On Wednesday, May 15, Sound and Society hosts a presentation by Dr. Michele Friedner (Assistant Professor in the Department of Comparative Human Development at UChicago), Kristen Busch (second year student in the College majoring in economics), and Anjali Murthy (fourth year student in the College majoring in linguistics):

“Unisensing Sound”

 Wednesday, May 15, 2019


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*There will not be pre-circulated materials for this talk.

Refreshments will be provided.

In this presentation, we (Kristen Busch, Anjali Murthy, and Michele Friedner) present preliminary research on a project on “deaf hearers,” or deaf people who hear through and with cochlear implants, in India and the US. We analyze the epistemological underpinnings of Audioverbal Therapy (AVT), an approach employed to “force” deaf children to hear. Previously called the “unisensory approach,” AVT works through compartmentalization of the senses and a privileging of the auditory sense. Children are taught to listen and hear and they are not permitted to utilize other senses. AVT principles largely ignore the fact that deaf children using cochlear implants work through degraded signals– although it is interesting to consider the phenomenological stakes of scientific research on degraded signals. While many deaf children and adults report that they experience fatigue and/or that they exert effort to listen, we do not know whether they would identify or describe their experiences as degraded). Outside of the clinic, AVT principles also structure how parents (mostly mothers) are supposed to engage with their children. While AVT practitioners stress that AVT, unlike speech therapy, occurs through “natural conversation,” we are interested in how AVT creates new narrative structures and engagements for children and parents. We are interested in receiving feedback from sound studies scholars on this nascent research.

The Sound and Society Workshop is committed to making our events fully accessible to persons with disabilities. Please do not hesitate to contact the Sound and Society Workshop coordinators, Amy Skjerseth or Ailsa Lipscombe, with any questions or concerns. For more information, please visit our blog.

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