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Grant number: RZ-51714-14

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New York University (New York, NY 10012-1019)
Faye D. Ginsburg (Project Director: January 2014 to present)
Rayna Rapp (Co Project Director: January 2014 to present)

Cognitive Disability in 21st-Century America

Completion of a manuscript and related web site evaluating the impact of the increasing integration into American culture of people with cognitive disabilities on notions of personhood. (24 months)

Our project addresses the relationship between cultural innovation and disability across an array of domains, revealing the complex transformation that the changing status of disability brings to American life in the 21st Century. We focus on cognitive disabilities, ranging from dyslexia to Down Syndrome to autism, as categories of human difference that have been especially difficult to integrate into American notions of personhood, given their historically stigmatized status. We place our work into conversation with humanities scholars in disability studies where "the new normal" is subject to considerable attention from philosophical, historical, first person, and literary/cultural studies perspectives. As anthropologists with different areas of expertise, we add to this literature our research grounded in ethnography: we bring fine-grained attention to and interpretation of the practices of everyday experience through which new narratives of disability are emerging.

Project fields:
Biological Anthropology; Cultural Anthropology

Collaborative Research

Research Programs

Total amounts:
$100,000 (approved)
$100,000 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2014 – 8/31/2015