Living with disabilities in colonial America

Have you ever asked yourself what life was like for those with physical or intellectual disabilities in Colonial America? Were people kind, indifferent or harsh? Was there a difference in treatment between those born with disabilities vs. those who became disabled later in life? And how did Indigenous people treat the disabled at the time?

The Hurley Heritage Society hosted Laurel Daen, Assistant Professor in the Department of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame as she presents “Living with disabilities in colonial America” on January 25, 2024

The lecture revealed what life was like for people with physical and intellectual disabilities in the 17th and 18th century; how did gender, race, and class affect the experience of impairment; regional differences; and how definitions and perceptions of disability change over time.

This lecture examined the everyday lives of diverse peoples with disabilities in Colonial America, paying particular attention to the prejudice and discrimination they experienced as well as their efforts to gain greater autonomy and opportunity.