Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Major Professor

Lisi Schoenbach

Committee Members

Stanton B Garner Jr, Gerard Cohen-Vrignaud, Adam Cureton


In the current sociocultural climate, conversations surrounding conceptions of identity are richer and more robust than ever. Disability Studies has long understood the disabled identity to be simultaneously constructed and embodied. This tension is echoed by the aesthetic tendencies of literary and artistic modernism, which encourage contradictions, messiness, and irresolution. Our present historical moment can benefit from a look back at a movement that not merely tolerated but valued fracture and difference. Through a careful analysis of works by high modernists and obscure artists alike, The Crippled Aesthetics of Modernism argues that our contemporary framework for conceiving of disability—not as an inherent fault in a person, but as a condition produced by society’s inability or refusal to accommodate, to understand—can be strengthened by modernism’s adamant dismantling of whatever we might call “normal.”

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