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The University of Southampton
International Summer School

Broken Bodies


Damned, deviant, divine, dependent, dying, dangerous, fools, beggars, cripples. These are just some of the words associated with disability in the past.

This course provides a brief introductory exploration into the occurrence and experience of disability in the past. Using both historical and archaeological sources, with an emphasis on the British past, this course will explore changing attitudes and experiences of disabled people, from the Palaeolithic to the Post-Medieval period. You will gain an understanding of the medical and social models of disability and be introduced to some of the major themes associated with disability studies. As part of this course there is an opportunity to see and handle human skeletal remains from the University of Southampton department of Archaeology. This rare opportunity allows you to consider the osteological evidence of ancient disease and impairment, and how we can use these to explore disability.

The academic organising this topic is Dr Sonia Zakrzewski, Associate Professor in Archaeology.

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