Complicating Bodies
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Level: Undergraduate
Division: Eugene Lang College The New School for Liberal Arts
Department: Lang College
Course Number: LNGC 1406
Course Format: Seminar
Location: NYC campus
Permission Required: No
  • Literature
  • Film & Video History, Theory & Criticism
Disabled, injured, or otherwise non-normative bodies pervade 20th and 21st century literature and film. This course examines a selection of texts that have interesting things to say about what it means to live in a complicated body. We will explore the tendency to use disabled bodies as a form of metaphor, and well as the critique of this tendency. First, we will pay particular attention to the relationship between the representation of injured or disabled bodies and gender and race. Then, we will explore the ways that texts about disability confound our expectations about the differences between literary and visual representations of non-normative bodies. Literary texts may include Flannery O’Connor, A Good Man is Hard to Find, Junot Diaz, Drown, Toni Morrison “Recitatif,” Stephen Crane, “The Monster,” David Small, Stitches, and Kevin Brockmeier, The Illumination: A Novel. Films may include Dark Victory (1939) directed by Edmund Goulding Safe (1994) directed by Todd Haynes, Freaks (1932) directed by Todd Browning, and Blue (1993) directed by Derek Jarman. Will we also read criticism by Susan Sontag, Leonard Davis, and Elaine Scarry, among others.
Course Open to: Degree Students with Restrictions


Open to Undergraduate students.


Open to Freshman students.