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Personal profile

Research interests

My work engages the creative power that humans have to be different, as a way to explore how we can be better as a species.

I believe that as we truly undersand a diversity of visions of what and who humanity and human society can be, we will be challenged to rebuild our undestanding of things that we often take for granted: our political and organisational structures, our socities, our communications and languages, even our bodies and minds. 

I believe that as we do this, engaging critically together in that project, we evolve thinkingly as a species. 

I'm committed to thinking evolution!

To pursue this, my research explores groups who are often different from the mainstream - who, becuase of the language that they speak, or the things they believe, or the bodies that they inhabit and so the worlds that they construct - are somehow 'different' from the majority. I tell stories about those groups, about how they see themselves, how they remember their pasts, and imagine their futures. And I tell stories about the relationship between those groups and the mainstream.  

Most of my work has focused on the linguistically different (because physically different, and so sensorially different) community of sign language users. 

Since early 2014, I have been the post-doctoral RA on a Leverhulme Trust-funded project to trace the spaces produced for Deaf people within the 19th century English Church, and by Deaf people within that church structure. The project is entitled "Scripture, Dissent, and Deaf Space".

This work builds on earlier research into nationhood, spaces of knowledge, historical geographies and minority group identity. it also provides me with a way to follow up my PhD work, which charted a history of the production of a native 'Deaf space' in 18th and 19th century Paris and described what happened as that space encountered the taken-for-granted assumptions of the hearing world, and had to explain the reality that the Deaf community there had developed by, essentially, 'translating' Deaf knowledge from its native, autonomous reality, to a largely uncomprehending, and foreign hearing nation. 

I am particularly interested in how these examples of situated knowledges represent spaces that are both 'aspirational' for those who seek to see them realised, and 'other' for those who exoticise them. My work draws on utopian theory, post-colonial theory, and spatialised theories of knowledge and knowledge translation to look at questions of well-being, language, identity and desire.

Since 2005, I have been centrally involved in the growing field of Deaf Geographies. My field is particularly historical geographies, and the role that memory and performances of memory plan in the production of history and heritage.  

My wider background is in languages and linguistics and I have worked in the UK and overseas as an interpreter, translator and language teachers. I continue with translation work, particularly as a critical academic activity, and am particularly interested in the politics of translation and commentary as they relate to the empowerment of minority or oppressed people groups. 


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