Queer Silence: On Disability and Rhetorical Absence

Univ. of Minnesota. Oct. 2022. 296p. ISBN 9781517914097. pap. $24.95. SOC SCI
Silence is loaded with meaning, both positive and negative. In their first book, Smilges (English, Univ. of British Columbia) brings new insights to bear on silence in the realm of queer and disability studies. They begin by noting that homosexuality itself was viewed as a disability, which resulted in the silencing of disability itself. For many, silence is the equivalent of complicity or even death, and much remains unspoken. Framed by personal stories of being silenced, Smilges’s book examines different modes of silencing and their manifestations. Visual silencing, for example, comes up in its analysis of the photo-free profiles created by some users of the dating app Grindr. Smilges also discusses institutions based on silencing, like conversion therapy, a dangerous practice of suppression intended to harm LGBTQIA+ people physically and emotionally.
VERDICT Recommended. Academic readers interested in theoretical and rhetorical analysis in queer and disability studies will find cutting-edge thought.
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