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The Ugly Laws: Disability in Public

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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  41 ratings  ·  7 reviews
In the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries, municipallaws targeting "unsightly beggars" sprang up in cities across America. Seeming to criminalize disability and thus offering a visceral example of discrimination, these "ugly laws" have become a sort of shorthand for oppression in disability studies, law, and the arts.

In this watershed study of the ugly laws, Sus
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Hardcover, 431 pages
Published May 1st 2009 by New York University Press
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Margaret Sankey
In the late 19th century, new urban governments passed ordinances to prevent the display of ugliness in public space--driven by new understandings of disease vectors, Victorian offense at ""fake"" crippled beggars and visions of ""new cities"". Quickly, these became a useful catch-all to round up beggars, cross-dressers, peddlers, unruly women (wearing trousers!), insufficiently humble non-white people and anything generating ""foreign"" noises or smells. Of course, it became complicated when th ...more
Audacia Ray
I'd like to give this book 5 stars for interesting ideas, and 1 star for the droll and somewhat confusing academic writing. So 3 stars it is.

The analysis of the relationship between "ugly laws" that criminalize poor people and people with disabilities for being in public and the rise of charities was nothing short of stunning intellectually. It was really intriguing/disturbing to see how these things all connect up. The author also hits hard on the distinction between "meaning well" and doing ac
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Joseph
Another candidate for a 3 1/2 star review. Hugely important, and oftentimes brilliant, The Ugly Laws is also much, much too long. Fans will argue that Schweik's archive needs to be so vast in order to expose the all-encompassing reach of the Ugly Laws. It's a fine argument, but it still does not remedy the book's scattered focus and lack of cohesion. The middle three chapters that simply pay homage to the holy race-class-gender trinity that remains central to virtually all cultural studies work ...more
Danine Spencer
It took me two years to read this book. The information is fascinating but the writing is atrocious. I often found myself bored after a page or two and put the book away for months. I only forced myself to finish it because I wanted to move it off my "currently reading" list. The sad thing is, with better prose, "The Ugly Laws" could have been another "The Warmth of Other Suns".
Sherry Lee
Academics, we sometimes write too much. This book is an example of where less would be more. It is a good book on an important topic.
Lindsay
I had to read this for a sociology class and I loved it. The Ugly Laws should be mandatory reading. It's an eye opener!
Mills College Library
346.73013 S4132 2009
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962943
My book The Ugly Laws has just come out from NYU Press (May 2009). In it you can find everything you ever wanted to know about the U.S. laws prohibiting people who were "diseased, maimed, deformed so as to be unsightly or disgusting objects" from "exposing themselves to public view." You can also find information about the most famous disabled person you never heard of.
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