Esme Cleall
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Imperial lives
Confronting the legacies of empire, disability and the Victorians
in Disability and the Victorians
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The British Empire reached the peak of its power and influence during the Victorian era, presenting opportunities to a wide spectrum of entrepreneurs, missionaries, government administrators and adventurers. This chapter examines how disabled white Britons fitted into the imperial matrix by exploring the life histories of three deaf educators and social reformers, John Kitto, George Tait and Jane Groom. As the lives of these three individuals intersected with the workings of the British Empire, this provides an opportunity to consider the intersection between disability and colonialism. As Cleall demonstrates, scholars of disability have often used the language of colonialism to evoke the exclusion, discrimination and subjugation of disabled people by society, following a similar pattern to that used in issues of race.

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Disability and the Victorians

Attitudes, interventions, legacies


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