Friday May 18th: Sharon Seegers “Keeping Deaf Voice in the Center: How Deaf people and Ha Noi Sign Language Interpreters Engage in Advocacy Work”

Disability Studies Study Group is pleased to present:

Keeping Deaf Voice in the Center: How Deaf people and Ha Noi Sign Language Interpreters Engage in Advocacy Work

Sharon Marie Seegers

Ph. D. Student, Department of Comparative Human Development

Friday May 18th 12:00-1:30

Rosenwald 329

“Nothing about us without us” goes the rallying cry of disability movements around the world. This mantra foregrounds that disabled peoples’ voices should be centered in self-advocacy work. Yet what does it take to craft a public deaf voice? For deaf signing people in Viet Nam (and most elsewhere in the world), having both a literal and figurative “voice” to engage in self-advocacy requires the use of sign language interpreters. This use of interpreters is often straightforwardly read as a form of dependency. Yet when interpreters and deaf people orient to the idea that deaf people should be the public face of deaf self-advocacy moments, this creates new complex forms of interdependence between deaf people and interpreters. In this presentation, I examine how deaf activists and sign language interpreters in Hanoi, Vietnam, navigate these complex interdependencies and work together to co-construct a public “deaf voice.” In particular, I focus on ways this interdependent relationship is maintained such as through the valuing of different forms of knowledge and expertise, and the tacit assumption of ethical norms of engagement. Yet I also examine, how this interdependence and co-construction are erased in front of hearing audiences, so that deaf voice can remain in the center.

There is no advanced reading for this meeting. Sharon will be giving a brief presentation of some work in progress and is very much looking forward to feedback and ideas for how to continue pursuing these themes during fieldwork next fall. Refreshments will be provided!

To receive updates about future events, subscribe to the Disability Studies Reading Group listserv here:

All DSSG events are free and open to the public. Unless otherwise noted, events are hosted in Rosewald 329, which is wheelchair accessible. An overall campus map is available here, and one focused on accessible entrances and exits to Rosenwald here. We are committed to making DSSG accessible; if there are accommodations that would make our events more accessible to you, please contact or

Contact Sharon Seegers ( or Matt Borus ( with any questions or concerns.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *