The Architecture of Disability in Modern France


ACLS Fellowship Program


History and Art History


Spanning the years between 1750 and 1950 in France, this project investigates architectural and urban efforts to accommodate disabled subjects, and recovers how they negotiated environments that had been created for normalized subjects. In this period of political and social revolutions, and as conceptions of disability shifted from moral to scientific terms, material interfaces played increasingly formative roles in programs of education, therapy, and integration. This project traces the evolution of early blind and deaf schools, as well as urban reform measures that gradually made cities more accessible. It argues that these developments struck at the heart of charged debates on citizenship and the public sphere in a society making a difficult transition to democracy.