“Here in Two Beach” or Why does this not sound empowering? Revisiting Nelle Morton without Hearing Aids

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

Abstract

In this short paper I rehearse through the ears of one with a hearing impairment Nelle Morton’s famous feminist theological method of ‘hearing into speech’ that she articulated in The Journey is Home (1985). I seek to uncover the tacit assumption of universal access to oral-aural communication which Morton herself and most of her many adopters have overlooked. While I recognise the therapeutic and political potential of collective lament and consciousness raising, I offer my own experience of exclusion from this process as a starting point to critique what has become a 'sacred cow' in feminist theology. This critique will be aided by literature in disability studies in order to present the development of communicative practices and identities of hearing-impaired persons as characterised by ‘dissociation’ (Carol Gilligan, 1997). The resultant survival strategies exclude the hearing impaired person from participation in oral-aural communication, including Morton’s ‘hearing into speech’. Thus, I argue for the importance of informed intersectionality as a safeguard against unintentional exclusion and for ‘widening participation’ measures that enable right relationships before all can benefit from Morton's proposal for empowerment.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationhost publication
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014
EventSpeech and Silence, Society for the Study of Theology conference - University of Durham
Duration: 7 Apr 20149 Apr 2014

Conference

ConferenceSpeech and Silence, Society for the Study of Theology conference
CityUniversity of Durham
Period7/04/149/04/14

Keywords

  • Nelle Morton
  • feminist theology
  • hearing impairment

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