Michele Friedner

Assistant Professor
Department of Comparative Human Development and the College

As a social and medical anthropologist, Michele Friedner has played a key role in expanding how deaf and disabled people can be seen outside of the medical model of disability. Her research illustrates how the categories of deafness and disability result in the creation of new forms of social, economic, and political value, and addresses the ways in which these can be ambivalent and contested. She has developed an interdisciplinary theoretical approach to analyzing both the experiences of deaf and disabled people, and the ways in which these categories are discursively constituted. Her research is also concerned with broader questions of deaf and disability universalism, particularly in the aftermath of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Friedner is a steering committee member of the Society for Medical Anthropology’s Disability Research Interest Group and a board member of the Disability Studies Quarterly journal. She is serving as an advisor for a European Research Council project on deaf migration and mobilities. She holds a PhD from the joint medical anthropology program of the University of California, Berkeley, and the University of California, San Francisco, as well as an MA in anthropology from Berkeley, and a BA in religious studies from Brown University.

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