Her Socialist Smile
An experimental documentary essay on the political imagination of iconic humanitarian, author, and advocate for the blind Helen Keller. World famous by the age of 8 for having learned how to read and communicate through the finger alphabet, indelibly dramatised in William Gibson’s play The Miracle Worker, Helen Keller (1880-1968) remained for the course of her 87 years the most revered blind-deaf woman on the planet. Largely omitted or minimised within the voluminous literature her life generated, however, was the fact that Keller had become, by the time she reached her thirties, a committed believer in the principles of Socialism. The product of years of research, Her Socialist Smile resurrects the radical Keller, serving as a rousing reminder that Keller’s undaunted activism for labour rights, pacifism, and women’s suffrage was philosophically inseparable from her battles for the rights of the disabled.