De-Masking deafness: Unlearning and Reteaching Disability During a Pandemic

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Disability Studies Quarterly


In academic writing about disability, the impetus is typically used to subvert society's ableist structures and challenge misconceptions and misunderstanding around disability. However, due to the world-wide spread of COVID-19 and the restrictions put in place to reduce the virus's impact, such as asking people to wear masks in public places and the closing of universities and moving to entirely online learning, the author, who is deaf, found herself vulnerable and confronting a lack of access due to these measures. This reflexive paper will investigate how the pandemic and its effects forced the author to reconsider her ownership of her deafness. It will add to a growing body of autoethnographic disability research by contributing another facet to understandings around disability and self as they are actualized in the midst of the pandemic.