Thursday, December 6, 2012

"Don't Call Me Inspirational," new book from feminist, writer, and disability activist Harilyn Rousso comes out in January 2013

From the Temple University Press:

New book by psychotherapist, painter, feminist, filmmaker, writer, and disability activist Harilyn Rousso, Don't Call Me Inspirational, A Disabled Feminist Talks Back, will be released in January 2013.
For Rousso, hearing well-intentioned people tell her, "You're so inspirational!" is patronizing, not complimentary.

In her empowering and at times confrontational memoir, Don't Call Me Inspirational, Rousso who has cerebral palsy, describes overcoming the prejudice against disability—not overcoming disability. She addresses the often absurd and ignorant attitudes of strangers, friends, and family.

Rousso also examines her own prejudice toward her disabled body, and portrays the healing effects of intimacy and creativity, as well as her involvement with the disability rights community. She intimately reveals herself with honesty and humor and measures her personal growth as she goes from "passing" to embracing and claiming her disability as a source of pride, positive identity, and rebellion.

A collage of images about her life, rather than a formal portrait, Don't Call Me Inspirational celebrates Rousso's wise, witty, productive, outrageous life, disability and all.


"I've known Harilyn Rousso as a powerful activist and gifted artist, but with this revelatory book, she becomes something even rarer: a storyteller who conveys her uniqueness and so helps us to discover our own. Don't Call Me Inspirational is irresistible to read, honest, insightful, and universal."Gloria Steinem

"Don't Call Me Inspirational reads like a collection of eloquent, timeless letters to the world. Rousso writes to her readers as if she knows each and every one of us and wants to strengthen the bond we share. A disabled woman's life has never been so thoughtfully and beautifully rendered—in fresh, vital prose with candid humor and a vivid imagination."
Simi Linton, author of My Body Politic and Co-director of the film Invitation to Dance
"Don’t Call Me Inspirational is stunning, a pleasure to read. Rousso’s outstanding book is both a beautifully written memoir about growing up in the 1950s and a critical historical analysis of disability politics. The author moves through her life, diving into gender/sexuality/embodiment/disability politics with grace and honesty. Nothing is simply resolved; rather, it is lived, moved through, engaged, struggled over, and then revisited."
Michelle Fine, Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the Graduate Center, City University of New York


I: Close Encounters with the Clueless
1. Who’s Harilyn?
2. Birth, Mine
3. Close Encounters with the Clueless
4. The Beggar and the Cripple
5. The Stare
6. Always the Other
7. Why I am Not Inspirational
8. Home
II: On Leaving Home
9. Wedding Day, 1933
10. Dancing
11. Exploding Beans
12.My Sister
13. Adolescent Conversation
14. On Leaving Home
15. Hideous Shoes
16. Driving High
17. Eli
18. My Father, Myself
19. Driving away from Home
III: On Not Looking in the Mirror
20. Walk Straight!
21. On Not Looking in the Mirror
22. Facing My Face
23. Meditations on Speech and Silence
24. Daring Digits
25. Right-Hand Painting
26. Being Only One: Some Meditations on Solitude
IV: What's a Woman?
27. What’s a Woman?
28. He Was the One
29. Blank Page
30. Buying the Wedding Dress
31. First Date
32. First Night
33. Mixed Couple
34. Sylvester
35. Faces of Eve
36. Tough Bird
37. Hand in Hand
V: Why Claim Disability?
38. Finding My Way
39. Keeping the Distance
40. That “Inspirational” Label
41. Token of Approval
42. Disabled Women’s Community
43. The Story of Betty, Revisited
44. Listening to Myself
45. Activist Sisters
46. Toilet Troubles
47. My Mentoring Project
48. Why Claim Disability?
49. Broken Silences
50. Eulogy for My Nondisabled Self
51. Eulogy for My Freakish Self
52. Ode to My Disabled Self

About the Author:

Harilyn Rousso is a disability activist, feminist, psychotherapist, writer, and painter. She is the Executive Director of Disabilities Unlimited Consulting Services, founder of the Networking Project for Disabled Women and Girls, co-editor of Double Jeopardy: Addressing Gender Equity in Special Education and author of Disabled, Female, and Proud!