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Sight UnseenGender and Race Through Blind Eyes$
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Ellyn Kaschak

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231172905

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231172905.001.0001

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The Eye of the Beholder

The Eye of the Beholder

(p.1) 1 The Eye of the Beholder
Sight Unseen

Ellyn Kaschak

Columbia University Press

This introductory chapter discusses the question of cultural constructions of race, gender, and sexual orientation as defined by the sense of sight. Sight, after all, is embedded deeply within human consciousness, from the language (when you “see” what one means) to even technology, via computer screens, smartphones, and the like, yet even the eye is not without its paradoxes, as even its capacity for sight is limited. It is perhaps within these gaps of vision that one can begin a search for how notions of sex, gender, and race are formed or are informed by what is being seen. The focus of this entire study is thus derived from the experiences of the blind and how they are able to construct their own notions of reality in a world without vision, even as it searches for the “blindness” inherent among the “sighted.”

Keywords:   race, gender, sex, sexual orientation, blind, vision, reality, sense of sight, blindness

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