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Damned, deviant or divine – an introduction to disability in the past

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Course Information


Term 1 (Monday, 7-9pm)

Please note: if you select the staff or student price option, you must use an online store account that has been set up with your University email address and fill out your University staff or student ID number when prompted as part of the questionnaire data section.

Unfortunately, you can only select the staff or student price option if you are a full time/ part time student of the University or staff member. This discount is not available if you have taken a Lifelong Learning evening course before.

Course Code


Course Dates

16th October 2017 – 20th November 2017

Places Available

Course Leader

Stephanie Wright
Course Description

Course overview

Dammed, 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 6 week course will introduce you to key themes associated with disability studies and explore changing attitudes and experiences of the disabled, from the Palaeolithic to the Post-Medieval period. There will be an opportunity to see osteological examples of palaeopathology from the University of Southampton archaeological department.



Aims and learning outcomes

By the end of the module students will:


  • Understand the medical, social and continuum models of disability.
  • Be able to explain the difference between ‘impairment’, ‘disability’ and congenital and acquired disability.
  • Have a good knowledge of key themes related to disability studies in the past.
  • Be able to participate in debates concerning disability in the past.

Summary of teaching and learning methods

This course will comprise the following teaching and learning methods:

  • Lectures
  • Seminars
  • Question and answer sessions
  • Group discussions
  • Practical demonstration of osteological palaeopathology (where possible)
  • Group work

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