One might assume that disability studies and trauma studies would be intimately intertwined, since both examine physical and psychological impairments. Disability studies and some directions in trauma studies are deeply concerned with the social contexts and consequences of impairments. Owing to methodological and ideological differences, however, there has been little contact between the two fields until very recently.

Approaches to trauma can be divided broadly into two categories: the medical-clinical and the cultural-historical. Medical-clinical definitions are concerned typically with an individual’s response to some overwhelming stress or injury—an accident, for instance, or an event of war, or a physical or sexual assault—that produces a sense of helplessness or extreme disorientation. Due to the powerful and intrusive nature of the psychological stress or physical assault, an individual may find him- or herself unable either to address its memory directly or to be freed from that memory. Thus, she or he experiences …

This essay may be found on page 180 of the printed volume.

Works Cited
Permanent Link to this Essay