Podcast Episode 26 – Disability, Material Culture, and Public History

Nicole Belolan discusses her work on the material culture of gout in early America, as well as public history, pedagogy, and more! 

Episode Image: Thomas Rowlandson, Comfort in the Gout, Hand-colored etching (London, 1785), 10 3/4 × 14 5/16 in., The Elisha Whittelsey Collection, The Elisha Whittelsey Fund, 1959, 59.533.115, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Black and white etching of a wealthy man with his his leg elevated and crutches at his side. He is being waited on by multiple servants and family members. There is a table and food at right. This satire, which Belolan references in the book chapter she discussed in this episode, is making fun of people with gout, but there is a lot pictured here that tells us about everyday life with disability in the eighteenth century.

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Download pdf transcript here.

Nicole Belolan, PhD, is the Public Historian in Residence at the Mid-Atlantic Regional Center for the Humanities at Rutgers University-Camden. At Rutgers, she directs a continuing education program in historic preservation. As part of her appointment, she is also the Co-Editor of The Public Historian and the Digital Media Editor for the National Council on Public History. Nicole is a historian of the material culture of disability in early America. She regularly lectures and gives workshops on disability history and best practices for museums and historic sites, and she is the Secretary of the Disability History Association. Her most recent publication is “The Material Culture of Gout in Early America,” in Elizabeth Guffey and Bess Williamson, eds., Making Disability Modern: Design Histories (New York: Bloomsbury, 2020), 19-42.