Frankenstein can be read as a forceful political commentary on the injustice of misrecognition. 32 Indeed, the tragedy of Frankenstein may be more relevant to contemporary debates about recognition than Sophocles' Antigone because it was written during an historical epoch when our contemporary understandings of identity and recognition were being developed. As Charles Taylor argues, the demand for recognition is historically specific, following the decline of hierarchal societies during the eighteenth century. Taylor maintains that in earlier societies what we would now call identity was largely fixed by one's social position. In contrast to conceptions of identity in pre-modernity, the advent of democratic societies created a social context ripe for new forms of intersubjective identity construction:

…In the earlier age recognition never arose as a problem. General recognition was built into the socially derived identity by virtue of the very fact that it was based on social categories that everyone took for granted. What has come about with the modern age is not the need for recognition but the conditions in which the attempt to be recognized can fail. That is why the need is now acknowledged for the first time. In premodern times, people didn't speak of "identity" and "recognition"— not because people didn't have (what we call) identities, or because these didn't depend on recognition, but rather because these were then too unproblematic to be thematized as such. 33

Thus, Shelley's insights about individual identity, and its relationship to social recognition, reflect wider discussions of identity taking place throughout Europe in the modern era.

According to my reading, Shelley's ability to illustrate the pernicious effects of misrecognition is made possible by the unique narrative format of the text, which is divided among three narrators— Captain Robert Walton, Victor Frankenstein, and the Creature. Frankenstein is composed of a series of letters that recount Captain Robert Walton's journey to the North Pole. The characters' narratives are nested: the Creature speaks through Victor's narrative to Walton, and Walton ultimately serves as the scribe of Frankenstein. Whereas the Creature is described as a "monster," "fiend," and "devil" by Walton and Frankenstein's narratives, the first-person account of the Creature reveals the disjuncture between the Creature's own sense of self and the misrecognized identity of "monster" that is foisted upon him by his father's and society's negative reactions to his physical features and visible impairments. The Creature self-identifies as a "feeling and kind friend," a being who exudes an innate goodness, a desire to learn, and an inherent sociability. 34 Yet, the other characters in the novel refuse to recognize him as such. The Creature's appearance draws negative responses and labels from all who encounter him (with the notable exception of a blind man). Over the course of the novel, the reader sees how the Creature suffers immense psychological oppression— shame, self-loathing, and social isolation– in the face of persistent misrecognition. Ultimately, the tragedy of Frankenstein is that the not-so-monstrous Creature cannot see himself as anything other than a monster since he is never afforded the recognition he so desperately desires. The miserable fate of the Creature ultimately invites readers to imagine how matters could have been otherwise, suggesting that the normative aspirations of the politics of recognition are worth pursuing.

Even though Shelley's novel brings to mind several themes that are at the forefront of debates on recognition today, the analysis offered here focuses on three overarching themes. First, the Creature's first-person narrative provides a case study on the damaging effects of misrecognition. The sympathy the reader feels for the Creature, despite all his crimes, reveals Shelley's concern with the negative influence that misrecognition has on a person's sense of self and capacities for agency. Shelley illustrates, in painful detail, how the Creature experiences psycho-emotional distress, and she attributes the Creature's destructive behavior to the socially-induced anguish he experiences as a result of being demeaned and misrecognized by others. In this way, the Creature's monstrosity is the byproduct of ableist interpersonal relations. Second, Shelley also forcefully illustrates why the Creature is unable to resist misrecognition by highlighting the unequal social positioning of the characters in processes of identity formation. This interpretation suggests that the Creature's failure to resist the devalued identity of monster is not primarily a result of the political condition of finitude. Rather, the Creature cannot single-handedly overcome the asymmetrical power relations that underlie the social construction of his identity. Finally, the tragedy of the novel offers a thought experiment on how things could have turned out differently. The reader is called upon to ask what, if anything, would have made the Creature's pursuit for recognition successful? Shelley opens the possibility that the Creature would have fared better had he lived in community with "fellow-devils," or others like him, implying that the Creature would have been able to purge himself of the negative effects of an internalized inferiority had he been able to participate in the construction of a self-affirming culture with others like himself.

To begin, the tale of Frankenstein opens with Captain Walton encountering an emaciated Victor Frankenstein as he travels across the ice on a dog-drawn sled in pursuit of the Creature. When Walton takes the nearly-frozen Frankenstein aboard his ship and nurses him back to health, Frankenstein then discloses the tale of the Creature to Walton, who records the story in letters addressed to Mrs. Saville. Victor confesses the story of the Creature's genesis, and how his insatiable curiosity and ambition feverishly drove him to attempt to "bestow animation upon lifeless matter" by fashioning a creature out of dead body parts. 35 As his creation comes to life, he describes its appearance to Captain Walton as follows, writing,

His yellow skin scarcely covered the work of his muscles and arteries beneath; his hair was of lustrous black, and flowing; his teeth of pearly whiteness, but these luxuriances only formed a more horrid contrast with his watery eyes, that seemed almost the same colour of the dun-white sockets in which they were set, his shriveling complexion and straight back lips. 36

Remarkably, the novel does not provide much additional detail about the Creature's actual appearance, but instead focuses on the other characters' reactions to his looks. Upon seeing his creation, Victor declares that "breathless horror and disgust filled my heart," and he quickly attaches normative adjectives to the Creature's character, using terms such as "miserable" and "wretched" to describe his creation well before he has had a chance to act. 37 Thus, the Creature's deformed physical attributes are immediately coded with value judgments that precede its use of language or behavior towards others. In this way, the Creature is assumed to be monstrous because of the way he looks— not as a result of his actions.

As we shift to the Creature's first-person narrative and are exposed to his inner thoughts and feelings early in the novel, we realize that his natural disposition is not so monstrous at all. Shelley allows the reader to see through the Creature's eyes. In doing so, his admirable qualities come into focus. The Creature laments the injustice of poverty and gushes over the values of family and community. Likewise, he exhibits curiosity and intelligence, love and reverence, and sympathy, and he expressly desires to live a virtuous life. 38 And yet, he desperately needs approval from others to solidify his sense of self. In a moment of reflection, the Creature remarks, "My person was hideous and my stature gigantic. What did this mean? Who was I? What was I?" 39 Abandoned by his creator, the Creature never experiences any positive affirmation from a parent.

Over the course of the novel, the reader witnesses an evolution in the Creature's sense of self after he is repeatedly misrecognized and called a "monster" by nearly every character he encounters, and the results are startling. After being cast out by Victor Frankenstein, he comes across a series of characters— a shepherd and some villagers in a cottage— all of whom treat him like a monster because of the way he looks. After these interactions, the Creature resolves to stay away from human beings. He eventually begins to see himself as others do, and he endures significant psychological and emotional distress as a result. He is driven to self-hatred. Several passages capture the Creature's feelings of self-loathing and misery: "When I became fully convinced that I was in reality the monster I am, I was filled with the bitterest sensations of despondence and mortification" 40; "I am miserable" 41; "I abhorred myself" 42; "You hate me; but your abhorrence cannot equal that with which I regard myself." 43 In these passages and others like them, we confront the psycho-emotional damage that follows from the internalization of a demeaning identity. It is important to consider how Shelley characterizes the psychological harm wrought by misrecognition as an injustice. In the final chapter of the book, as the Creature is standing over Victor Frankenstein's body, he goes on a long tirade directed at Captain Walton, saying,

… I desired love and fellowship, and I was still spurned. Was there no injustice in this?… I, the miserable and the abandoned, am an abortion, to be spurned at, and kicked, and trampled on. Even now my blood boils at the recollection of this injustice. 44

Invoking the language of justice, Shelley does not characterize the social mistreatment that the Creature experiences as an individual act of meanness but as a form of oppression. In doing so, she vividly demonstrates how, to borrow from the words of Charles Taylor, "the projection of an inferior or demeaning image on another can actually distort and oppress, to the extent that the image is internalized." 45

Moreover, misrecognition compromises the Creature's capacities for autonomous agency. The Creature repeatedly discusses his desire to participate in social life, but his fears of being misrecognized in the public sphere prevent him from doing so: "I longed to join them [people]," confesses the Creature, "but I dared not." 46 The Creature repeatedly expresses anxiety when he faces situations where he might have to interact with others because he cannot control how he will be treated. For instance, he hides in the woods and observes the De Lacey family, whom he comes to hold in high regard, at a distance for months before he can work up the courage to face them in the hopes of befriending them. Prior to their meeting, the Creature fantasizes about what the encounter might look like, confessing,

I formed in my imagination a thousand pictures of presenting myself to them, and their reception of me. I imagined that they would be disgusted, until, by my gentle demeanour and conciliating words, I should first win their favour, and afterwards their love. 47

Of course, the exchange does not go as he hopes. Initially the Creature is able to interact with Mr. De Lacey alone, and his blindness creates a window for the Creature to put forward a self-definition free from the tyranny of vision. In describing himself, the Creature states, "I have good dispositions; my life has been hitherto harmless and in some degree beneficial; but a fatal prejudice clouds their eyes, and where they ought to see a feeling and kind friend, they behold only a detestable monster." 48 Mr. De Lacey kindly listens, and offers some reassuring words in turn. The fact that Mr. De Lacey— the one character in the novel who does not immediately read the Creature as an evil monster— is blind speaks to the way in which the construction of the Creature's identity is bound up with physical attributes that he cannot change or control. Indeed, it is only after the other members of the De Lacey family (Felix, Safie, and Agatha) come home and act in a frightened manner that he changes the way he treats the Creature as well.

The Creature significantly changes his behavior following his rejection from the De Lacey family. The eventual internalization of his demeaned identity causes him to become bitter, angry, and vengeful. Finding himself the object of misrecognition, the Creature states, "I, like the arch-fiend, bore a hell within me; and, finding myself unsympathized with, wished to tear up the trees, spread havoc and destruction around me, and then to have sat down and enjoyed the ruin." 49 In the timeline of the novel, the Creature's consciousness of his position as the bottom of the social hierarchy and his experiences of exclusion and misrecognition precede all of his monstrous acts. The Creature kills his first victim, William, only after his refuge in the woods and his full realization of his own rejection. In turn, William's murder incites the murder of Justine, who was falsely accused of killing William. Later, the Creature vengefully kills Frankenstein's beloved friend Henry Clerval, followed by his bride Elizabeth on their bridal bed. In response to these monstrous acts, the Creature insists, "I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend." 50 In a similar passage, he claims that "My vices are the children of a forced solitude that I abhor." 51 In sum, the Creature's destructive behavior is produced by the community's refusal to grant positive recognition. The Creature may have been artificially and unnaturally created by Victor, but the monster he becomes is the artificial and unnatural byproduct of social oppression.

One of the questions the reader must entertain is why the Creature cannot overcome the negative label that is foisted upon him. His attempts at self-definition are futile, and he simply cannot convince others to move beyond their stereotypical notions of monstrosity. One could, following Markell, conclude that the Creature is unsuccessful in the face of finitude— he cannot control how his identity will be perceived by others because our public identities are necessarily constituted in a context of plurality and indeterminacy. Contra Markell, however, I argue that the Creature fails to achieve a more human identity because he cannot single-handedly overcome the asymmetrical power relations that underlie the social construction of identity.

Shelley repeatedly showcases how the dialogical construction of identity is played out in a context of inequality in the direct exchanges between the Creature and Victor. The Creature discusses his place at the margins of society, emphasizing how he lacks social and financial capital since he "possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property." 52 At one point, the Creature goes so far as to describe his relationship to Victor as one of "slave" and "master" to emphasize the hierarchical power relationship between them. 53 The Creature thus feels beholden to Frankenstein for validation, not the other way around. This is reflected in the Creature's desperate plea to be listened to and heard, as when he says to Victor,

Let your passion be moved, and do not disdain me. Listen to my tale: when you have heard that, abandon or commiserate me, as you shall judge that I deserve. But hear me…I ask you not to spare me: listen to me; and then, if you can, and if you will, destroy the work of your hands. 54

This plea is remarkable in at least two ways. First, the Creature is more concerned with the process of judgment more than the outcome. He is desperate to be an equal participant in the intersubjective construction of his identity and life narrative. Second, the Creature knows that his ability to sculpt his identity is tied to Victor's receptivity since Victor is in a privileged position having been granted his status as a normative human being. Again, the Creature highlights the unequal power relations between subjects when he concedes to Victor: "Hear my tale…On you it rests, whether I quit forever the neighborhood of man and lead a harmless life, or become the scourge of your fellow creatures…" 55

Finally, the tragedy of the novel offers a thought experiment on how things could have been otherwise. What, if anything, would have made the Creature's pursuit for recognition successful? The Creature's perpetual and unsuccessful search for a sympathetic community is a crucial component of Shelley's novel. Victor is accepted by society but often chooses isolation, while the Creature is a perpetual outcast who constantly yearns for community. Sadly, the Creature is denied every opportunity to live with others. "When I looked around," the Creature remarks, "I saw and heard of none like me." 56 Throughout the novel the Creature desperately seeks to live in community with those who might mirror back a more positive portrait of himself. For example, before he kills William, who is a child, the following thought passes through his mind:

An idea seized me that this little creature [William] was unprejudiced, and had lived too short a time to have imbibed a horror of deformity. If therefore, I could seize him and educate him as my companion friend, I should not be so desolate on this peopled earth. 57

The Creature thus realizes that his best shot at resisting his demeaned identity of monster is to live in community with others who have not been socialized to demean him. This plan never comes to fruition, but the Creature never gives up on his pursuit for community. He changes his tactics instead. Coming to the realization that "man will not associate with me" or see him as anything other than a monster, the Creature demands, in the name of community, that he be provided with a companion who is "the same nature as myself." "You must create a female for me," the Creature says to Victor, "with whom I can live in the interchange of those sympathies necessary for my being." He sees a companion who shares his characteristics and identity as the antidote to his sorrows, for, in his words, "my virtues will necessarily arise when I live in communion with an equal." 58

Ultimately, the Creature's quest for community is sabotaged by Victor and the other characters. He remains marginalized, and is never afforded the positive affirmation and recognition that he so desperately desires. In a particularly dramatic passage, the Creature laments his isolated existence by implying that Satan's fate was better. "Satan had his companions, fellow-devils, to admire and encourage him," he says, "but I am solitary and abhorred." 59 This raises an interesting idea: what would the finale of Frankenstein looked like had the Creature been afforded some "fellow-devils," so to speak, who shared and valued his difference from the dominant culture? I am not hard-pressed to imagine this alternate ending. Thinking about his plight in a contemporary context, it is easy to picture him participating in a "monster pride" parade while shouting a slogan like "Monstrous and Proud." In the following section, I extend this line of thinking to consider the necessity of "fellow-devils" and explore the role of community and counterculture in resisting misrecognition.

IV. Conclusion: On the Necessity of Disability Culture and "Fellow-Devils"

What can contemporary scholars learn from the tragedy of Frankenstein? If justice does not follow from being entitled to recognition, as Taylor argues, or from acknowledging one's own finitude, as Markell proposes, what might the tragedy of Frankenstein reveal about potential remedies to the injustice of misrecognition? According to my reading, Mary Shelley suggests that the road to justice requires that members of misrecognized groups reject distorted images of themselves in favor of new self-representations of their own making by producing a self-affirming culture of their own. In this way, recognition should not be thought of as a good under a distributive justice paradigm, but should instead be conceptualized as commitment to procedural justice to secure members of marginalized groups an equal capacity to influence processes of identity construction and participate in the ongoing collective activity through which identities are constructed, deconstructed, and remade.

This means that the capacities for autonomous agency that are diminished through misrecognition cannot be recovered by turning to members of dominant groups for affirmation. Due to the indeterminacy of identity construction, desired recognition may remain elusive, and, because misrecognition is such a powerful tool of social control, members of dominant groups may not be motivated to change the status quo by granting recognition or acknowledging their own finitude. Instead, members of marginalized groups— acting as "fellow-devils"— must collectively reclaim and refashion their own identities, histories, traditions, and cultures. The Creature envisioned this community as one of "amiable and lovely creatures sympathizing with my feelings and cheering my gloom." 60 The individual and collective creation or revaluation of a demeaned identity can subsequently serve as a source of pride and empowerment, thereby combating the pernicious effects of internalized inferiority and enhancing one's capacities for autonomous agency.

Shelley's gesture toward community and counterculture will sound familiar to readers well-acquainted with Nancy Fraser's concept of a subaltern counterpublic. Fraser develops this idea to characterize the alternative discursive spaces occupied by members of marginalized groups. As she explains,

Members of subordinated social groups— women, workers, peoples of color, and gays and lesbians— have repeatedly found it advantageous to constitute alternative publics. I propose to call these subaltern counterpublics in order to signal that they are parallel discursive arenas where members of subordinated social groups invent and circulate counterdiscourses, which in turn permit them to formulate oppositional interpretations of their identities, interests, and needs. 61

Fraser points to feminist counterpublics within the United States as examples. Feminist journals, bookstores, music festivals, conferences, consciousness-raising groups, and so on provide spaces where women can develop various images, slogans, literature, humor, and other cultural expressions to formulate alternative definitions of womanhood within patriarchal societies. As Fraser describes them, therefore, subaltern counterpublics widen the field of discursive contestation, bringing to the fore issues and narratives that might have been overlooked, purposely ignored, or suppressed by members of dominant groups. Thinking about the promise for recognition politics in particular, Fraser argues that a main organizing principle of counterpublics is to offer a space where the subordinated dimensions of one's personal identity can be valued and respected within the group and disseminated outside the group into an ever-widening arena of discussion. 62

What might this look like in the case of disability? Various counterpublics committed to the positive valuation of disability identity already exist, including: disability presses, like the Ragged Edge and Mouth Magazine; dance companies featuring disabled dancers, such as the Heidi Latsky Dance Company, AXIS Dance Company, and Kinetic Light; disabled performance artists, such as Cheryl Marie Wade, Frank Moore, and the Wry Crips Women's Theater; and film festivals, like the Superfest International Disability Film Festival and the Oska Bright Film Festival. Taken together, these spaces and practices comprise what has been dubbed "disability culture." Like all cultures, disability culture is not monolithic or static. It is porous, heterogeneous, and contested, encompassing many differences and people with multiple identities. And, like any identity-based group, people with disabilities continuously struggle and negotiate with one another to create and re-create group boundaries and group norms. As Clarissa Hayward and Ron Watson remind us, "Rarely, if ever, is there a single, consensually agreed upon understanding of the values or the traditions of a national minority or another marginalized group. Instead, there are typically multiple accounts— accounts that diverge from, and sometimes conflict with, one another." 63

What is important to consider, for our purposes here, is how disability culture can be instrumental in formulating self-affirming interpretations of disability identity. Consider Sheila Black's poem, "What You Mourn," which eloquently highlights the mismatch between the way in which her body has been misrecognized by others yet valued by herself:

Crippled they called us when I was young…
but those were all names given by outsiders,
none of whom could imagine that the crooked body they spoke of,
the body, which made walking difficult and running practically impossible,
except as a kind of dance, a sideways looping
like someone about to fall …
that body they tried so hard to fix, straighten, was simply mine,
and I loved it as you love your own country. 64

Black's alternative characterization of her body as something integral to her personhood and worth loving, despite its negative characterization by "outsiders," exemplifies how disability culture can develop and disseminate affirming interpretations of disability identity that reject the notion of disability as a symbol of shame, tragedy, deficiency, and lack.

Perhaps the starkest alternative to portrayals of disability identity developed in the dominant culture— including those provided by President Trump— can be found in the development of what has been coined "crip pride." "Cripple" is a controversial term in the disability community, and historically it has been a pejorative one. "Crip," however, echoes the LGBTQ community's reappropriation of the word "queer." By reinscribing what was once denigrated and demeaned with worth and value, the reappropriation of "crip" by the very people it was meant to harm attempts to turn internalized forms of cultural misrecognition into expressions of collective empowerment. As Eli Clare argues, "Queer and Cripple are cousins: words to shock, words to infuse with pride and self-love, words to resist internalized hatred, words to help forge a politics." 65 Crip pride grows out of the social model of disability, which attributes disability-related disadvantage to oppressive social barriers rather than physical differences themselves. 66 Even though crip identity, like queer identity, is fluid and ever-changing, it offers a conceptualization of disability that allows disabled individuals to take pride in their identity, celebrate their differences as a dimension of biodiversity, and reject the ideology of normality that posits people with disabilities as Other.

In sum, acting collaboratively as "fellow-devils," participants of disability culture offer one antidote to the enduring justice of misrecognition. Of course, this tactic is limited. It does little to reconfigure the wider power structures that precipitate misrecognition in the first place and give nondisabled people more power and influence in the production of representations of disability. But in an era where people with disabilities report feeling "shunned and silenced in Trump's America," disability culture offers an inviting and much-needed space where people with disabilities can proclaim their dignity, express pride in their identity, and demand respect for their differences from the dominant group. 67

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Michael Lienesch, Joshua Miller, and Lee Trepanier for comments on earlier versions of this manuscript.

Endnotes

  1. Some preliminary research indicates that Trump's openly hateful and demeaning rhetoric emboldened many ordinary citizens to adopt similar language. Using survey data with over 10,000 respondents, The Southern Poverty Law Center reported a significant uptick in reports of bullying and harassment in schools around the country following Trump's electoral victory. Derogatory language was "directed against immigrants, Muslims, girls, LGBT students, kids with disabilities and anyone who was on the 'wrong' side of the election." Maureen Costello, After Election Day: The Trump Effect (Montgomery, Alabama: The Southern Poverty Law Center, 2016), 6. For a discussion of Trump and the phenomenon of "trickle-down bullying" see Maureen Johnson, "Trickle-down Bullying and the Truly Great American Response: Can Responsible Rhetoric in Judicial Advocacy and Decision-Making Help Heal the Divisiveness of the Trump Presidency?," Journal of Gender, Social Policy & the Law 25, no. 4 (2017): 445-508.
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  2. George Bear et. al., "Differences in Bullying Victimization Between Students with and without Disabilities," School Psychology Review 44, no. 1 (2015): 98-116. https://doi.org/10.17105/SPR44-1.98-116
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  3. Susannah Mintz, Unruly Bodies: Life Writing by Women with Disabilities (Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2007).
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  4. Colin Barnes and Geoff Mercer, "Disability Culture: Assimilation or Inclusion?," in Handbook of Disability Studies, eds. Gary Albrecht, Katherine Seelman, and Michael Burry (Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, 2001).
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  5. Nancy Fraser, "Rethinking Recognition," New Left Review 3, May/June (2000): 109.
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  6. The linkage between (mis)recognition and autonomy is widely assumed. See James Tully, "Struggles Over Recognition and Redistribution," Constellations 7, no. 4 (2000), 470. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-8675.00203; Axel Honneth, The Struggle for Recognition: The Moral Grammar of Social Conflicts (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1995), 169.
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  7. Charles Taylor, "The Politics of Recognition," in Multiculturalism and the Politics of Recognition, ed. Amy Guttman (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1992), 25.
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  8. There is ample precedent for reading the Creature as disabled. Eileen Hunt Botting contends that the Creature symbolizes a disabled child with a craniofacial deformity like a cleft palate who is stigmatized as "monstrous" for a birth defect he cannot control. Mary Shelley and the Rights of the Child: Political Philosophy in Frankenstein (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018), 149. Lennard Davis suggests that the Creature's deformed appearance constitutes a visible physical impairment that provokes negative responses from other characters in the novel. Enforcing Normalcy; Disability, Deafness, and the Body (London: Verso, 1995), 143-144. Diane Hoeveler argues that Frankenstein "expresses the 'otherness' of living as differently abled in a world of able, hostile, or indifferent people." "Frankenstein, Feminism, and Literary Theory," in The Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley, ed. Esther Scholar (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 59. According to Martha Stoddard Holmes, "the Creature's story resonates with disability experiences." "Born This Way: Reading Frankenstein with Disability," Literature and Medicine 36, no. 2 (2018): 374. https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2018.0019 Finally, Angela Smith makes the case that "the monster is disabled by other's perceptions of him." "Walk This Way: Frankenstein's Monster, Disability Performance, and Zombie Ambulation," Literature and Medicine 36, no. 2 (2018): 414. https://doi.org/10.1353/lm.2018.0021
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  9. Mary Shelley, The Journals of Mary Shelley, 1814-1844, Volume 1, eds. Paula R. Feldman and Diana Scott-Kilvert (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1987).
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  10. Frankenstein is not unique in this manner. Shelley's book The Last Man (1826), which is a post-apocalyptic novel about a polarized political society confronted by a deadly plague, is filled with political messages. See Kari Lokke, "The Last Man," in The Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley, ed. Esther Schor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 116-134. https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521809843.008
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  11. Mary Shelley, Frankenstein (Mineola, New York: Dover Publications, Inc., 1994 [1831]), vii.
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  12. Fred Botting, "Reflections of Excess: Frankenstein, the French Revolution and Monstrosity," in Reflections of Revolution: Images of Romanticism, eds. Alison Yarrington and Kelvin Everest (London: Routledge, 1993), 28–38; Ronald Paulson, Representations of Revolution (1789-1829) (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983), 239-247; Lee Sterrenburg, "Mary Shelley's Monster: Politics and Psyche in Frankenstein," in Endurance of Frankenstein: Essays on Mary Shelley's Novel, eds. George Levine and U.C. Knoepflmacher (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1979).
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  13. Pamela Clemit, "Frankenstein, Matilda, and the Legacies of Godwin and Wollstonecraft," in The Cambridge Companion to Mary Shelley, ed. Esther Schor (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2003), 26-44. https://doi.org/10.1017/CCOL0521809843.003; Adriana Craciun, "Frankenstein's Politics," in The Cambridge Companion to Frankenstein, ed. Andrew Smith (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016), 84-98. https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781316091203.008
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  14. Fred Randel, "The Political Geography of Horror in Mary Shelley's 'Frankenstein'," ELH 70, no. 2 (2003): 488. https://doi.org/10.1353/elh.2003.0021
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  15. Burton Pollin, "Philosophical and Literary Sources of Frankenstein," Comparative Literature 17, no. 2 (1965): 97–108. https://doi.org/10.2307/1769997; Nancy Yousef, "The Monster in a Dark Room: Frankenstein, Feminism, and Philosophy," Modern Language Quarterly 63, no. 2 (2002): 197-226. https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-63-2-197
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  16. According to Nancy Yousef, the Creature is a literary adaptation of Rousseau's "noble savage" paradigm, wherein individuals are born good but become corrupted by an unequal society. Isolated Cases: The Anxiety of Autonomy in Enlightenment Philosophy and Romantic Literature (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004), 155-157. By contrast, Diana Reese reads the Creature as a critical commentary on Rousseau's general will, suggesting that he represents those who are excluded from Rousseau's concept of sociability, including "female nonsubjects, slaves and servants." "A Troubled Legacy: Mary Shelley's Frankenstein and the Inheritance of Human Rights," Representations 96 no. 1 (2006): 58. https://doi.org/10.1525/rep.2006.96.1.48
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  17. Nancy Fraser, Justice Interruptus: Critical Reflections on the "Postsocialist" Condition (London: Routledge, 1996); Brian Barry, Culture and Equality: An Egalitarian Critique of Multiculturalism (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001).
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  18. William Connolly, Identity/Difference: Democratic Negotiations of Political Paradox (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1991); Richard Rorty, "Is 'Cultural Recognition' a Useful Concept for Leftist Politics?," Critical Horizons 1, no. 1 (2000): 7-20. https://doi.org/10.1163/156851600510390
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  19. Wendy Brown, States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1995) https://doi.org/10.1515/9780691201399; Lois McNay, Against Recognition (Cambridge: Polity Press, 2008).
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  20. Patchen Markell, "Tragic Recognition: Action and Identity in Antigone and Aristotle," Political Theory 31, no. 1 (2003): 8-9. https://doi.org/10.1177/0090591702239437
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  21. Patchen Markell, Bound by Recognition (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2003), 38.
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  22. Ibid., 60.
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  23. Ibid., 69.
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  24. Ibid., 80-81.
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  25. Ibid., 81-82.
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  26. Ibid., 65.
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  27. Ibid., 38.
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  28. Taylor, "The Politics of Recognition," 26.
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  29. Markell, Bound by Recognition, 58-59.
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  30. Susan Bickford, "In the Presence of Others: Arendt and Anzaldúa on the Paradox of Public Appearance," in Feminist Interpretations of Hannah Arendt, ed. Bonnie Honig (Penn State University Press, 1995), 328.
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  31. Markell, Bound by Recognition, 112.
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  32. Shelley does not explicitly employ the language of recognition. Nevertheless, David Hirsch also interprets the Creature as a character who calls "for recognition as a humane, if not also human, being." "Liberty, Equality, Monstrosity: Revolutionizing the Family in Mary Shelley's Frankenstein," in Monster Theory: Reading Culture, ed. Jeffrey Jerome Cohen (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1996), 118. See also Josh Bernatchez, "Monstrosity, Suffering, Subjectivity, and Sympathetic Community in Frankenstein and 'The Structure of Torture'," Science Fiction Studies 36, no. 2 (2009): 216.
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  33. Charles Taylor, "The Politics of Recognition," 35.
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  34. Shelley, Frankenstein, 95.
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  35. Ibid., 32.
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  36. Ibid., 35.
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  37. Ibid., 35.
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  38. Ibid., 85-92.
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  39. Ibid., 91.
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  40. Ibid., 80.
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  41. Ibid., 104.
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  42. Ibid., 164.
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  43. Ibid., 165.
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  44. Ibid., 165.
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  45. Charles Taylor, "The Politics of Recognition," 36.
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  46. Shelley, Frankenstein, 77.
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  47. Ibid., 81.
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  48. Ibid., 95.
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  49. Ibid., 97.
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  50. Ibid., 69.
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  51. Ibid., 106.
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  52. Ibid., 85.
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  53. Ibid., 165; For a more detailed discussion of Mary Shelley's reference to slavery see H.L. Malchow, "Frankenstein's Monster and Images of Race in Nineteenth-Century Britain," Past and Present 139 (1993): 90-130. https://doi.org/10.1093/past/139.1.90 Malchow analyzes the racial aspects of Frankenstein's Creature, arguing that the novel "owed much of its language and power to Jamaican and Haitian slave rebellions" (128).
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  54. Ibid., 69, emphases added.
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  55. Ibid., 70.
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  56. Ibid., 85.
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  57. Ibid., 102, emphasis added.
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  58. Ibid., 104-106.
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  59. Ibid., 93.
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  60. Ibid., 94.
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  61. Nancy Fraser, "Rethinking the Public Sphere: A Contribution to the Critique of Actually Existing Democracy," Social Text 25/26 (1990): 67. https://doi.org/10.2307/466240
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  62. Ibid., 67.
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  63. Clarissa Hayward and Ron Watson, "Identity and Political Theory," Washington University Journal of Law & Social Policy 33, no. 9 (2010): 26.
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  64. Sheila Black, Jennifer Bartlett, and Michael Northen, Beauty is a Verb: The New Poetry of Disability (El Paso, Texas: Cinco Puntos Press, 2011), 212.
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  65. Eli Clare, Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness, and Liberation (Boston: South Bend Press, 1999), 70.
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  66. See Tom Shakespeare, "The Social Model of Disability," in The Disability Studies Reader, Second Edition, ed. Lennard Davis (New York: Routledge, 2006).
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  67. See Melissa Blake, "Disabled, Shunned, and Silenced in Trump's America," New York Times (2017): https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/15/opinion/disabled-shunned-and-silenced-in-trumps-america.html (last accessed October 2018).
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