Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Department of English

First Advisor

Katherine Ellison


The primary aim of literary (and media) disability studies scholarship has been to examine the rhetorical effects of the various representations of disability that are found throughout literature, television, and other cultural sites of inquiry. The Internet has helped to facilitate this aim, opening these types of discussions to the general public. Social media has given individuals the power, agency, and voice to assert their ideas about disability identity, and (dis)ability (as a system; see Schalk, Bodyminds Reimagined) more broadly to the world, and in doing so, has radically altered the author-text-audience relationship. My project examines the authorial choices of JK Rowling, John Green, and Scott Silvestri (and other writers) in regard to how they think, write, and talk about (dis)ability and disability identity within and outside the story-world of the Harry Potter series (1997-2007), Turtles All the Way Down (2014), and the television show, Speechless (2016-19). Analysis of these works is especially focused on where the authors aligned their (dis)ability discourse with and within larger ideological systems, and how this alignment mediates disabled identity to readers/viewers. My intervention, however, is to juxtapose these discourses of (dis)ability with how fans/audiences are taking them up in digital spaces. The choices that individuals make about these systems, identities, and ideologies in their own day-to-day lives provides a new understanding between the nexus of identity, media, and literature, as individuals interact with the models for thinking, writing, and talking about (dis)ability and disability identity—such as cripped narratology—that authors put forth.


Imported from Freeman_ilstu_0092N_11730.pdf


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