Illuminating disability, inside the classroom and out

By Paige Parvin | Emory Magazine | May 20, 2015

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If you are fortunate enough to receive an email from Rosemarie Garland-Thomson, Emory professor of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, you will no doubt note this caveat beneath her signature: 

“Because this message was composed using dictation rather than keyboarding, it probably contains distinctive mistakes. Dictation never misspells, but it frequently uses the wrong words and misspells names. Thank you in advance for reading creatively, considering the larger context when my words are confusing or hilarious, and tolerating missing salutations and random capitalizations.”

That sort of wry, intelligent, here-I-am humor is typical of Garland-Thomson, who was born with a total of six fingers and one arm that is half the length of the other and does not type. In the emerging academic field of disability studies, where much of her scholarship is focused, she is something of a rock star.

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