IXth International Conference on Urban History

August 27-30, 2008

Lyon France
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 Session description

Disability and the City : European Perspectives

The history of disability was traditionally understood in terms of a medical model that envisaged impairment as a physical or mental pathology. Historians were slow to respond to the alternative, social model that was advanced by radical activists from the 1980s and insisted that disability was a societal construct manufactured by hostile material and cultural environments. In recent years, however, the historical contingency of impairment has received more attention. This main session will promote an urban dimension. Disability will be widely defined to include mental illness and learning difficulty, physical and sensory impairments, and papers will be selected from a broad cross-section of national contexts in order to explore comparative European perspectives. Proposals that address the following themes will be particularly welcome: 1) historiographies of disability; 2) industrialization, employment, and disabled workers; 3) institutions and their disabled inmates; 4) charity, the state, and community support; 5) urbanization and informal caring networks; 6) access to the built environment and transportation systems; 7) the city as a site for political participation and protest; 8) integration, exclusion, and urban communities; 9) urban representations of disabled people in literature, art, photography, and film; 10) the urban versus the rural in aetiology and treatment.

Session conveners:

  • Marie Clark Nelson
  • Anne Borsay

Session type: Main

Classification: M - Modern


'Worth Saving' - Disabled Children in British Cities during World War Two

Author(s): wheatcroft, sue 

A polio child in a spanish urban community (1940's - 1960's)


Developing a Culture of Disability at Apelviken ca 1900-1930: Treating Children with Non-pulmonary Tuberculosis

Author(s): Förhammar, Staffan ; Nelson, Marie Clark 

Experiences and Meanings of Work in Two Hostels in Norwich, UK, 1930-1980

Author(s): Rolph, Sheena 

From the city to the sea: a biography of disabled childhoods

Author(s): Vanobbergen, Bruno 

In market, mansion or Mountain: representations of disabled children in reading for the young, 1850-1950

Author(s): Martin, Mary Clare 

On a detour: An example of using the disability studies’ theoretical viewpoints in a historical study

Author(s): Kasanen, Heli 

Under the State´s tutelage: organising assistance for occupational accident victims in Francoist Spain (1939-60)

Author(s): Del Cura, Mercedes ; Martinez-Perez, Jose