Don’t miss our special Disability History Month seminar! Dr. Claire Shaw (Warwick) will share her paper on ‘Senses of Technology: Deaf Women and the Telephone in the Soviet 1960s’.
Wednesday, 7 December 2022, 4pm GMT.
Sign up on Zoom here.
‘Senses of Technology: Deaf Women and the Telephone in the Soviet 1960s’
The 1960s were a moment of technological innovation in the Soviet Union, when science was seen to provide unique solutions to the problems faced by humanity. This included the production of new assistive devices for deaf people, many of which were designed, produced and used by deaf women. This paper focuses on one particular invention, a Morse Code telephone, created by the deaf engineer Irina Tsukerman and used every night for decades to talk to her close friend, the deafblind researcher Ol’ga Skorokhodova. The paper considers the various meanings conferred on this device, from the promise of rehabilitation from the ‘tragedy’ of disability to more complex dreams of the potential of technology to fundamentally rework the sensory interface between deaf people and the world. It also considers the ways in which this technology facilitated experiences that can be read as both deaf and female, and how these identities were reconciled with the more dominant masculine, able-bodied ideal of Soviet Cold War culture.
About the Speaker
Claire Shaw is Associate Professor in the History of Modern Russia at the University of Warwick. Her research focuses on the history of disability, the senses and the body under Soviet socialism. She is the author of Deaf in the USSR: Marginality, Community, and Soviet Identity, 1917-1991 (Cornell University Press, 2017).