Medical anthropologist Michele Friedner joined the School of Health Technology and Management (SHTM) at Stony Brook University in July 2014 as an assistant professor of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences. Her new book, Valuing Deaf Worlds in Urban India, is now available as an eBook from Rutgers University Press. The paper version, which will be in print in June 2015, is also available for preorder. The book follows the lives of deaf young adults in Bangalore, India, as they attend schools, complete vocational training and explore religion. It shows how deaf people become oriented toward each other as they learn to function within their communities and maximize their opportunities in contemporary society.
Friedner’s research focuses on 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 studies how international and domestic development initiatives both help and hinder disabled people in India as well as how international treaties impact disabled peoples’ everyday lives.
Friedner has received funding for her research from the National Science Foundation, the University of California’s Human Rights Center and the American Institute of Indian Studies. In November 2014 she was a guest lecturer and visiting scholar at the University of Jyväskylä, Finland, where she presented a talk on “Disability, Technology, Value: The Case of Deaf ‘Workers with Disabilities’ in Indian Multinational Corporations.”
SHTM recently started the University’s first translational research graduate program in Health and Rehabilitation Sciences leading to a PhD degree. It is an interdisciplinary course of study with concentrations in Disability Studies, Behavioral and Community Health, and Rehabilitation and Movement Science. Friedner has a strong background in Deaf Studies, South Asian Studies and Development Studies. She joined Pamela Block, director of the Disability Studies concentration, in developing and teaching courses for the new PhD program.
For more information about the Health and Rehabilitation Sciences program, click here.
— Lynne Roth