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One of Us

One of Us

Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal

Alice Domurat Dreger

ISBN 9780674018259

Publication date: 10/31/2005

Must children born with socially challenging anatomies have their bodies changed because others cannot be expected to change their minds? One of Us views conjoined twinning and other “abnormalities” from the point of view of people living with such anatomies, and considers these issues within the larger historical context of anatomical politics.

Anatomy matters, Alice Domurat Dreger tells us, because the senses we possess, the muscles we control, and the resources we require to keep our bodies alive limit and guide what we experience in any given context. Her deeply thought-provoking and compassionate work exposes the breadth and depth of that context—the extent of the social frame upon which we construct the “normal.” In doing so, the book calls into question assumptions about anatomy and normality, and transforms our understanding of how we are all intricately and inextricably joined.


  • [Dreger] questions whether difference has to be viewed as an impairment and whether impairment is tragic… Disability arises not from the impairment but from the response to it in those around, and so is socially induced… Dreger makes no claim to know all the answers but, by taking their side so eloquently, she invites us to see conjoined twins as ‘no more broken than the rest of us.’ This book is an eloquent and humane plea to see conjoined twins, and others with impairment and disability, as ‘us’ and not ‘them.’

    —Jonathan Cole, Nature


  • Alice Domurat Dreger is an American historian of medicine and science and an award-winning writer.

Book Details

  • 208 pages
  • 0-9/16 x 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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