Re/presenting the self: autobiographical performance by people with disability

dc.contributor.advisorCvetkovich, Ann 1957-en
dc.creatorStrickling, Chris Anneen
dc.date.accessioned2008-08-28T21:41:47Zen
dc.date.available2008-08-28T21:41:47Zen
dc.date.issued2003en
dc.descriptiontexten
dc.description.abstractRepresentations of people with disability, whether in print media and literature, film, television, or theatre, have traditionally been produced by nondisabled people with varying degrees of exposure to, and knowledge of, the lived experience of disability. The resultant tradition of misrepresentation effectively reduces disabled people to the specificities of their physical or cognitive differences, erasing or rendering invisible the disabled self. Written autobiography by people with disability offers a productive counter-dialogue to this pervasive misrepresentation. Yet, written autobiography is constrained by its very materiality. The body exists outside the text, in much the same way that the disabled body, for many Americans, exists in an imaginary political and social space, devoid of corporeality. It is into this (relative) void that I place my study of autobiographical performance by people with disability. I argue that in these performative moments, moments in which the self as constructed through narrative competes for recognition with visible difference and disability and the cultural meanings assigned to the marked body, the disabled performer has an opportunity to construct a self capable of a level of agency, integrity and complexity unavailable to disabled people in every day social encounters. This autobiographically constructed and theatrically conveyed self works as a corrective to the long tradition of misrepresentation of disability, literally re/presenting the self of disability to general audiences. Representations of people with disability, whether in print media and literature, film, television or theatre, have traditionally been produced by non-disabled people with varying degrees of exposure to, and knowledge of, the lived experience of disability. The resultant tradition of misrepresentation effectively reduces disabled people to the specificities of their physical or cognitive differences, erasing or rendering invisible the disabled self. Written autobiography by people with disability offers a productive counterdialogue to this pervasive misrepresentation. Yet, written autobiography is constrained by its very materiality. The body exists outside the text, in much the same way that the disabled body, for many Americans, exists in an imaginary political and social space, devoid of corporeality. It is into this (relative) void that I place my study of autobiographical performance by people with disability. I argue that in these performative moments, moments in which the self as constructed through narrative competes for recognition with visible difference and disability and the cultural meanings assigned to the marked body, the disabled performer has an opportunity to construct a self capable of a level of agency, integrity and complexity often unavailable to disabled people in every day social encounters. This autobiographically constructed and theatrically conveyed self literally re/presents the self of disability to largely non-disabled audiences. In separate chapters, I examine facially disfigured performer David Roche’s The Church of 80% Sincerity, deaf performance artist Terry Galloway’s Out All Night and Lost My Shoes and performances by disabled performers in the Actual Lives Performance Project of Austin, Texas to identify the ways in which the autobiographical self is constructed and performed. I theorize each performance’s ability to meaningfully re/present the disabled self. As examples of disability-identified autobiographical performance emerging from vastly different social and cultural positionings, these works have specific utility for the study of autobiography, for performance studies and Disability Studies, and for cross-over into ongoing medical and social discourses of disability. I argue for the inclusion of issues of disability into theoretical works on identity and the body and for the centrality of Disability Studies as an important area of inquiry in the humanities.
dc.description.departmentEnglishen
dc.format.mediumelectronicen
dc.identifierb57246397en
dc.identifier.oclc57013523en
dc.identifier.proqst3116196en
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/2152/981en
dc.language.isoengen
dc.rightsCopyright is held by the author. Presentation of this material on the Libraries' web site by University Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin was made possible under a limited license grant from the author who has retained all copyrights in the works.en
dc.subject.lcshPeople with disabilities in literatureen
dc.subject.lcshPeople with disabilities--Social aspectsen
dc.subject.lcshBody, Human--Social aspectsen
dc.titleRe/presenting the self: autobiographical performance by people with disabilityen
dc.type.genreThesisen
thesis.degree.departmentEnglishen
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglishen
thesis.degree.grantorThe University of Texas at Austinen
thesis.degree.levelDoctoralen
thesis.degree.nameDoctor of Philosophyen

Access full-text files

Original bundle

Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
Loading...
Thumbnail Image
Name:
stricklingca032.pdf
Size:
391.81 KB
Format:
Adobe Portable Document Format

License bundle

Now showing 1 - 1 of 1
No Thumbnail Available
Name:
license.txt
Size:
1.65 KB
Format:
Plain Text
Description: