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
“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!
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