Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher EducationSkip other details (including permanent urls, DOI, citation information)
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16. Further, Ellen Samuels shows how, within the “fantasies of identification” by which we try to classify bodies, disability is always “lurking at the margins of [these discourses] ready to be invoked to justify a range of oppressive and reductive identifications” (214). There are crises when we cannot easily and readily classify difference—and we react with fantasies that we can carefully identify things like sex and race and disability. But we also do this with different parts of the brain or with different types of brains—for instance, pop science seems obsessed with “the teen brain” (access Julie Elman’s book Chronic Youth). According to Samuels, fantasies of identification “retroactively naturalize [their] determinative effects” (22). Such identifications search for “scientific underpinnings [and] homes” (214). More simply, we classify things first, and then we give them justifications that make the classification look scientific.
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