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Research at St Andrews

Jessica Yasemin Elizabeth Secmezsoy-Urquhart

Person

Jessica Yasemin Elizabeth Secmezsoy-Urquhart

Email: jyesu@st-andrews.ac.uk

Research overview

My work focuses on the vital role of disabled entertainers and courtiers at the English and Scottish Royal Courts of the Renaissance, specifically those neurodiverse individuals who were court fools or jesters and bodilydiverse people with dwarfism, gigantism and similar who were known as wonders. Disabled people have always existed but how societies have viewed and treated this group has varied dramatically over time and place. During the Renaissance certain circumstances created a positive approach to these groups giving them agency and opportunities. The Early Modern Period would produce a perspective based on ideas of reason being an important human trait and the existence of an abnormal and normal binary. The marginalisation of disabled people caused by such approaches to them is still being overcome today. Through this work, it is hoped that a more complex and inclusive view of human neuro and bodily diversity can be reached thus positively impacting how we view disability today. 

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