Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

They have to see us: An ethnography of deaf people in Tanzania
by Lee, Jessica C., Ph.D., University of Colorado at Boulder, 2012, 286; 3508013
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation explores the relationship between Tanzanian deaf people and mainstream society, as well as dynamics within deaf communities. I argue that deaf people who do participate in NGOs and other organizations that provide support to deaf people, do so strategically. In order to access services and improve their own lives and the lives of their families, deaf people in Tanzania move comfortably and fluidly between identity groups that are labeled as disabled or only as deaf. Through intentional use of the interventions provided by various organizations, deaf people are able to carve out deaf spaces that act as places for transmission of information, safe areas to learn and use sign language, and sites of network and community development among other deaf people. Through these deaf spaces and networks—formed around the safe and open use of sign language—deaf participants in these communities are better able to resist the imbalanced systems and find ways to survive, and in some cases thrive, in the context of structural, cultural, and economic oppression. Finally, I lay out quantitative and qualitative data that show that deaf people who participate in a signing community have better access to support networks, economic opportunities, and increased participation in public life.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McCabe, J. Terrence
Commitee: Burch, Susan, McGilvray, Dennis, Schick, Brenda, Shankman, Paul
School: University of Colorado at Boulder
Department: Anthropology
School Location: United States -- Colorado
Source: DAI-A 73/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Sub Saharan Africa Studies
Keywords: Community identity, Deaf, Nongovernmental organizations, Sign language, Tanzania
Publication Number: 3508013
ISBN: 978-1-267-33554-8
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