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Title:Medicalized Illiteracies: Learning Disabilities, Contentious Histories, and Writing Studies
Author(s):Baldridge, Elizabeth
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Peter Mortensen
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Rhetoric and Composition
Abstract:Literacy has played a formative role in the creation and maintenance of the learning disabilities label. The condition is contingent upon an expected connection between intelligence and literacy, both understood to be stable, quantifiable capacities. This contingency fuels debate as to the nature and definition of intelligence and literacy as well as the legitimacy of learning disabilities' medical origins. At stake in the debate are disciplinary interests and ownership of learning disabilities, not to mention institutional support for accommodation and/or remediation services for those labeled learning disabled. My project aims not to resolve the legitimacy debate but rather to interrogate it. Looking at texts culled from early-nineteenth century work on mental testing, records from the U.S. Army's Psychological Examination during World War I, and histories of learning disabilities published from 1973 to 1996, I analyze the rhetoric of learning disability histories as well as the role of organic definitions of literacy at work in these histories in order to understand the scholarly reluctance of Writing Studies and Disability Studies to deal with learning disabilities. Through an archival study, I examine how literacy and assessments of literate performance work as definitional in learning disability history and call for Writing Studies to take on learning disabilities for this reason.
Issue Date:2007
Description:139 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2007.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3290172
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2007

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