Showing posts from June, 2021

At Face Value: Review of Andrew Kötting’s The Whalebone Box

By Saul Leslie In the North Pacific, a deaf whale sings. For thirty years this animal has swum through empty seas, has spoken out, but never yet received an answer. Taxonomically uncategorised, marine biologists in Cape Cod call this particular creature ‘the 52 Hertz Whale’. Through a hydrophone, its song registers at the ‘basso profundo frequency, just above the lowest note on a tuba’ . By comparison, th e song of blue whales is identifiable at 10-39Hz, and fin whales at 20Hz. Experts speculating about why this whale sings at 52Hz have posited that its hearing is impaired, making it unable to sing at the frequency of other ‘normal’ whales, and incapable of hearing their replies. As with humans, so with whales: both mammals have limits to what they can hear. As with humans, so with whales: both mammals experience impairment and disability. These kinds of equivalences between people and whales might have seemed strained if not for Andrew Kötting’s 2020 film The Whalebone Box . The film

Images of disabled people in children's literature

By Udo Sierck For the German version of this essay see below . Literature for children and adolescents evokes thoughts, captures moods, animates actions, reflects socio-historical conditions and states of the present.Therefore, it is astonishing that in the standard works of literary studies on this subject the keyword 'disabled' is usually missing. When it does appear, it appears only in individual studies and is limited to individual periods and rather instructive aspects (e.g. Ammann/ Backofen/ Klattenhoff 1987; Elbrechtz 1979; Nickel 1999; Richlick 2002; Zimmermann 1982). At the same time, there is a tendency in these publications to sort by forms of limitations, following the medical model of disability. In the stories, narratives and picture books for children and young people, standards are set, values are transported and norms are planted in the memory. In this context, there is the tradition of depicting disabled people and conveying their alleged characteristics. What