Disability in the Middle East, a bibliography
by M. Miles
The partly annotated open online “Disability in the Middle East, a
bibliography”, first web published in 2002, was much revised, extended and updated to June 2008, and now lists about 1,750 items, at:
It aims to record the cumulative formal knowledge base in the disability field in countries of the Middle East, especially Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkey, and some smaller neighbours.
Around 45% of the items in the bibliography, listed in the last two sections with a brief introduction, comprise historical materials of the Middle East from 1751 to 1970 and from Antiquity to 1750, as an essential part of the cultural background. This earlier material has more annotation (and so takes about 60% of the total word-count), to enable potential readers to find the disability-related parts that are sometimes hidden in odd corners or footnotes, and also to indicate some cultural features that might be less easily understood nowadays.
No sensible explanation exists for how I [M. Miles] came to put this stuff together. There was already far too much material when it went online in 2002. Planning to spend a few weeks on a short update, I had a swing at disability and deafness in Egyptology, Assyriology, and the Hittite Kingdom in Anatolia,
which actually took six months. Of course, the material is utterly fascinating.
The past 30 years of “disability studies” in North America and Western Europe can look like a few buckets of water compared with the rolling 5000-year ocean of Middle Eastern disability. But just because of that contrast, I guess the majority of western students of disability won’t dip a toe into this ocean. The bibliog and annotations give a basic map for the adventurous minority… Also, of course, for the millions of non-western people who
might be happy to know something about disability before The West was invented.
[Note to We Can Do readers: people interested in researching people with disabilities in the Middle East, African, East Asian, South Asian, and South-West Asian regions regions may find it helpful to begin with M. Miles’ collection of annotated bibliographies, of which this is only one.
This email was circulated by the author, M. Miles, on the Disability-Research email discussion list.
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