Difference and Disability in the Medieval Islamic World (Hardcover)

Blighted Bodies

By Kristina Richardson

Edinburgh University Press, 9780748645077, 168pp.

Publication Date: August 14, 2012

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Medieval Arab notions of physical difference can feel singularly arresting for modern audiences. Did you know that blue eyes, baldness, bad breath and boils were all considered bodily 'blights', as were cross eyes, lameness and deafness? What assumptions about bodies influenced this particular vision of physical difference? How did blighted people view their own bodies? Through close analyses of anecdotes, personal letters, (auto)biographies, erotic poetry, non-binding legal opinions, diaristic chronicles and theological tracts, the cultural views and experiences of disability and difference in the medieval Islamic world are brought to life.

About the Author

Kristina Richardson is an Assistant Professor of History at Queens College, City University of New York, and is Marie Curie Postdoctoral Fellow at the Institut fur Arabistik und Islamwissenschaft, University of Munster, Germany.