General Anthropology Division
Oral Presentation Session
This presentation will be drawn from preliminary data gathered during the beginning portion of my dissertation fieldwork. My dissertation research examines the experiences of deaf immigrants in Boston Massachusetts and the surrounding greater Boston area, with a specific focus on the relationship between deaf immigrants and US conceptions and practices of Deafness. In particular, this research asks if American Sign Language (ASL) and the institutions that accept its legitimacy exclude, include, or otherwise shape immigrants' experiences of belonging. This presentation, in particular, will focus on the experiences of deaf immigrants whose first language is not American Sign Language, but is, perhaps, another national sign language and the implications of these language practices for communicative inequalities in healthcare settings. For example, how are language barriers compounded for deaf immigrants when qualified medical interpreters for American Sign Language are scarce and interpreters for other sign languages are even scarcer? This presentation will explore the potential different models of deafness that come into contact in the healthcare setting, and how these models of deafness interact with ideologies about language. This presentation will address the intersection of racializing discourses about immigrants with ableist discourses about deaf people and the consequences for the everyday lives of deaf immigrants.