To what extent could “coming out” be a useful analogy for the process of coming to identify as Deaf? In episode 44, Laura Mauldin from the University of Connecticut discusses her research into this question as detailed in her open-access article “‘Coming out’ rhetoric in disability studies: Exploring its fit with the Deaf experience” published in the Spring 2018 issue of Disability Studies Quarterly.

Becoming Deaf - Laura Mauldin
Becoming Deaf - Laura Mauldin
Becoming Deaf - Laura Mauldin Becoming Deaf - Laura Mauldin
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Hosts / Producers

Ryan Watkins & Doug Leigh

How to Cite

Watkins, R., Leigh, D., & Mauldin, L.. (2019, March 6). Parsing Science – Becoming Deaf. figshare.


What’s The Angle? by Shane Ivers


Laura Mauldin: He would talk about switching and say “oh, I had to become hard-of-hearing again, and then when I left I could become Deaf again.”

Doug Leigh: This is Parsing Science. The unpublished stories behind the world’s most compelling science as told by the researchers themselves. I’m Doug Leigh…

Ryan Watkins: And I’m Ryan Watkins. Douglas Hofstadter argues in his 2013 book, Surfaces and Essences, that categorization and analogy making endow us with the ability to discern resemblances between the present situation and ones that we’ve encountered before. But – just as not all categories are valid – some analogies can be misleading or even mistaken. Today, in episode 44 of Parsing Science we talked with Laura Mauldin from the University of Connecticut about her research into the limits of “coming out” as an analogy of the Deaf experience.

Watkins: Here’s Laura Mauldin.

Mauldin: Hello! I’m Laura Mauldin and I’m currently assistant professor at the University of Connecticut in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies as well as Human Development and Family Studies. So I was in college at the University of Texas at Austin and I was studying linguistics, and it took me a long time to get to linguistics. I was a very lost college student but I came into college with the fluency in American Sign Language. I grew up in Texas and my school district happened to be where all of the deaf kids in that region were sent to school and a deaf education program. So I came into college just knowing sign language and that just being a part of who I was, I had no intention whatsoever of ever doing anything with it per se. As I went through college and I was a bit lost and didn’t know what I was doing, people sort of said well why don’t you do something with this language that you know. So I ended up with a degree in linguistics which of course I didn’t know what I was supposed to do with that, and someone said oh why don’t you be an interpreter! So I went to interpreting school for a bit and while I was in interpreting school, the director of that program encouraged me to enroll at Gallaudet University in Washington DC which is the only liberal arts university for the deaf in the world. And at that time they had set up for the first time, it was the first year that the program was in existence, and it was a master’s degree in Deaf Studies, and it was open to deaf and hearing people. And I had this really amazing experience of being really immersed in the Deaf community, and feeling like I needed more tools to understand that world. I needed to understand how this fit in society in general and that’s when I decided to pursue a PhD in sociology. And that’s how I ended up at the City University of New York, the Graduate Center in Manhattan. So then I became a sociologist.

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