Grant TypeDissertation Fieldwork Grant
Institutional AffiliationChicago, U. of
Grant numberGr. 9627
Approve DateApril 13, 2018
Project TitleMarie, Aron S., U. of Chicago, Chicago, IL - To aid research on 'Two Subjects, One Voice?; The Everyday Ethics of Voice in Sign Language Interpreting in Ha Noi, Vietnam,' supervised by Dr. Michele Friedner
Preliminary abstract: One of the core tenants of disability and Deaf movements internationally has been the right for disabled people to engage in self-advocacy. The mantra ‘Nothing about us without us’ foregrounds that non-disabled people should avoid paternalistic attempts to do things for disabled people. Yet for Deaf signing people in Việt 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. Thus, the very recognition, and performance of Deaf people as agentive selves to a hearing audience, can at times rest in the voice of an interpreter. As Deaf political organizing and interpreting are emerging simultaneously as fields in which actors engage and position themselves in relation to each other and the state, the question of how interpreters use their physical voices to ‘speak for’ Deaf people and for themselves has become a source of tension, and the subject of ethical practice. Drawing from the framework of everyday ethics, and the anthropology of the voice, this project examines how Deaf people and interpreters in Việt Nam debate, imagine, create, and inhabit new ethical norms around the complex process of voicing. Building off of and complicating performative theories of ethics, this project examines co-produced speech-acts and the situations in which they occur to ask how can two subjectivities (the Deaf person’s and the interpreter’s) emerge through one material voice? What semiotic labor goes into making two subjects emerge simultaneously, and how are ethics of dual subjectivity negotiated?