100 books like Rethinking Normalcy

By Tanya Titchkosky (editor), Rod Michalko (editor),

Here are 100 books that Rethinking Normalcy fans have personally recommended if you like Rethinking Normalcy. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Exalted Subjects: Studies in the Making of Race and Nation in Canada

Valentina Capurri Author Of Not Good Enough for Canada: Canadian Public Discourse Around Issues of Inadmissibility for Potential Immigrants with Diseases And/Or Disabilities

From my list on belonging and exclusion in Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian and a social geographer whose main interest is in examining why some of us are embraced (legally, politically, economically, culturally) by the society we live in while some others are excluded. Probably due to my status as someone who is an immigrant to Canada and also a person with a disability, the topic of belonging and exclusion fascinates me. 

Valentina's book list on belonging and exclusion in Canada

Valentina Capurri Why did Valentina love this book?

This is an exceptionally well-written and meaningful study that has greatly helped me understand how the national subject is conceptualized in Canada. As an immigrant to this country who became a citizen through a challenging and demoralizing process, this book has enabled me to see how some of us are framed as belonging while others are excluded from the Canadian nation. I have also learned how (above and beyond the national mythology surrounding it) multiculturalism has been deployed to boost Canada’s profile as a liberalizing nation while, at the same time, operating as a tool to control ethnic and religious minorities.  

By Sunera Thobani,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Exalted Subjects as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Questions of national identity, indigenous rights, citizenship, and migration have acquired unprecedented relevance in this age of globalization. In Exalted Subjects, noted feminist scholar Sunera Thobani examines the meanings and complexities of these questions in a Canadian context. Based in the theoretical traditions of political economy and cultural / post-colonial studies, this book examines how the national subject has been conceptualized in Canada at particular historical junctures, and how state policies and popular practices have exalted certain subjects over others. Foregrounding the concept of 'race' as a critical relation of power, Thobani examines how processes of racialization contribute to sustaining…


Book cover of Omar Khadr, Oh Canada

Valentina Capurri Author Of Not Good Enough for Canada: Canadian Public Discourse Around Issues of Inadmissibility for Potential Immigrants with Diseases And/Or Disabilities

From my list on belonging and exclusion in Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian and a social geographer whose main interest is in examining why some of us are embraced (legally, politically, economically, culturally) by the society we live in while some others are excluded. Probably due to my status as someone who is an immigrant to Canada and also a person with a disability, the topic of belonging and exclusion fascinates me. 

Valentina's book list on belonging and exclusion in Canada

Valentina Capurri Why did Valentina love this book?

Omar Khadr is a personal friend of mine, the gentlest soul I have met since setting foot on Canadian soil. This collection has been essential to my understanding of Canada’s unwillingness to stand up for one of its own citizens. It highlights how belonging in the nation is not necessarily a right all citizens enjoy, and invites a serious reflection on what citizenship means in this country.  

By Janice Williamson,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Omar Khadr, Oh Canada as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2002 a fifteen-year-old Canadian citizen was captured in Afghanistan for allegedly killing an American soldier. A badly wounded Omar Khadr was transferred to the US Bagram Air Force base and then Guantanamo Bay detention camp. He would remain there without trial until October 2010, when a military commission admitted evidence considered tainted by Canadian courts. A plea bargain and guilty plea initiated his promised return to Canada a year later. Some Canadians see Khadr as a symbol of terrorism in action. For others he is the victim of a jihadist father and Canadian complicity in the unjust excesses, including…


Book cover of Dying from Improvement: Inquests and Inquiries Into Indigenous Deaths in Custody

Valentina Capurri Author Of Not Good Enough for Canada: Canadian Public Discourse Around Issues of Inadmissibility for Potential Immigrants with Diseases And/Or Disabilities

From my list on belonging and exclusion in Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian and a social geographer whose main interest is in examining why some of us are embraced (legally, politically, economically, culturally) by the society we live in while some others are excluded. Probably due to my status as someone who is an immigrant to Canada and also a person with a disability, the topic of belonging and exclusion fascinates me. 

Valentina's book list on belonging and exclusion in Canada

Valentina Capurri Why did Valentina love this book?

I was not born in Canada and I only arrived here in my early twenties without being aware of the colonial past or present of my new home. This study has helped me understand that portion of Canadian history and its present repercussions. Equally important, it has highlighted how Indigenous persons have and continue to be dehumanized, excluded and ‘othered’ across the country. 

By Sherene Razack,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dying from Improvement as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

No matter where in Canada they occur, inquiries and inquests into untimely Indigenous deaths in state custody often tell the same story. Repeating details of fatty livers, mental illness, alcoholic belligerence, and a mysterious incapacity to cope with modern life, the legal proceedings declare that there are no villains here, only inevitable casualties of Indigenous life. But what about a sixty-seven-year-old man who dies in a hospital in police custody with a large, visible, purple boot print on his chest? Or a barely conscious, alcoholic older man, dropped off by police in a dark alley on a cold Vancouver night?…


Book cover of Aqueduct: Colonialism, Resources, and the Histories We Remember

Valentina Capurri Author Of Not Good Enough for Canada: Canadian Public Discourse Around Issues of Inadmissibility for Potential Immigrants with Diseases And/Or Disabilities

From my list on belonging and exclusion in Canada.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a historian and a social geographer whose main interest is in examining why some of us are embraced (legally, politically, economically, culturally) by the society we live in while some others are excluded. Probably due to my status as someone who is an immigrant to Canada and also a person with a disability, the topic of belonging and exclusion fascinates me. 

Valentina's book list on belonging and exclusion in Canada

Valentina Capurri Why did Valentina love this book?

I really love this study because it provides a crystal-clear example of how colonialism and dispossession have worked in Canada from the legal, cultural, political, and social angles. It also delves into the topic of the histories we, as a country, choose to remember and those we choose to forget, as well as the issue of who is forgotten in the process. 

By Adele Perry,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Aqueduct as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

1919 is often recalled as the year of the Winnipeg General Strike, but it was also the year that water from Shoal Lake first flowed in Winnipeg taps. For the Anishinaabe community of Shoal Lake 40 First Nation, construction of the aqueduct led to a chain of difficult circumstances that culminated in their isolation on a man-made island where, for almost two decades, they have lacked access to clean drinking water.

In Aqueduct: Colonialism, Resources and the History We Remember, Adele Perry analyzes the development of Winnipeg's municipal water supply as an example of the history of settler colonialism. Drawing…


Book cover of Signs of Disability

Jay Timothy Dolmage Author Of Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education

From my list on fighting ableism and building a better future.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the Disability Rights movement in Canada, fighting for my brother’s right to go to school, to receive medical care, and to be part of our community. For decades, disabled people were institutionalized away from their families and communities, warehoused instead of schooled. My uncle Robert died of neglect in one of these terrible places as a child. My family has been involved in supporting a class action lawsuit against the Ontario government for its responsibility. Since then, the right to education has been better established, and the institutions were closed. But I continue to fight for inclusion and against ableism in education, healthcare, and across our culture.

Jay's book list on fighting ableism and building a better future

Jay Timothy Dolmage Why did Jay love this book?

I was lucky to get the opportunity to read an advance copy of Dr. Kerschbaum's latest monograph, Signs of Disability (in the press and available in both print and open access in Fall 2022). The book focuses on the signs of disability we can recognize everywhere around us: yellow diamond-shaped “deaf person in area” road signs, that wheelchair parking icon, the telltale shapes of hearing aids, or white-tipped canes sweeping across footpaths. But even though the signs are ubiquitous, Kerschbaum argues that disability may still not be perceived as anything but a token or an apparition. This engaging, accessible book builds on Kerschbaum’s already-award-winning scholarship on difference and discourse, constructing new research methods and approaches, but also building community on these pages. Drawing on a set of thirty-three research interviews, as well as written narratives by disabled people, this book builds a new system of signs and significance for disability.…

By Stephanie L. Kerschbaum,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Signs of Disability as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

How can we learn to notice the signs of disability?
We see indications of disability everywhere: yellow diamond-shaped "deaf person in area" road signs, the telltale shapes of hearing aids, or white-tipped canes sweeping across footpaths. But even though the signs are ubiquitous, Stephanie L. Kerschbaum argues that disability may still not be perceived due to a process she terms "dis-attention."
To tell better stories of disability, this multidisciplinary work turns to rhetoric, communications, sociology, and phenomenology to understand the processes by which the material world becomes sensory input that then passes through perceptual apparatuses to materialize phenomena-including disability. By…


Book cover of The Disability Studies Reader

Karen Havelin Author Of Please Read This Leaflet Carefully: Keep This Leaflet. You May Need to Read It Again.

From my list on to help you keep on living with chronic illness.

Why am I passionate about this?

Like my main character, I’m a Norwegian writer with ties to the US, who grew up with various chronic illnesses. I discovered the reason for much of my trouble when I was diagnosed with endometriosis. Isolated and in pain, I have always turned to books. I craved seeing my life reflected. Since Please Read This Leaflet Carefully came out, I’ve heard from many readers. I hope that it can help people who haven’t seen themselves in art before. This list addresses the needs of a life with chronic illness and pain: guidance, darkness, humor, comfort, and poetry. I hope these books will help you as much as they did me. 

Karen's book list on to help you keep on living with chronic illness

Karen Havelin Why did Karen love this book?

I was absolutely stunned when I read "Unspeakable Conversations" by Harriet McBryde Johnson, one of the many brilliant pieces included in this reader. My edition is from 2010, but new and updated editions have come out since. It explores questions of interdependency and independence, gender, the body, sexuality, biases in science and medicine, and physical disabilities, and investigates issues around pain, mental disability, and invisible disabilities.

Becoming familiar with some disability theories has been invaluable to me. My capacity to read myself as disabled has grown and still fluctuates. To know that sharp minds have been working on this and that it isn’t only a private issue but a political and theoretical one, one that can be marked by joy and humor as well as grief, struggle, and hardship, is immensely helpful. 

By Lennard J. Davis,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Disability Studies Reader as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The fifth edition of The Disability Studies Reader addresses the post-identity theoretical landscape by emphasizing questions of interdependency and independence, the human-animal relationship, and issues around the construction or materiality of gender, the body, and sexuality. Selections explore the underlying biases of medical and scientific experiments and explode the binary of the sound and the diseased mind. The collection addresses physical disabilities, but as always investigates issues around pain, mental disability, and invisible disabilities as well. Featuring a new generation of scholars who are dealing with the most current issues, the fifth edition continues the Reader's tradition of remaining timely,…


Book cover of The Future Is Disabled: Prophecies, Love Notes and Mourning Songs

Jay Timothy Dolmage Author Of Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education

From my list on fighting ableism and building a better future.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the Disability Rights movement in Canada, fighting for my brother’s right to go to school, to receive medical care, and to be part of our community. For decades, disabled people were institutionalized away from their families and communities, warehoused instead of schooled. My uncle Robert died of neglect in one of these terrible places as a child. My family has been involved in supporting a class action lawsuit against the Ontario government for its responsibility. Since then, the right to education has been better established, and the institutions were closed. But I continue to fight for inclusion and against ableism in education, healthcare, and across our culture.

Jay's book list on fighting ableism and building a better future

Jay Timothy Dolmage Why did Jay love this book?

We are incredibly lucky to have so much important work in disability studies and disability justice coming out in the Fall of 2022. The Future Is Disabled is Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s much-anticipated follow-up to Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice. Written during lockdown, this is an urgent and beautiful book, shifting from love letters to songs, recipes for survival, and provocative questions. For instance and central to this work, the book asks: What if, in the near future, the majority of people will be disabled—and what if that's not a bad thing? The truth is that disabled people have had to weather an unprecedented assault on their value and had to assume huge risks over the past few years, as Nishida also shows. As with Kerschbaum, Nishida, and Schalk’s books, Piepzna-Samarasinha converses with disabled people to carefully document the many ways they have kept and are keeping each other—and the…

By Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Future Is Disabled as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In The Future Is Disabled, Leah Laksmi Piepzna-Samarasinha asks some provocative questions: What if, in the near future, the majority of people will be disabled―and what if that’s not a bad thing? And what if disability justice and disabled wisdom are crucial to creating a future in which it’s possible to survive fascism, climate change, and pandemics and to bring about liberation

Building on the work of her game changing book Care Work: Dreaming Disability Justice, Piepzna-Samarasinha writes about disability justice at the end of the world, documenting the many ways disabled people kept and are keeping each other―and the…


Book cover of Year of the Tiger: An Activist's Life

Jay Timothy Dolmage Author Of Academic Ableism: Disability and Higher Education

From my list on fighting ableism and building a better future.

Why am I passionate about this?

I grew up in the Disability Rights movement in Canada, fighting for my brother’s right to go to school, to receive medical care, and to be part of our community. For decades, disabled people were institutionalized away from their families and communities, warehoused instead of schooled. My uncle Robert died of neglect in one of these terrible places as a child. My family has been involved in supporting a class action lawsuit against the Ontario government for its responsibility. Since then, the right to education has been better established, and the institutions were closed. But I continue to fight for inclusion and against ableism in education, healthcare, and across our culture.

Jay's book list on fighting ableism and building a better future

Jay Timothy Dolmage Why did Jay love this book?

This recently-released memoir is by Alice Wong, who directs the important Disability Visibility Project, which you should also check out! This book blends a variety of approaches and media to create a series of snapshots and provocations from Alice Wong’s life, mainly narrated through the relationships of care and community she has built. Through this memoir, you’ll get a history of disability activism over the past two decades, but you will also meet an incredibly funny, creative, and dedicated activist.

By Alice Wong,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Year of the Tiger as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

NATIONAL BESTSELLER • ONE OF USA TODAY'S MUST-READ BOOKS • This groundbreaking memoir offers a glimpse into an activist's journey to finding and cultivating community and the continued fight for disability justice, from the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project

“Alice Wong provides deep truths in this fun and deceptively easy read about her survival in this hectic and ableist society.” —Selma Blair, bestselling author of Mean Baby

In Chinese culture, the tiger is deeply revered for its confidence, passion, ambition, and ferocity. That same fighting spirit resides in Alice Wong.
 
Drawing on a collection of original essays,…


Book cover of The Cambridge Companion to Human Rights and Literature

Christopher Krentz Author Of Elusive Kinship: Disability and Human Rights in Postcolonial Literature

From my list on disability human rights in the Global South.

Why am I passionate about this?

I teach and write about literature and disability at the University of Virginia. I’m also late deafened and have worked in the field of disability studies for over twenty years. In 2002, a scholar pointed out that literature from the former British colonies includes a lot of disabled characters. In 2006, the United Nations adopted the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. I began to wonder if the two are related. In Elusive Kinship, I wound up arguing that they are. Not much work has been done on this. I tried to emphasize that I’m just advancing a critical conversation, not giving the final word at all.

Christopher's book list on disability human rights in the Global South

Christopher Krentz Why did Christopher love this book?

This collection of academic essays gives an incisive overview of the newly emergent field of literature and human rights, which I build upon in my book. Contributors include pioneering scholars like James Dawes, Elizabeth Swanson, and Alexandra S. Moore. They have chapters exploring the relationship between literature and rights, the role of emotions in the process, and more. The collection does not consider disability much, but is a good introduction for someone who wants to learn more about an exciting academic field.

By Crystal Parikh (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Cambridge Companion to Human Rights and Literature as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Literature has been essential to shaping the notions of human personhood, good life, moral responsibility, and forms of freedom that have been central to human rights law, discourse, and politics. The literary study of human rights has also recently generated innovative and timely perspectives on the history, meaning, and scope of human rights. The Cambridge Companion to Human Rights and Literature introduces this new and exciting field of study in the humanities. It explores the historical and institutional contexts, theoretical concepts, genres, and methods that literature and human rights share. Equally accessible to beginners in the field and more advanced…


Book cover of Cumulative Social Inquiry: Transforming Novelty into Innovation

Rick Szostak Author Of Integrating the Human Sciences: Enhancing Progress and Coherence across the Social Sciences and Humanities

From my list on reforming the social sciences and humanities.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am proud to be a human (social) scientist but think that we could collectively achieve a much more successful human science enterprise. And I believe that a better human science would translate into better public policy. Most human scientists focus on their own research, paying little attention to how the broader enterprise functions. I have written many works of a methodological nature over the years. I am pleased to point here to a handful of works with sound advice for enhancing the human science enterprise.

Rick's book list on reforming the social sciences and humanities

Rick Szostak Why did Rick love this book?

This book is a bit older than the others I recommend. Yet it provides a very clear critique of how the emphasis on novelty in social science – every publication is supposed to say something new – actually detracts from the pursuit of increased understanding.

Smith urges cumulative research programs that alternate between theory and empirics. He notes that natural scientists define novelty differently than social scientists and are thus able to publish in a way that advances cumulative research. He makes important recommendations for theorizing about small systems of phenomena (but appreciating connections to other phenomena) and employing mixed methods in investigating such theories.

By Robert B. Smith,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Cumulative Social Inquiry as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Many social researchers today put a premium on novel perspectives, original topics of study, and new approaches. The importance of incrementally advancing established lines of theorizing and research is often overlooked. Cumulative Social Inquiry offers researchers strategies for building meaningful connections among lines of research that would otherwise remain disparate, thus facilitating systematic theory building and the generation of policy-oriented empirical evidence. Robert B. Smith shows how to design theoretically informed studies that illuminate the social structures, processes, and mechanisms that produce observable outcomes. Numerous examples of classic and contemporary mixed-methods studies illustrate the ways in which qualitative and quantitative…


5 book lists we think you will like!

Interested in Canada, disability, and social science?

10,000+ authors have recommended their favorite books and what they love about them. Browse their picks for the best books about Canada, disability, and social science.

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