The A19 seminar (LARCA-UMR8225) invites Sari Altschuler (Northeastern U., Boston, invited professor at Université de Paris) on Friday, March 13 (2pm; bâtiment OdG, room 340).
Her talk is titled:
Civic Signs: Race, Disability, and Citizenship in Antebellum America.
The American Revolution ushered in an unprecedented optimism about the abilities of individuals—at least white men—to participate in civic life. Using Enlightenment-inspired rhetoric, Americans in the new nation espoused the belief that almost all such individuals could be made good citizens, and in the first decades of independence they created institutions for people with particular impairments to do this work. This had unanticipated reciprocal effects: As the institutions began to define what it meant to be Deaf, blind, or mad in America, they also gave individuals with particular disabilities a stronger sense of shared identity, community, and common experience that, in turn, shaped the very ideas of American citizenship and belonging. In this talk, Sari Altschuler will examine the particular case of the Deaf community and its relationship to the development of civic rights for white and black individuals in the United States—particularly the role of sign language in determining what it meant to have a voice before the law.
Sari Altschuler is associate professor of English, associate director of the Humanities Center, and founding director of the Health, Humanities, and Society minor at Northeastern University. Her research focuses on medical humanities, disabilities studies, and antebellum US literature. She is the author of The Medical Imagination: Literature and Health in the Early United States (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018) and co-editor of Keywords for Health Humanities (under contract with NYU press) with Jonathan Metzl and Priscilla Wald. Her work has appeared in Early American Literature, Nineteenth-Century Literature, American Literature, American Literary History, PMLA, and the medical journal the Lancet. Currently she directs Touch This Page! Making Sense of the Ways We Read, an award-winning multi-site and online exhibition about the multi-sensory experiences of reading with David Weimer, and chairs the Critical Health Humanities seminar at Harvard’s Mahindra Humanities Center with Amy Boesky and David Jones.
Sari Altschuler will also give a talk on her book The Medical Imagination: Literature and Health in the Early United States (U Penn, 2018) and her recently published PMLA essay co-authored with David Weimer and titled “Texturing the digital Humanities: A Manifesto” on Wednesday, March 4, 12.30pm-2pm at campus U. de Paris, room 888C, bâtiment Les Grands Moulins.