Ordinary Trauma

Twenty-One Disabled Women Surviving the 1989 Polish Transformation

in Aspasia
Author: Natalia Pamula1
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  • 1 Assistant Professor, University of Warsaw, Russia

This article analyzes the Polish disability memoirs in Cierpieniem pisane: Pamiętniki kobiet niepełnosprawnych (Written through Suffering: Disabled Women’s Memoirs), published in 1991. Written through Suffering consists of twenty-one short memoirs submitted as a response to a memoir competition organized around the theme “I am a Disabled Woman” in 1990. Published two years after the first democratic elections, which took place in Poland in June 1989, this anthology shows that contrary to the mainstream narrative in Poland, Western Europe, and the US, 1989 did not bring about a revolution or any dramatic change for disabled women. Women’s memoirs included in this collection question the teleological narrative of linear progression from state socialism to democracy and capitalism and point to the uneven distribution of newly acquired rights.

Aspasia

The International Yearbook of Central, Eastern, and Southeastern European Women's and Gender History