Tarapata, Olga (2018). Beyond Disability: Extraordinary Bodies in the Work of William Gibson. PhD thesis, Universität zu Köln.

Dissertation_Beyond Disability_Tarapata.pdf

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This dissertation conceptualizes figurations of disability in the work of contemporary U.S.-American writer William Gibson arguing that there is a distinct development in the representation of the manner and effect of corporeality from the Sprawl to the Bigend trilogy. In the Sprawl trilogy, prosthetic repair and rehabilitation are depicted as a common cultural practice, whereas in the Bigend trilogy the medical cure of the characters’ “deficiencies” for purposes of normative alignment is no longer a desired measure. By adopting a disability studies framework, I argue that this transition is not primarily related to a shift in genre, which does exist, but instead that it is motivated by a changing attitude toward the “broken” body that seeks restoration. A main concern of this book is, therefore, to understand the formal qualities of Gibson’s writing with regard to the forms and functions of the disabled figure, and to further demonstrate how this literary style and underlying ideology changes in parallel with the advancement of cultural conceptions of disability. This thesis distinguishes two major shifts over the course of the novels, one on the level of genre and the other on the conceptual level. I show how Gibson’s depiction of characters draws increasingly on a processual understanding of the human body, and decreasingly on traditional prosthetic technologies. This conceptual trajectory from prostheses to processes corresponds with the genre-specific shift in Gibson’s work that I classify as one from technoromanticism to new realism. The analysis is methodologically met with a theoretical triad that feeds on the socio-historical developments of the concept of disability, drawing specifically on the theory of intersectionality, new materialism, and actor-network theory.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD thesis)
Translated title:
CreatorsEmailORCIDORCID Put Code
Tarapata, Olgatarapata.olga@gmail.comUNSPECIFIEDUNSPECIFIED
URN: urn:nbn:de:hbz:38-107095
Date: 2018
Language: English
Faculty: Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Divisions: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Fächergruppe 5: Moderne Sprachen und Kulturen > Englisches Seminar I
Subjects: Philosophy
Social sciences
Political science
Italic Latin
Technology (Applied sciences)
The arts
Uncontrolled Keywords:
William GibsonEnglish
science fictionEnglish
disability studiesEnglish
literary disability studiesEnglish
actor-network theoryEnglish
new materialismEnglish
history of the bodyEnglish
Date of oral exam: 4 July 2018
NameAcademic Title
Berressem, HanjoProf. Dr.
Helduser, UrteProf. Dr.
Refereed: Yes
URI: http://kups.ub.uni-koeln.de/id/eprint/10709


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