Cognitive Ableism and Disability Studies: Feminist Reflections on the History of Mental Retardation

Hypatia 16 (4):124-146 (2001)
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This paper examines five groups of women that were instrumental in the emergence of the category of “feeblemindedness” in the United States. It analyzes the dynamics of oppression and power relations in the following five groups of women: “feebleminded” women, institutional caregivers, mothers, researchers, and reformists. Ultimately, I argue that a feminist analysis of the history of mental retardation is necessary to serve as a guide for future feminist work on cognitive disability.



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