Disability Studies from Theory to Practice: Finding Bioethics in the Frankenstein Ballet

How can the insights of disability studies and its theories be put into practice? In this presentation, Rosemarie Garland Thomson outlines critical disability studies and disability theory and offers an example of how this academic work can be translated into the applied field of bioethics and health humanities, an area that considers policy and ethics of medical practice and decision-making. Her example is the recent ballet version of Mary Shelley’s 1818 classic novel, Frankenstein, the frequently adapted tale of scientific hubris and its potential for human tragedy. The presentation shows how the ballet dramatizes a parent’s refusal to recognize and accept a child who differs from other family members and the agonizing family relations that come from parental rejection.

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