It was Thomas Carlyle who coined the noun “visuality” as well as the verb “visualize” in 1841, to refer to qualities related to making mental images of abstract ideas, such as heroism. In recent decades, visuality has become a keyword in the field of visual culture studies and has taken on additional nuances of meaning. Hal Foster’s edited volume Vision and Visuality (1998) put forward the notion that “vision” should refer to the biological functions of the eye and the human visual system, while “visuality” should refer to cultural practices and values related to vision. This suggests a parallel with the social model of disability, which posits a continuum between impairment (the physical, sensory, or mental features of an individual body that are deemed disabling) and disability (the social practices that can hinder or prevent the cultural participation of individuals with such impairments). Both vision and visuality have been central concerns for disability studies scholarship.

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