Affiliated members
Lennard J Davis

Lennard J Davis, Professor of English
University of Illinois at Chicago

Lennard J. Davis is Professor in the English Department in the School of Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he also served as Head of the Department. In addition, he is Professor of Disability and Human Development in the School of Applied Health Sciences, and Professor of Medical Education in the Medical School.


He is the author of two works on the novel-Factual Fictions: The Origins of the English Novel (Columbia U. Press, 1983, rpt. University of Pennsylvania Press, 1996) and Resisting Novels: Fiction and Ideology (Routledge, 1987, rpt. University of Pennsylvania Press, 2001) and coeditor of Left Politics and the Literary Profession. His works on disability include Enforcing Normalcy: Disability, Deafness, and the Body (Verso, 1995), which won the 1996 Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights' annual award for the best scholarship on the subject of intolerance in North America, and The Disability Studies Reader (Routledge, 1996). His memoir My Sense of Silence (University of Illinois Press, 2000), was chosen Editor's Choice Book for the Chicago Tribune, selected for the National Book Award for 2000, and nominated for the Book Critics Circle Award for 2000. He has appeared on National Public Radio's Fresh Air to discuss the memoir, which describes his childhood in a Deaf family. Davis has also edited his parents' correspondence Shall I Say a Kiss: The Courtship Letters of a Deaf Couple, 1936-38 (Gallaudet University Press, 1999).. Davis is a co-founder ofthe Modem Language Association's Committee on Disability Issues in the Profession, and he is on the board of several academic journals. Having written widely for newspapers and magazines, Davis is also the author of a novel entitled The Sonnets (State University of New York Press, March 2001). A collection of his essays entitled Bending Over Backwards: Disability, Dismodernism, and Other Difficult Positions was published by New York University Press in August 2002. He was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002-2003 for his next book A Cultural History of Obsession: From Fascination to Pathology. He has written numerous articles in The Nation, The New York Times, The Chronicle of Higher Education and other journals.

Research interests

His current interests include disability-related issues; literary and cultural theory; genetics, race, identity; and biocultural issues.