Friday, June 16, 2006

Nice to be here

Hi, just had the pleasure of meeting Mike Dorn at the Society of Disability Studies meeting and was invited to join this blog. My name is Leila Monaghan and I teach at Indiana University (though will be taking a sabbatical next year in Wyoming and Virginia) and am an anthropologist and historian of Deaf culture.

The SDS conference has been really interesting so far and has included a conversation with Lakshmi Fjord (UC Berkeley) and Elaine Gerber (Montclair) on reconceiving disaster relief and the study of providing relief in disasters, shifting from a model that focusses on some able bodied norm and people conceived of as different from that able bodied norm to one where specific needs like mobility, medical and communication asssistance are factored in for all people. The session I met Mike at was also great. Papers there discussed the tensions between disability and racial categories, including the problems of assuming a normative disabled person, i.e. "white until proven otherwise."

My current project is on the very serious problem of HIV/AIDS in Deaf of the major problems is that few statistics are kept on how many Deaf people have contracted HIV but the little statistical evidence we do have based on public health figures in Maryland indicate Deaf people are two to ten times as likely to be HIV+ as hearing people. This is not only a problem in the United States but internationally as well. In our very recent book from the small British publisher Douglas McLean, my colleague Constanze Schmaling and I collected a number of personal narratives and more scholarly pieces on the problems of HIV/AIDS in Deaf communities in Africa, the United States, Europe, Latin America and Asia. The link to the book can be found at Forest Books; note that it won't be found at

Nice to be here and hope to publish more information about HIV/AIDS and Deaf communities and other topics soon.


Penny L. Richards said...

Welcome Leila! Glad to see some new faces here! I'll look forward to your posts.

Mike Dorn said...

Thanks for the wonderful intro Leila. I will be forwarding this information to my subject librarian so that we can get your new book into our collections. Mike