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What does disability offer as a category of historical analysis? Why does #DisHist matter?
Here is an eg:
Born in Sardinia, Antonio Gramsci (1891–
1937) lived with physical disability, possibly due to Pott's disease (image not of him).../ The image shows a black and white photograph of the back of a young boy with deformities of the spine and neck.
His mother held to the idea that he was disabled after a fall down a flight of stairs which she blamed on a servant. The young Gramsci lived with chronic pain, and his condition may have impacted his growth as well.
#DisHist #DisabilityHistory #histmed The image shows a black and white photograph of a middle aged woman with dark hair wearing a dark dress, holding a toddler with dark curly hair and a white dress. The photo appears to be from the early 20th century.
Gramsci's own writings describe how he was called a gobbo (hunchback) by those around him & described how his condition made him feel like an "intruder" in his family.../
#DisHist #histchild #histmed
Gramsci (shown as a child below) wrote letters describing the excruciating pain he felt at night, and the different remedies for his condition. He described how an aunt tried to cure his hump with oil from the lamp at the shrine of the local Madonna.
#DisHist #histmed #histSTM The image shows two young children seated in a group photograph. They are serious and wear black caps and light coloured clothing. The boy on the left appears to have a disability of the back and neck.
Gramsci described being hanged up for hours by a harness from a beam on the ceiling on doctors' orders to straighten his curved spine, which matched contemporaneous medical treatments of continuous traction & plasters shown here.../
#DisHist #histmed The black and white illustration shows a young boy wrapped tightly in bandages.The black and white illustration shows a person's leg wrapped tightly in traction and plasters.The black and white illustration shows a person from behind, who appears to be wearing a neck to hip length corset like binding medical apparatus.
Gramsci would also write letters to his wife where he described how difficult it was for him that as a 'gobbo' to make friends & how he wore a "mask of hardness" to cope.../
#DisHist #DisabilityHistory #histmed The black and white photograph shows a young Antonio Gramsci probably at the age of 5 or 6 years. His dark hair is swept off his forehead, and he wears a 3-piece suit with a bowtie.
To what extent Gramsci's disability shaped his worldview we can never say with certainty. But he appeared more sensitive to disabled lives. For instance, he wrote a detailed account of an intellectually disabled teenage boy chained by his mother in a pigsty./
#DisHist The image shows a black and white photograph of a mughshot of Antonio Gramsci. He has curly hair, wears glasses and wears a dark jacket.

Without resorting to retrospective diagnosis, it is clear that Gramsci's everyday life was transformed by disability. What it means for a reading of his writings is another matter altogether.

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