"Making Lovely Nonsense out of everything": Individuated Receptions of Eugenic Theories of Cognitive Disability
This project examines the rhetorical strategies that parents of children with cognitive disabilities use in appeals to medical authority. A close reading of four sets of letters from the Henry Herbert Goddard Papers reveals that parents were often sophisticated rhetorical agents who internalized, critiqued, and reappropriated eugenic theories and ideas. This archival project explores sites of eugenic thought’s reception, which are often overshadowed by scholarly attention to sites of production and dissemination. In an effort to increase attention to sites of reception, I outline a framework that invites future research to consider how recipients of theories of cognitive disability position themselves within professional networks of expertise in order to make claims from what might appear to be a subordinate position.
College of Arts, Sciences and Technology
English and Humanities
Publication or Event Title
Disability & Society
Chaloupka, E. (2016). "Making Lovely Nonsense out of everything": Individuated Receptions of Eugenic Theories of Cognitive Disability. Disability & Society, 31 (3), 406-420. https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2016.1174104