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Staring: How We Look Paperback – Dec 28 2009

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (April 20 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195326806
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195326802
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 1.3 x 15.2 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 454 g
  • Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #388,920 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"A trailhead that offers branches back into the many fields of study from which this book draws. It also suggests connections with new ones...[An] important, challenging, and often brilliant book." --American Literary History

"So much effort is put into trying to stop staring: mothers scold children, doctors try to 'fix' bodies marked 'abnormal.' But enough of that. Garland-Thomson takes staring as the inevitability it is, and, with compelling stories and beautiful insight, tells us where we could go from here-intellectually, socially, artistically, humanely. -Alice Dreger, Professor of Clinical Medical Humanities and Bioethics, Northwestern University

"'So I stared at him . . . I felt really ill-at-ease . . . .' Rosemarie Garland-Thomson's book explains that universal feeling in ways that are comprehensible to every one of us who has felt this discomfort at one time or another. Staring is a vital book for our understanding of disability and its impact on each of us. It is a bold and path-breaking book that should be on the reading list of everyone in education, public affairs, and social policy."-Sander L. Gilman, author of Making the Body Beautiful: A Cultural History of Aesthetic Surgery

"Staring: How We Look delivers on its promise to provide a comprehensive "anatomy
of staring..".Staring excels at offering a sustained analysis of how different bodies generate stares while those same bodies can transform understandings of variance." --Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

About the Author

Rosemarie Garland-Thomson is Professor of Women's Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Her fields of study are feminist theory, American literature, and disability studies. Her scholarly and professional activities are devoted to developing the field of disability studies in the humanities and in women's studies.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) HASH(0xa3263720) out of 5 stars 3 reviews
HASH(0xa2f38bd0) out of 5 stars An Insightful Discussion on the Dynamics of How We Look at Each Other. April 3 2016
By Bear Boy - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is an informative engaging study on, well, how and why we look. Garland-Thomson uses the theories of sociologists like Irving Goffman to dissect the meaning of of the gaze, particularly as it applies to social relations between able and "disabled" persons.

Eschewing familiar lines of thinking such as feminist notions of the "gaze," "Staring" sees looking as a social process. In looking, an observer either takes solace in having her social conditioning, reaffirmed, or as is often the case with person who are visibly "other" tries to organize an alternate framework to contain the friction between what she expects and what exists before her.

But Garland-Thomson doesn't stop there. She examines the ways that the people subject to normalizing "stares" use the their visual otherness to fight back against stigma and assert their humanity. The power dynamics inherent to the social interaction of the stare are not fixed and wholly hierarchical, as in a Marxist reading, but fluid and dynamic, depending on who is staring at whom, and how the object of the stare exists within, through, or against the limitations of the one beholding them.

More generally, I find the book to have been perfectly written. It is academic without being abstruse, intelligent without being condescending, and humane toward both the beholders and the beheld whose dynamics are dissected in the text. Not a single word is reiterated or wasted in trying to make the writer or the book seem more "academic" than they are. The book is shockingly short, but condensed with innumerable insights. I found myself highlighting sentences constantly because of how revealing they were about the nature of staring interactions. A must for anyone looking for insights in what it means to stare.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2d08bf4) out of 5 stars Great Read Dec 2 2012
By hollypenyo - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
very interesting book that combines disability studies and visual cultural studies. i would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in these subject fields.
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0xa2d08be8) out of 5 stars Excellent exploration of societal issues & individual differential expression Aug. 24 2015
By Robert I. Cohen - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Excellent exploration of societal issues & individual differential expression. "Starers" and "starees" can share acceptance of differences only when we not just look, but to see the whole person.