Professor Garland-Thomson is a founder of Disability Studies, an interdisciplinary approach to literature and culture that examines (among many other things) how the normal is created, and who is excluded from that category. You can read Professor Garland-Thomson's own introduction to the field here, where she writes:
There has emerged what I call the New Disability Studies, exploring disability as a historical system of thought and knowledge that represents some bodies as inferior--as in need of being somehow changed in order to conform to what the cultural imagination considers to be a standard body. To do this, it focuses on the myriad sites where culture elaborates disability.Professor Garland-Thomson will be introduced by José Muñoz, the second Wang Visiting Professor of Contemporary English Literature. The lecture is free and welcomes all who would like to attend.
Disability is everywhere in culture--Oedipus to the human genome--once scholars and teachers know how to look for it. The New Disability Studies ranges across such discourses as history, art, literature, religion, philosophy and rhetoric, engaging the critical conversations of aesthetics, epistemology, cultural studies, ethnic studies, feminism, the history of the body and issues of identity. It frames disability as a narrative about human differences we can chart over time, an interpretation of physiological and mental traits we can query, an exclusionary discourse we can excavate, and a fiction about bodily variation we can reveal.