Introduction: Writing the Global Family, International Perspectives on Disability Studies and Family Narratives

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Philip Ferguson
Janet Sauer


global family, disability studies, family narrative


We live in the Golden Age of the memoir. Everyone has a story to tell, and a growing number are finding their way to publication. The disability memoir has certainly been a part of this growth. It is refreshing to note how many of these recent narrative accounts of living with a disability have been written from what might be broadly termed a “disability studies perspective” taking on a more critical, socio-cultural orientation than the traditional ‘inspiration in the face of personal tragedy’ motif.  The list of such accounts is growing (a very short and incomplete list would include works by Anne Finger (2006), Simi Linton (2006), Harriet McBryde Johnson (2005), Eli Clare (1999), Rod Michalko (1998), and Stephen Kuusisto (1998). Beyond the personal memoir, there has been a similar explosion of memoirs written by family members of individuals with disabilities (parents, siblings, and children). However, unlike the personal memoir, relatively few of these “family narratives” have adopted a clear disability studies perspective...
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