On-Going Annotated Bibliography

So these are some of the most important sources that have allowed me to do the kind of critical work with POTO that I try to do here. I wanted to make them, or at least the info you’ll need in order to look them up, available here for other Phans, as I’ve found them invaluable in unpacking the treasure-chest that is Phantom! Most come from the relatively new field of Critical Disability Studies, although some also come from Queer theory, Feminist thought and gender studies. Don’t worry, though! Most are quite friendly to readers not from a hard-core academic background, as they’re intended to be widely accessible in order to break down barriers between the academic world and that of grass-roots organizing. And of course, keep watching this space, as more works will be added as I come across them! Also, other kinds of sources and resources can be found over on my “links” page.

Note, the info for the sources listed here is given in more or less APA (American Psychological Association) citation style, because, so far at least, it’s the format I find the most user-friendly.


Clare, Eli (2016). Brilliant Imperfection: Grappling With Cure. Duke University Press.


This book is amazing!  As superb as Exile and Pride (see below), and perhaps even finer although that’s saying a lot!  In it, Clare blends life-writing (his own experiences), history, informed imaginative extrapolation, and critical theory to explore the ideology of cure – the conviction that some body-minds are broken and need to be fixed.  Clare explores the complexities of cure – how it saves lives, but also prioritizes certain lives over others, brings healing, but simultaneously is used to justify eugenic violence.  And as usual, he does this with unparalleled skill, nuance and compassion, allowing his own positions to be unsettled and refusing quick, easy answers.


Clare, Eli. (2015) Exile and Pride: Disability, Queerness and Liberation. Duke University Press.


There simply aren’t enough words for awesome in the English language to describe this book, without which I might never have begun my work as PhantomFemme! This is actually the third edition of a work originally published in the late 1990s. And it was 20 years ahead of its time then, and, for my money, still is now! In it, Clare weaves together his own life history as a Trans man with a rich understanding of Disability as a social process, not merely a biological fact, and grounds it in a deep sense of ecology while he’s at it. Seriously, go by your fastest modality and read this book!


Davis, Lennard J. “Bodies of Difference: Politics, Disability, and Representation”. In Snyder, Sharon L, Brenda Jo Brueggeman and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson eds. (2002) Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities. Modern Language Association of America, New York. pp 100-106


In this article, Deaf scholar Lennard Davis traces the concept of “normal” as it emerged in the 19th century. He examines how it came to the fore as part of the development of the capitalist nation-state, functioning as a key source of legitimacy for both the notion of the citizen and that of the interchangeable worker.


Duggan, Lisa and Nan D. Hunter (2006) Sex Wars: Sexual Dissent and Political Culture. Routledge.


This fabulous book traces the history of the so-called “sex wars” – a rather bitter period of strife within the Feminist movement that took place in the 1980s and early 1990s over the political implications of sexual activities. It lays out the various lines of that conflict and what was at stake, and explores some of the victories and defeats on all sides.


Erevelles, Nirmala. (2011) Disability and Difference in Global Context: Towards a Transformative Body Politic. Palgrave MacMillan.


In this excellent work, Erevelles explores the material conditions of Disability – the physical conditions that create it, such as war, trans-Atlantic slavery, segregation, environmental racism, exploitative working conditions and poverty, and the ways in which Disability therefore intersects with neo/colonialism and capitalism. She challenges us to imagine Disability beyond its conventional representation as/by the congenitally disabled, but otherwise perfectly “healthy”, buff white guy in a wheelchair.


Erickson, Loree. (2007) “Revealing Femmegimp: A Sex-Positive Reflection On Sites of Shame as Sites of Resistance For People With Disabilities”. Atlantis: A Journal of Women’s Studies 32:1.


Erickson is another thinker and activist without whom what I do as PhantomFemme would not have become possible! In this wonderful article, she explores shame, not as a private emotion, but as a political process by which stigma and codes of “normalcy” are internalized. And she also explores how the very sites where this process of shame is imposed can be turned into sites of resistance through performance.


Erickson, Loree dir. Want.


This awesome film by Loree blends porn with Disability activism. Juxtaposing the Disabled person as a full, sexually active human-being against the barriers she faces to her full participation in society, Want challenges you to think about access in whole new ways. And it includes a descriptive track for the Blind too!


Garland-Thomson, Rosemarie. (1997) Extraordinary Bodies: Figuring Physical Disability In American Culture and Literature. Columbia University Press.


This book is one of the germinal works in the field of Critical Disability Studies. In it, Garland-Thomson explores the emergence of the idea of the Disabled/Deformed body in North American culture, and how that idea intersects with developing conceptions of race and gender. She does this by examining a number of key works of literature, as well as cultural practices such as the “freak show”.


Jeffreys, Mark. “The Visible Cripple (Scars and Other Disfiguring Displays Included)”. in Snyder, Sharon L, Brenda Jo Brueggeman and Rosemarie Garland-Thomson eds. (2002) Disability Studies: Enabling the Humanities. Modern Language Association of America, New York. pp 31-39.


In this piece, Jeffreys explores the body as a site of more than just representation. He explores how various practices do, indeed, attempt to “normalize” the Disabled/Deformed body, but can never entirely succeed because those bodies have their own ways of asserting themselves. He argues that the physical realities of bodies must be taken into account in our Critical Disability work, not just the ways in which bodies are visually and rhetorically represented.


Kafer, Alison. (2013) Feminist, Queer, Crip. Indiana University Press.


In this book, Kafer explores the politics of “the future”. She considers what futures we consider desirable and why, and which we consider undesirable. She asks who is – which kinds of bodies are – included in the futures we consider desirable and who is excluded from our imagined positive futures, both as experienced individually and at the level of society more broadly. She asks why, for example, the future we want is nearly always represented by the image (for example in political messaging) of a white, “healthy”, able-bodied, usually male child, but rarely ever by that of a Black, Brown, female or Disabled child.


Kendall-Tackett, Kathleen (2018). Phantom of the Opera: A Social History of the World’s Most Popular Musical. Praeclarus Press LLC.


This awesome and highly entertaining book traces the history and development of Phantom as a cultural phenomenon, beginning with the original stage-musical, and proceeding to discuss the 2004 film and Love Never Dies (Lloyd Webber’s much vaunted sequel).  The author also explores how the emergence of the internet and social media have changed the relationship between producers and audiences by tracing the impact of grass-roots Phan campaigns on the development of Love Never Dies.  My one qualm with the book, however, is that, by social history of Phantom as a cultural phenomenon, she mainly means the history of the production process, although she does discuss divergences in reception between critics and audiences as well.  However, she does not discuss the phenomenon of the Phandom until the very last chapter, and she leaves it at an observation of its similarity to that of Trekies or the Star Wars fandom.  She does not, alas, (and this would have been extremely interesting to have read given her background in psychology) explore the particularities of the large and loyal cult following that has grown up around Phantom over the past 30+ years.  I do appreciate, though, her refusal to pathologize the Phandom!


Lorde, Audre and Cheryl Clark. (1984) Sister Outsider. TenSpeed Press.


This is another work for which there just aren’t enough synonyms for awesome! It’s basically Lorde’s and Clark’s extended letter to the Feminist movement in which they lovingly, but pissedly, call it out for its refusal at the time to recognize the struggles of Black/Of Colour/Queer women as being integral to Feminism. Their essays “The Uses of Anger”, “Poetry Is Not a Luxury” and “Uses of the Erotic” were especially powerful for me in the development of my work with POTO.


McRuer, Robert and Anna Mollow , eds. (2012) Sex and Disability. pp. Duke University Press.


This excellent and powerful anthology explores various ways – legal, educational, rhetorical (literary and visual), etc, – in which the Disabled body is set up as out of bounds sexually and reproductively, and the ways in which this framing both reinforces and is reinforced by systems of racism, classism, hetero/sexism and ideas of nationhood. The authors in this work also, however, explore ways in which this framing is being and can be resisted, especially using the arts. (Note: I disagree, however, with some of what is argued in the essay on HIV and disclosure.)


Mingus, Mia. Leaving Evidence.


This blog is where I read the awesome “Moving Toward the Ugly” piece that I link to in my intro post. But she has lots of other equally amazing pieces there as well! And here, too, she shows powerfully how ableism is integrally and intimately tied in with racism, hetero/sexism, patriarchy, militarism, and neo/colonial capitalism.


Perry, George. (1987) The Complete Phantom of the Opera . London: Pavilion Books Limited.


This wonderful work traces the development of the story of the Phantom of the Opera from the building that inspired it – the Palais Garnier aka the Paris Opera, through various film versions, to its ultimate triumph in the Lloyd Webber stage musical. It contains lots of great pictures for those who can see them, and even the full original libretto! (Note: I understand there’s been a new version done for the 25th anniversary, but I gather from Phans that it’s not as good. Apparently, it doesn’t contain much new information except on the Gerik and Love Never Dies {Andrew Lloyd Webber’s POTO sequel}).


Siebers, Tobin. (2008) Disability Theory. University of Michigan Press.


Like Jeffreys’ article, this work seeks to put forward an understanding of Disability that takes into account both the physiological and the sociopolitical. He explores Disability as being relational between the body and its environment, but not just physical environment – social, political, economic and ecological environments as well. His chapters on sex and Disability and on Disability and masquerade were particularly interesting from a Phanship perspective!

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