By Julia Miele Rodas

About Julia Miele Rodas

Julia Miele Rodas is Associate Professor of English at Bronx Community College/CUNY (City University of New York). With David Bolt and Elizabeth Donaldson, she is coeditor of The Madwoman and the Blindman: Jane Eyre, Discourse, Disability (2012) and of the Literary Disability Studies book series (Palgrave Macmillan). She is currently working on a book—Autistic Disturbances—that theorizes the role of autistic rhetoric and aesthetics in literature.


Identity is the idea of the self understood within and against the social context, a means by which the individual is categorized and located as part of, or set apart from, recognized social, political, and cultural groups. As “the means by which the person comes to join a particular social body” (Siebers 2008b, 15), identity is a symbolic performance, an activity that names and aligns the self, by which the individual is composed as socially significant. It cannot exist, therefore, except in social relief—against a backdrop by which the self is made visible to both self and other. Disability identity has a complex and dynamic history. At its core is the disability rights movement, which for the first time asserted disability as a minority identity and as a platform for collective political action. In the entry on “Minority” in this volume, Jeffrey Brune indicates that Louis Anthony Dexter …

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