#deaftravel: An Ethnography of Deaf Tourist Mobilities

November 20, 2019 (Wednesday) / 5:00 pm6:30 pm

Lightbox Film Center, 3701 Chestnut Street

#deaftravel: An Ethnography of Deaf Tourist Mobilities

Erin Moriarty Harrelson

Assistant Professor of Deaf Studies, Gallaudet University

Tourism scholars have noted that tourists tend to seek out new, yet familiar, experiences. As a part of what Erin Harrelson calls “the deaf global circuit,” deaf tourists often want to visit deaf spaces and meet other deaf people. They make a point of seeking both to better understand differences, especially between sign languages and cultural status. Harrelson will discuss Deaf tourist practices and the moralities that have been built around the deaf global circuit, showing clips from her ethnographic film as part of her 2018 fieldwork in Bali. 

Cosponsored by Penn’s American Sign Language Program in the Department of Linguistics and the Deaf-Hearing Communication Centre.

Erin Moriarty Harrelson was appointed Assistant Professor in Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University in Fall of 2019, arriving there from Edinburgh, Scotland, where she had been a research fellow on a major deaf mobilities project across international borders. Her research interests are cultural anthropology, human geography, and applied linguistics. She is particularly interested in the study of deaf tourist mobilities, multilingual and multimodal language practices, language ideologies, deaf spaces, and ethnographic research methods. She has conducted ethnographic research in Southeast Asia since 2009. In 2014, Moriarty Harrelson was one of six people selected as a member of the first cohort of the Fulbright-National Geographic Digital Storytelling Fellowship. She has conducted ethnographic research in Cambodia since 2012, and her current research project focuses on deaf tourist mobilities and translanguaging in Indonesia. She holds a PhD in Anthropology from American University, an MA in Communications from Johns Hopkins University, and a BA in Anthropology and Art History from Smith College.