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“Deafness and Sensibility,” Jason Farr, Marquette University
In 1760, an educator named Thomas Braidwood established Britain’s first school for the deaf in Edinburgh. Braidwood’s academy was the culmination of philosophical debates about deafness that had been circulating for over a century. With these contexts in mind, “Deafness and Sensibility” will bring together insights from disability/queer studies, the history of medicine, and sound studies to examine how the deaf domains of gesture, auditory variability, and resonance–a key Enlightenment concept concerning vibration and relationality–helped to shape the literature and culture of British sensibility. My principal objective in this talk is to survey disabled and queer forms of eighteenth-century sociability that still resonate today.