Elizabeth Ellcessor and Bill Kirkpatrick use this thoughtful collection to jumpstart the field of disability media studies (DMS), claiming that two areas—disability studies and media studies—draw from many of the same interdisciplinary sources and maintain a common interest in "the identification of relations of power and oppression, and the transformation of those relations via critique and activism aimed at both representations and structures" (16). The opening chapter, written by Ellcessor, Mack Hagood, and Kirkpatrick, introduces the fields to each other, detailing how media benefits from disability perspectives, and vice versa. The authors claim that both fields center struggles over power and emphasize "everyday" contexts: popular culture in media studies and lived experiences in disability studies (11). The authors argue, convincingly, that the two fields stand to benefit from more intentional collaboration.

Readers of this journal may be most interested in the authors' pitch for disability scholars to consider approaches to media that go beyond textual analysis and ideas of representation. They claim that media studies support scholarship aiming to "move beyond a text's 'preferred' reading in order to discover how audiences are actually negotiating textual meaning in specific settings, or how those negotiations shift depending on the social context or audience's own experiences" (14, emphasis in original). In addition to understanding the multiple meanings of a text and the numerous ways in which messages are received and interpreted, the authors also promote an integrated approach to media analysis that uses mixed methodologies to explore ideological struggles and the varied social, political, and industrial contexts in which they occur.

The book features fourteen essays that are designed to fulfill this promise and demonstrate the scope of disability media studies. The banner topics for the essays include Access and Media, Disability and Race, Disability and Gender, Disability and Celebrity Culture, Disability and Temporality, and Disability and Technology. The editors also include two "Afterwards" that offer commentary on the collection from scholars already working at the intersection of media and disability.

There are many positive things to say about this collection, and I will focus on three primary items.

First, the condensed essay format, intersectional approaches, variety of media texts, and range of literature reviews make the collection an excellent resource for a graduate or upper-division undergraduate class by the same name of the book. Some of the chapters work as ready-made class lectures, complete with media examples and probing discussion topics. For example: D. Travers Scott and Meagan Bates' reading of anti-anxiety television advertisements and how they pathologize femininity; Robert McRuer's analysis of intersecting disability and queer identities in the movie Any Day Now; Alex S. Porco's identification of disability as a desirable and intentional practice in hip-hop music; and Krystal Cleary's nuanced discussion of Lady Gaga's disability drag. Additionally, Lori Kido Lopez's argument for ethical viewership, and Shoshana Magnet and Amanda Watson's articulation of alternative temporalities found in graphic novels, might spark reflection and generate dialogue about the implications of students' own media consumption practices.

Second, the collection highlights the embodied experiences of media and the dynamic processes in which media shapes, and is shaped by, disability. Tasha Oren, for example, shows how documentaries and movies about Temple Grandin re-fashion an understanding of autism through representations of Grandin's perspective. The author argues that these representations contribute to a perspectival shift necessary for advancing the neurodiversity paradigm. Hagood's theorization of "biomediation" questions how participation in media representation systems might actually reduce stigma for people with invisible and underrepresented disabilities. Julie Passanante Elman explains how ABC's After School Specials provided a "rehabilitative logic" that assumed a new relationship to teen viewers, that of educator, and influenced a trend in televised edutainment. It is a common misunderstanding that media serves as only a neutral conduit for messages, but in these studies, authors emphasize people's complex and embodied relationship to media.

Third, the collection foregrounds the systems that create and constrain disability, a move that benefits disability scholarship and disability activism by identifying not only where resistance takes place, but also by articulating the junctures in which (future) resistance may lie. For example, Ellcessor's analysis of the web series My Gimpy Life also discusses the potential of crowdfunding and web sharing for civic engagement and community building. Toby Miller's discussion of media manufacturing and disposal practices highlights media's material role in producing global disability in service of affluent consumer habits. Kirkpatrick's excellent essay on the discursive construction of the isolated, passive "shut in" to justify the commercialization of radio demonstrates how disability is used to construct capitalist logics that disavow and disparage disability perspectives. Systems thinking is a necessary component of disability justice, and many pieces in the book advance our thinking about the ways in which disability makes and remakes our world.

As is the case with any media text, audiences will interpret the essays in Disability Media Studies differently and assign various levels of importance to each analysis. I, for one, found all the readings stimulating in one way or another. Some essays simply provided an interesting case study or expanded my thinking on a theory, and a few essays sparked an innovative line of inquiry I hope to see pursued by future disability media studies scholars.

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Copyright (c) 2020 Emily Stones

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