Harry Caton

Department: Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences
Discipline: English

Project Summary

My PhD project - Poster Perfect: Chrononormativity, Charity Culture, and the Crip Child - concerns the history, ideology, and economic implications of the popular figure of the disabled poster child, as portrayed in disability charity advertising. My project starts with this child's origins in the Victorian period; spans its development across the changing discourses of eugenics, advertising, and adolescence in modernity; and moves through to its still-popular usage in the present day.

I am particularly concerned with the theoretical aspects of this figure, hoping to build a critical framework based around the interaction between the perceived physical inadequacies of childhood and disability. I am interested in making a contribution to a topic that has been an as-yet understudied. Drawing upon and combining critical sources ranging from Lee Edelman and Kathryn Bond Stockton's theories of the child to Robert McRuer and Lennard J. Davis' ideas of ablenormativity, I intend to explore the construction and popular representation of the growing disabled child.

Supervisory Team

My supervisory team consists of Professor Laura Salisbury and Professor Jana Funke.

Wider Research Interests

My research primarily centres the medical humanities, exploring contexts both historical and contemporary through a theoretical lens. I have a particular interest in critical theory, working in disability studies, queer theory, time studies, and structuralism.

My historical work has centred around popular cultures of science, disability, and healthcare in the fin-de-si├Ęcle, focusing on eugenics and dysgenics, evolutionary and developmental theories, and the early science of childhood and aging.

In context of more contemporary literary and cultural studies, I take interest in writing the disabled self across contemporary life-writing and memoirs, poetry, and artistic expression in other diverse mediums such as performance art and photography.