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Sex, Identity, Aesthetics

The Work of Tobin Siebers and Disability Studies

Subjects: Disability Studies
Paperback : 9780472038497, 192 pages, 6 x 9, October 2021
Open Access : 9780472902477, 192 pages, 6 x 9, October 2021
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How Tobin Siebers’ foundational work in disability studies resonates in the field today


The late Tobin Siebers was a pioneer of, and one of the most prominent thinkers in, the field of disability studies.  His scholarship on sexual and intimate affiliations, the connections between structural location and coalitional politics, and the creative arts has shaped disability studies and continues to be widely cited.  Sex, Identity, Aesthetics: The Work of Tobin Siebers and Disability Studies uses Siebers’ work as a launchpad for thinking about contemporary disability studies.  The editors provide an overview of Siebers’ research to show how it has contributed to humanistic understandings of ability and disability along three key axes: sex, identity, and aesthetics.  The first section of the book explores how disability provides a way for scholars to theorize a wider range of intimacies and relationalities, arguing that disabled people seek sexual access and revolution in ways that transgress heteronormative dictates on sexual propriety.  The second part of the book works outward from Siebers’ work to looks at how disability broadens our concepts of social location and political affiliations.  The final section examines how disability challenges traditional notions of artistic beauty and agency.  Rather than being a strictly commemorative collection meant to mark the end of a major scholar’s career, this collection shows how Siebers’ foundational work in disability studies remains central to and continues to inspire scholars in the field today.   

Jina B. Kim is Assistant Professor of English and the Study of Women and Gender at Smith College.
Joshua Kupetz is Assistant Director of the English Department Writing Program at the University of Michigan.
Crystal Yin Lie is Assistant Professor of Comparative World Literature at California State University, Long Beach.
Cynthia Wu is Professor of Gender Studies and Asian American Studies at Indiana University.

“A splendid collection with far-ranging reach and an array of topics and methodologies. It offers focused engagement with the ideas of a hugely important scholar, yet is also a map for moving beyond that scholar’s work.  Sex, Identity, Aesthetics represents a re-affirmation of deep values in disability studies—generosity, mentorship, and accountability.”
—Margaret Price, The Ohio State University

- Margaret Price

Sex, Identity, Aesthetics is an excellent tribute to Tobin Siebers, one of the most important theorists of disability studies. The volume offers a sustained critical engagement with a major scholar’s legacy with new and challenging applications of his work to specific projects and issues in current cultural theory.”
—Michael Davidson, author of Invalid Modernism: Disability and the Missing Body of the Aesthetic


- Michael Davidson

Watch: Webinar celebrating the launch of Sex, Identity, Aesthetics | 11/3/2021