Disability: A New History

Disability: A New History

Drawing on new research, Peter White presents a history of disability in the 18th and 19th centuries.

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Recent episodes (10)

  • A Disabled Identity

    Fri, 7 Jun 13

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Peter White reveals the birth of a modern disabled identity in the 19th century - through the lives of some extraordinary independent blind women.

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  • Brave Poor Things

    Thu, 6 Jun 13

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Disabled children are everywhere in popular fiction - Tiny Tim, What Katy Did, The Secret Garden. But what about the real children of the 19th century? What were their lives like, and where can we hear their voices?

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  • Sex and Marriage

    Wed, 5 Jun 13

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Peter White explores sex and marriage between disabled people and reveals the shameful history of eugenics in Britain.

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  • Wooden Legs and Wheelchairs

    Tue, 4 Jun 13

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Peter White has a close encounter with an aristocratic wooden leg, and asks who got access to new technology in the 19th century.

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  • Doing and Being

    Mon, 3 Jun 13

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Work and disability has always been an awkward fit. Peter White continues the series with an exploration of work - and he finds disabled people were everywhere in the 19th century workplace.

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  • Finding a Voice

    Fri, 31 May 13

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Peter White discusses William Hay, an 18th century MP born with spinal curvature, who has left us a remarkably revealing account of living with his disability.

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  • Beauty and Deformity

    Thu, 30 May 13

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Peter White explores ideas of beauty and deformity which had a real impact on the lives of people with disabilities. Mourning loss of beauty was not just natural human vanity, because beauty was thought of as a moral quality, not just skin-deep - and ugliness was deeply shameful because in the 18th century the belief was that outward deformity revealed inner wickedness.

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  • Freaks and Entrepreneurs

    Wed, 29 May 13

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Peter White challenges our modern ideas of freaks - were they in fact great entrepreneurs? Many disabled people who exhibited themselves in the 18th century were in fact wealthy entrepreneurs. Historians now argue that they were in charge of their own careers, and they challenged society's expectations of what disabled people could achieve.

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  • Miracle Cures

    Tue, 28 May 13

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Peter White says, "Every so often in the street someone sees me with my white stick and comes up to me -and offers me my sight back. I'm usually quite rude to them, it depends what kind of day I'm having. But the idea of miracle cures runs very deep."

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  • The Only Dwarf in Liverpool

    Mon, 27 May 13

    Duration:
    14 mins

    Drawing on new research, Peter White presents a history of disability in the 18th and 19th centuries. In this first programme, he finds a letter from "the only dwarf in Liverpool".

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