The next Centre for Transnational Studies seminar will be held on Wednesday 30th January from 4-5pm in room 1177 at Avenue Campus (Building 65) in collaboration with the Centre for Medical and Health Humanities. The seminar is entitled ‘”Just Like It Is at Home!”: Being Deaf across the Socialist Bloc.’ All staff and students are welcome!
Here is the abstract for the seminar:
The years following the Second World War and the sovietisation of Eastern Europe saw increased links between the Soviet deaf community and their Eastern European ‘brothers’. On one level, these links were institutional, with the All-Russian Society of the Deaf reaching out to equivalent deaf societies across the Eastern Bloc, culminating in the creation of an international Socialist Union of Deaf Mutes in the tumultuous year of 1968. At the same time, they were informal, familial, and grassroots, as groups of deaf people travelled across the socialist bloc and encountered people and institutions – both deaf and socialist – just like their own. This paper will explore these contacts as part of a concerted attempt to define the ‘socialist deaf person’. In the context of heightened international tensions and the consumerist competition of the Cold War, the socialist deaf community was seen as a success story worth celebrating: a group of people who had overcome the physical obstacle of deafness to become full-blooded, independent workers through the transformative power of socialism. Yet these contacts also revealed tensions, differences and misunderstandings and posited uncomfortable hierarchies between the ‘big brother’ USSR and the ‘little brother’ countries of Eastern Europe. As such, the transnational links of the late Soviet era reveal both commonalities and differences of deaf experience, and suggest that perhaps ‘socialist deafness’ was perhaps not as monolithic as its proponents might like to think.
More information on Dr Shaw can be found on her profile page.