Deaf Anthropology

Michele Ilana Friedner, Annelies Maria Jozef Kusters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Deaf anthropology is a field that exists in conversation with but is not reducible to the interdisciplinary field of deaf studies. Deaf anthropology is predicated upon a commitment to understanding deafnesses across time and space while holding on to “deaf” as a category that does something socially, politically, morally, and methodologically. In doing so, deaf anthropology moves beyond compartmentalizing the body, the senses, and disciplinary boundaries. We analyze the close relationship between anthropology writ large and deaf studies: Deaf studies scholars have found analytics and categories from anthropology, such as the concept of culture, to be productive in analyzing deaf peoples’ experiences and the sociocultural meanings of deafness. As we note, however, scholarship on deaf peoples’ experiences is increasingly variegated. This review is arranged into four overlapping sections titled Socialities and Similitudes; Mobilities, Spaces, and Networks; Modalities and the Sensorium; and Technologies and Futures.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-47
Number of pages17
JournalAnnual Review of Anthropology
Early online date21 Apr 2020
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • Deaf
  • deaf
  • mobility
  • modalities
  • sociality
  • space
  • technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cultural Studies
  • Anthropology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)


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