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Co-creating Deaf Anthropology: cultural orientation of deaf youth in the Netherlands
(Unversity of Amsterdam)
Beyond hearing. Cultures Overlooked (University of Amsterdam)
Paper short abstract:
In a mixed deaf and hearing team we co-create ethnographic knowledge about deaf people by deaf people, and try to expand both authorship, and academic training and socialisation of deaf students. The presentation focuses on (visual) data from a project about cultural orientation of deaf youth.
Paper long abstract:
The history of Deaf people in Europe is characterised by their suppression by the hearing world, dramatically exemplified in the prohibition of signed languages in deaf education until far into the 20th century. Despite the rise of a Deaf emancipation movement in recent decades, demanding recognition as a linguistic and cultural minority, deaf people's social position is only slowly changing. Sign Language of the Netherlands for example is still not officially recognised by the Dutch government. Such policies and attitudes result in continuing stigmatisation of deaf people and have major implications for accessibility of higher education. Only recently have the first deaf social science students graduated from Dutch universities.
Qualitative research in the social sciences - traditionally primarily based on spoken and written language - has been a major hurdle for native signers. Not only has this resulted in deaf people's relative absence as scholars in anthropology, but also in the meagre representation of deaf people's lives in ethnographic work.
In our projects we work and publish as a mixed deaf and hearing team. Goals are the co-creation of ethnographic knowledge about deaf people by deaf people, expanding both authorship, and the academic training and socialisation of deaf students. We develop new methods (mostly visual), explore new forms of interaction with informants (e.g. theatre performance) and language interpretation. Our presentation will discuss some implications of our communal effort, focused on an empirical research project on the cultural orientation of deaf and hard of hearing youth in the Netherlands.
Collaborative Futures in Practice: Methods and pedagogies for imagining and doing anthropology together [PechaKucha]