Dis-abling the hearing line: deafness, deaf studies and creative nonfiction
thesisposted on 2022-03-28, 16:54 authored by Jessica Leigh Kirkness
This thesis is an investigation into the intersections of deafness and literature. It is concerned with the discursive construction of the deaf individual, and the potential representations of deafness in written prose. As a grandchild of two deaf adults, my lived experience and interaction with deafness significantly informs this work. I’m exploring, both through research and creative practice, my grandparents’ lived experiences of being deaf in a hearing world, and the ways in which creative non-fiction writing might function as a unique form to represent this experience. My project involves a two-pronged approach that can be separated into an analytical critique of current literature, and a creative-practice research component, whereby I employ and experiment with techniques unique to creative non-fiction in order to produce pieces of critically informed personal narrative. The philosophical and political thrust of my study is grounded in a desire to illuminate the multitudinous ways of knowing and engaging sensorially with the world, in order to negotiate and narrow, the interstitial space between deaf and hearing people. Engaging with the field of Deaf Studies, I attempt to disrupt the hierarchical binaries of the able/disabled body and intervene in the various discourses that have constructed deafness as a form of depravity and deficit.