Professor Longmore's Book Disrupts Notions About Charitable Giving, Disabled People

Friday, January 22, 2016
SF STATE NEWS -- During the second half of the 20th century, millions of Americans gathered around their televisions during weekend-long, celebrity-studded variety shows that raised billions of dollars for disability-related charities. But “Telethons: Spectacle, Disability and the Business of Charity,” a posthumously published book by Paul K. Longmore, argues that the cultural phenomenon that many dismissed as kitschy was helpful but also heightened stigma for people living with disabilities. Longmore, a professor of history at SF State for almost two decades, created the Institute on Disability in 1996, which at the time was one of the first of its kind. It was later named to memorialize its founder, who died in 2010. “As Paul illustrates, the telethons raised money largely by presenting disabled children as helpless and pitiful,” Professor Catherine Kudlick, director of the Longmore Institute since 2012, tells SF State News.