Alicia Monique Wright

Grant Type

Dissertation Fieldwork Grant

Institutional Affiliation

California, San Diego, U. of

Grant number

Gr. 10251

Approve Date

October 7, 2021

Project Title

Wright, Alicia (California, San Diego, U. of) "Identity, Interpreting, and Ideology: Negotiations between Black Deaf signers and hearing American Sign Language – English Interpreters in the U.S."

Deaf people of color in the United States have repeatedly called for increased racial and gender diversity among hearing interpreters, most of whom are white women. Locating appropriate interpreters for Black Deaf people can pose specific challenges due to a lack of widespread understanding of how sociocultural factors affect interpreting interactions. Moreover, a failure to find appropriate interpreters can have serious consequences such as harmful professional assumptions, erroneous medical advice, and even wrongful incarceration. To better understand the dynamics of these interactions, this dissertation project examines the sociocultural and linguistic relationships between Black Deaf signers and hearing American Sign Language (ASL) – English interpreters in Rochester, NY and Chicago, IL. In particular, this project explores how the macro issues of race, gender, language variation, translatability, and neutrality, through language ideologies, are (re)produced, challenged, and/or negotiated in the micro instances of interpreting encounters. To investigate this, I will employ a multi-sited ethnographic approach which includes engaged watching and listening, interviews, focus groups, interpreter evaluation tasks, and observations of interpreting encounters. Results from this project will contribute to future scholarship in anthropology, Black studies, Deaf studies, sociolinguistics, and sign language interpreting research.