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Michele Friedner, PhD

Michele Friedner, PhD
Photo Credit: Jeanne Neville

Michele Friedner, PhD

Assistant Professor
Health and Rehabilitation Sciences
Anthropology, Disability Studies

Email: michele.friedner@stonybrook.edu
Office: Health Sciences Center Lvl 2, Room 466

Curriculum vitae
Research interests: deafness and disability, India, development, the relationship between value and stigma, disharmonious socialities and social practices, expertise


 

Biography

Michele Friedner is a medical anthropologist who researches deaf and disabled peoples’ social, moral, and economic experiences in urban areas of India. She is interested in how political economic changes in India create new opportunities and constraints for disabled people in the arenas of employment, education, politics, religion, and everyday life. She also researches how international and domestic development initiatives both help and hinder disabled people in India and elsewhere in the world. For example, how do international treaties such as the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) impact disabled peoples’ everyday lives? From this and other similar questions, Dr. Friedner analyzes how questions of disability and development might pose a challenge to current research in critical development theory.
 
Most broadly, Dr. Friedner explores how disabled people create inhabitable presents and futures as they navigate complex social, political, and economic structures that seemingly privilege able bodies. At the same time, she analyzes how disability actually enables new forms of value in late modernity. How are stigma and value related? What new forms of social, moral, economic, and political value do disabled people possess? As an anthropologist invested in ethnography, her research is very much influenced by the disciplines of Human Geography, South Asian Studies, and Disability Studies.
 
Currently, Dr. Friedner is engaged in two new research projects. The first looks at the circulation of representations of disability in certain Indian public spheres and how this circulation creates new ways of imagining and envisioning national unity in India; disability functions as a form of "feel good" diversity. The second looks at the multiple economies involved in becoming a sign language interpreter in the United States.
 
Dr. Friedner has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the University of California's Human Rights Center, and the American Institute of Indian Studies for her research.

 


Educational Background

  • BA Religious Studies, Brown University, 2000
  • MA Anthropology, Univesity of California, Berkeley, 2006
  • PhD Medical Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley-University of California, San Francisco, 2011
  • Postdoctoral Fellow, Anthropology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2014

Professional Associations

  • Member, American Anthropological Association
  • Member, Society for Disability Studies 

Funded Grant Activity

2015 Society for Medical Anthropology Disability Research Interest Group Travel Award
 
2015 SUNY Arts and Humanities Network of Excellence Grant (with colleagues at Stony Brook and SUNY-Buffalo in Cultural Analysis and Theory, History, English,Philosophy, and Disability Studies)

 


 

Selected Publications

Books

(2015) Valuing Deaf Worlds in India (Rutgers University Press).

(In Press) It’s a small world: International Deaf Spaces and Encounters. (edited with Annelies Kusters) (Gallaudet University Press).

Articles in Refereed Journals

(submitted) How the Disabled Body Unites the Body of the Nation: Disability as “feel good” diversity in urban India. Social Text

(forthcoming) Understanding Sign Language Bibles Through Affective Audits in South India. Ethnos. DOI: 10.1080/00141844.2015.1031264

(2016) Not-Understanding and Understanding: What do Epistemologies and Ontologies Do in Deaf Worlds? Sign Language Studies. 16(2):184-203.

(2015) New disability mobilities and accessibilities in urban India. (with Jamie Osborne). City & Society. 27(1):9-29.

(2015) Deaf Bodies and Corporate Bodies: New Regimes of Value in Bangalore’s Business Process Outsourcing Sector. Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute. 21(2):313- 329. 

(2015) On “diversity” and “inclusion”: Exploring paradigms for achieving Sign Language Peoples’ rights. With Annelies Kusters, Maartje De Meulder, and Steve Emery. Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity Working Paper. (Translated into German by Das Zeichen).

(2015) Deaf Uplines and Downlines: Multi-level Marketing, Fractures, and the Coerciveness of Sociality in urban India. Contributions to Indian Sociology. 44(1-2):103-128

(2014) Deaf Capital: An exploration of the relationship between stigma and value in deaf multi-level marketing participation in urban India. Medical Anthropology Quarterly. 28(4):202-218.

(2014) On the limits and possibilities of “DEAF DEAF SAME:” Ethnographic Perspectives from Adamarobe (Ghana) and Bangalore and Delhi (India). With Annelies Kusters. Disability Studies Quarterly. 34(3).

(2014) The Church of Deaf Sociality: Deaf Church-Going Practices and “Sign Bread and Butter” in Bangalore, India. Anthropology and Education Quarterly. 45:39-53.

(2013) Producing “Workers with Disabilities”: Deaf Workers and Added Value in India’s Coffee Shops. Anthropology of Work Review. 34(1): 39-50.

(2013) Audit Bodies: Embodied Participation, Disability Universalism, and Accessibility in India. With Jamie Osborne. Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography. 45(1): 43-60.

(2012) Sound Studies Meets Deaf Studies. (with Stefan Helmreich). The Senses & Society. 7(1): 72-86. (To be reprinted in Sounding the Limits of Life: Essays in the Anthropology of Biology and Beyond by Stefan Helmreich).

(2010) Bio-Power, Biosociality, and Community Formation: How Bio-Power is Constitutive of the Deaf Community. Sign Language Studies. 10(3): 336-347.

(2008) Deafness and the Black Box of Discourse Among Deaf Women in India. Indian Journal of Gender Studies. 15(2): 365–385.

Chapters in Edited Books

(forthcoming) Transnationalism. In Gertz, Genie and Boudreault, Patrick, eds. Encyclopedia of Deaf Studies and Deaf culture. With Annelies Kusters and Mara Green. Sage Publications.

(forthcoming) Deaf Communities in South Asia. In Gertz, Genie and Boudreault, Patrick, eds. Encyclopedia of Deaf Studies and Deaf culture. With Annelies Kusters and Mara Green. Sage Publications.

(forthcoming) International Development Initiatives for Deaf People. In Gertz, Genie and Boudreault, Patrick, eds. Encyclopedia of Deaf Studies and Deaf culture. With Arlinda Boland and Annelies Kusters. Sage Publications.

(2015) Occupying Seats, Occupying Space, Occupying Time: Deaf Young Adults in Vocational Training Centers in Bangalore, India. In Block, Pam et al., eds. Occupying Disability: Decolonizing Identity, Community and Justice. New York: Springer Publishers.

(2013) Identity Formation and Transnational Discourses: Thinking Beyond Identity Politics. In Addlakha, Renu, ed. Disability Studies in India: Global Discourses, Lived Realities. New Delhi: Routledge India. 241-262. FRIEDNER CV 3

(2010) Focus on Which (Deaf) Space?: Identity and Belonging among Deaf Women in New Delhi, India. In Burch, Susan and Kafer, Alison, eds. New Intersections in Disability Studies and Deaf Studies. Washington: Gallaudet University Press. 48-66.

Book Reviews and Commentaries

(forthcoming) Review of Disability, Gender, and the Trajectories of Power edited by Asha Hans. Solicited by Contributions to Indian Sociology.

(2014) Reflections on the debates around the 2014 RPWD Bill: The role of deaf people. Café Dissensus.

(2013) (Dis)harmonious Socialities: Deaf multi-level marketing participation in India. Somatosphere: Medicine, Psychiatry and Anthropology.

(2013) From Disability Stigma to Disability Value: Notes on research in urban India. Somatosphere: Medicine, Psychiatry, and Anthropology.

(2013) A review of Embodied Marginalities: Disability, Citizenship, and Space in Highland Ecuador by Nicholas Rattray. Social Science Dissertation Reviews.

(2013) Design Meets Disability. Reviewed in IEEE Technology and Society Magazine

(2009) Computers and Magical Thinking: Work and Be-longing for People with Disabilities in Bangalore. Economic and Political Weekly. 44(26-27): 36-41.

(2008) On Flat and Round Worlds: Deaf Communities in Bangalore. Economic and Political Weekly. 43(38): 17-21.

Other

(2015 - present) Inhabitable Worlds: Troubling disability, debility, and ability narratives. Series convener and editor. (with Emily Cohen). Somatosphere: Science, Medicine and Anthropology

GRANTS, FELLOWSHIPS, AND AWARDS

(2015) Society for Medical Anthropology Disability Research Interest Group Travel Award

(2015) SUNY Arts and Humanities Network of Excellence Grant (with colleagues at Stony Brook and SUNY-Buffalo in Cultural Analysis and Theory, History, English, Philosophy, and Disability Studies)

(2014) Jawaharlal Nehru University Department of Social Sciences Visiting Fellowship

(2011 - 14) National Science Foundation Minority Postdoctoral Fellowship

(2007 - 11) National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship

(2008 - 09) American Institute of Indian Studies Junior Fellowship

(2008 - 09) UC Berkeley Deans Normative Time Fellowship 2007 UC Berkeley Human Rights Center Human Rights Summer Fellowship

(2007) Foreign Language and Area Studies Summer Fellowship (declined)

(2006) Foreign Language and Area Studies Summer Fellowship

(2006) Lowie Olson Travel Grant, UC Berkeley

(2005 - 09) UC Berkeley Regents Fellowship (declined 2007 - 09)

(2000) Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

INVITED TALKS

(2016) From Stigma to Value: Worlding Deaf Experiences. Columbia University. New York, NY.

(2016) Valuing Deaf Worlds in India: Rorienting Disability, Deafness, and Value. Purdue University Critical Disability Studies Symposium.

(2015) Valuing Deaf Worlds: An Anthropological Take on Deaf Studies. Gallaudet University, Washington DC.

(2014) An Anthropological Approach to Deaf Worlds, Deaf Socialities, and Deaf Studies. Conference on Communication, Autism, and Sign Language at Stony Brook University.

(2014) Deafness, Technology, and Value: The case of deaf “workers with disabilities” in Indian multinational corporations. University of Jyvaskyla, Finland.

(2014) Imagining new inclusive publics: How deafness and disability function as “feel good” diversity. Symposium on the Promises and Perils of Diversity: The Case of Deaf People in Multiple Contexts. Max Planck Institute for Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Gottingen, Germany.

(2014) Disability, Technology, Value. Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad

(2011) The Church of Deaf Sociality. Medical Anthropology Colloquia Series, University of California, San Francisco.

(2011) Technologically Produced Added Value: Typing, Sociality, and Affect. Tufts University Department of Anthropology Seminar Series on “ Anthropology, Technology, and the Human.”

(2010) Normal Dreams and Futures: The Articulation of Pyramid Schemes and Deaf Communities in Urban India. Center for South Asian Studies Public Lecture, University of California, Berkeley.

(2009) Technology to/for What Ends? Conference on “Technology, Disability, and the Developing World,” University of Washington at Seattle.

(2008) “I am deaf, you are deaf, we are the same”: Cultivated Sameness and Present Oriented Affinities. Conference on Disability, Gender, and Society, Delhi University, New Delhi, India.

CONFERENCE PARTICIPATION

Conference Panels Organized

(2015) What does a Sensory, Sensing, and Sensual Disability Studies look like? Society for Disability Studies Annual Conference. Atlanta, GA. (Double Panel) FRIEDNER

(2015) Space as a Tool for Engagement: Thinking through Human Geography. Stony Brook University Converging Sciences Summit.

(2015) It’s a small world: Deaf similitude and deaf universalism. 7th Annual Deaf Academics Conference, Leuven, Belgium.

(2012) Carving Out Space for the “Unintended:” Analytics, Methods, and Practices. (with Eunjung Kim). Society for Disability Studies Annual Meeting, Denver, CO.

(2012) Disability and Authoritative Discourse. (with Pamela Block). Society for Applied Anthropology Meetings, Baltimore, MD. (Double Panel)

(2011) Negotiating Ordinary and Extraordinary Discourses: Discourse within Disability Theory and Disability Activism. Society for Disability Studies Annual Meeting, San Jose, CA.

(2010) Conversion, the Ordinary, and the Extraordinary: Creating Emerging Worlds. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

(2008) Exploring New Frontiers in Disability Research. (with Eunjung Kim). Society for Disability Studies Annual Meeting, New York, NY. 2008 The Politics of Emergent Socialities in South Asia. (with Mara Green). Twenty Third Annual South Asia Conference at the University of California,            Berkeley.

Conference Talks

(2015) How the Disabled Body Unites the Body of the Nation: Disability as “feel good” diversity in urban India. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Denver, CO (as part of an Invited Society for Medical Anthropology Session).

(2015) Deaf Space: Creating and Sustaining Vibrant Spaces. Converging Sciences Summit. Stony Brook University.

(2015) It’s a small world: Deaf similitude and deaf universalism. 7th Annual Deaf Academics Conference, Leuven, Belgium.

(2012) Sign Language is the Key to Deaf Peoples’ Hearts: “Understanding” as Transformation. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA.

(2012) 1% of 3%: “The Glass is Full,” the Unstable Life and Future of Disability Employment in Quotes in India. The Annual Conference on South Asia, Madison, Wisconsin.

(2012) Jesus as the Patron Saint of the Deaf. Society for Disability Studies Annual Meeting, Denver, Colorado.

(2011) Future Life How?: Pyramid Schemes, Deaf Sociality, and Middle Class Aspirations in Urban India. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Montreal, Canada.

(2011) Claiming (Lack of) Access: A Universal Moral Sphere? Society for Disability Studies Annual Meeting, San Jose, CA.

(2011) Learning How to Thread, Wax, and Make Batiks: Gendered Deaf Space Production in New Delhi, India. Graduate Consortium of Women’s Studies Conference, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.  

(2010) The Church of Deaf Understanding: Deaf Missionary Encounters in Bangalore, India. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, New Orleans, LA.

(2010) On the Limits of Technology: Notes from Fieldwork in Urban India. Workshop on Deaf Community Leadership, Institute for Sign Language and Deaf Studies, University of Central Lancashire, Preston, UK.

(2009) The Production of “Added Value” by Deaf Young Adults: Typing, Praying, and Waiting for the future in Bangalore, India. American Anthropological Association Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA.

(2008) Computers and Magical Thinking: Work as Be-longing for People with Disabilities in Bangalore.

(2008) Society for Disability Studies Annual Meeting, New York City, NY.

(2008) On Flat and Round Worlds: Deafness, Deaf Communities and Discourse Circulation in Bangalore, India.

(2008) Society for Applied Anthropology Annual Meeting, Memphis, TN.

(2008) The Conflict that Wasn’t: Deafness and Difference in the City. Twenty Third Annual South Asia Conference at the University of California, Berkeley.

(2007) The World is Not Flat: Deafness and Human Rights in Bangalore, India. 2007 Human Rights Conference at the University of California, Berkeley.

(2007) Transnationalism and the Black Box of Discourse: Thinking about Deafness among Urban Women in India. Society for Disability Studes Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA.

Discussant

(2015) “Stigma and Value.” Prepared Comments for Panel on Evaluating Disability: Stigma and the Anthropology of Values, American Anthropology Association Annual Meeting. Denver, CO

GUEST LECTURES AND PRESENTATIONS TO UNIVERSITY STUDENTS

(2015) Stony Brook University. Guest lecturer on “Ethnography” in MA level Public Health qualitative research methods course taught by Amy Hammock.

(2015) Stony Brook University. Guest lecturer on “Sound Studies meets Deaf Studies” in undergraduate ethnomusicology course taught by Benjamin Taussig.

(2015) Stony Brook University. Guest lecturer on “Disability, Accessibility, and Sustainability” in undergraduate Human Settlements course taught by Donnovan Finn.

(2014) University of Jyvaskyla, Finland. Guest lecturer (for three days) on “Anthropology and Deaf Studies” in mixed undergraduate and graduate Deaf Studies course taught by Danny DeWeerdt.

(2013) Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Guest lecturer on “Disability, Technology, and Ethics” in mixed undergraduate and graduate Science and Technology Studies course “Technology and Culture” taught by Kieran Downes.

(2012) Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Guest lecturer on “Social Science Approaches to Disability” in mixed undergraduate and graduate Computer Science course “Assistive Technology” taught by Seth Teller.

(2011) Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Guest lecturer on “Qualitative Research Methods” with Heather Paxson and Graham Jones in mixed undergraduate and graduate D-lab course “D-lab: Development” taught by Amy Smith and Bish Sanyal.

(2011) Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Guest lecturer on “Deafness, Technology, and Development” in mixed undergraduate and graduate anthropology course “Cross Cultural Investigations: Methodological and Practical Issues” taught by Heather Paxson.

(2011) New York University. Guest lecturer on “Deafness, Media, and Affect” in undergraduate media studies course “Media and Disability” taught by Mara Mills.

(2010) Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Guest lecturer on “Deafness, Sound, and Silence” in anthropology course “Anthropology of Sound” taught by Stefan Helmreich.

(2010) UC Berkeley. Guest lecturer on “Deafness and Development in India” in upper division anthropology course on “Medical Anthropology” taught by James Battle.

(2009) Indira Gandhi Open University, New Delhi. Guest lecturer on “Uses and Abuses of Culture” in the Bachelor of Arts Program in Applied Sign Language Linguistics.

(2008) UC Berkeley. Guest lecturer on “Deafness, Medical Anthropology, India” in upper division anthropology course on “Anthropology of Disability” taught by Devva Kasnitz.

(2008) UC Berkeley. Guest lecturer on “Developmentally Disabled Artists, Commodities, and the State” with Gerone Spruill in upper division art course on “Art, Medicine, and Disability” taught by Katherine Sherwoo

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

(2016) Disability, Participation, and Justice Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Doctoral Seminar (on thematic of Translations) Disability Language, Rhetoric, and Narrative

(2015) Introduction to Qualitative Research Methods Health and Disability in Local and Global Contexts Disability Language, Rhetoric, and Narrative

(2014) Frameworks, Models, and Classification Systems in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences Biomedical spaces and Encounters: The Clinic and Beyond

(2012) Disability in Local and Global Contexts (MIT)

(2007) Anthropology of Public Health (reader, lecturer and grader under Clara Mantini Briggs, UC Berkeley

SERVICE AND COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

(2015 - present) Faculty EEO Committee, Stony Brook University School of Medicine

(2015) Program Committee, National Womens Studies Association Annual Conference 2014 Academic Committee, Deaf Academics Conference

(2014 - present) Advisory Committee on Disability Studies Undergraduate Curriculum, Stony Brook University School of Health, Technology, and Management

(2014 - present) Editoral Collaborative Member. Somatosphere

(2013) Advisor, Symposium on Disability, Technology and Rehabilitation in Low and Middle Income Countries at University of Washington, Seattle (June 2013)

(2012) Lecturer, Workshop on Social Science Methods for Sign Language Interpreters at Boston University

(2012 - 13) Reviewer, Society for Disability Studies Senior Scholar Award

(2011 - 14) Editorial Board Member and Reviewer, Disability Studies Quarterly

(2011) Organizer, Workshop on Race and Disability at Silicon Valley Independent Living Center, San Jose CA

(2009 - 10) Reviewer, Society for Disability Studies Zola Award for Emerging Disability Studies Research

(2007 - 10) Board Member, Society for Disability Studies Board of Directors 2007 Consultant, Association of People with Disability, Bangalore, India

(2005 - 10) Consultant, San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency Accessible Services

(2005) Organizer, Sixth Annual Indian Deaf Women’s Leadership and Cultural Conference, New Delhi, India

(2003 - 05) Member, San Francisco Deaf Gay and Lesbian Advisory Committee

(1999 - 00) Meiklejohn Peer Advisor, Brown University

JOURNAL PEER REVIEW

Antipode: A Journal of Radical Geography; Anthropology of Work Review; Disability Studies Quarterly; Space and Culture; Senses & Society; American Ethnologist

 PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

Member, American Anthropological Association

Member, Society for Disability Studies

LANGUAGES

Hindi: Beginning - Intermediate proficiency

American Sign Language: Working fluency

Indian Sign Language: Intermediate proficiency

GRADUATE STUDENTS SUPERVISED

Gregory Clinton, PhD Candidate in Cultural Analysis and Theory  

Michelle Ho, PhD Candidate in Cultural Analysis and Theory

Laura Abbasi-Lemon, MA Candidate in Cultural Analysis and Theory

Maria Milazzo, PhD Candidate in Disabilty Studies/Health and Rehabilitation Sciences

Chris-Mike Agbelie, PhD Student in Disability Studies/Health and Rehabilitation Sciences (primary advisor)