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FIGT Research Network Affiliate

  • 24 Jul 2020
  • 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
  • Online (via Zoom)

The Biculturalism of Children of Deaf Adults (Coda)

Date: Friday, July 24, 2020

Time: 9:00 am EDT / 1:00 pm Accra / 3:00 pm Vienna / 9:00 pm Singapore & Perth

Location: Online (via Zoom)

Cost: FREE. Open to all. 


Codas, or children of deaf adults, is the term used to describe hearing children born to Deaf parents. Codas spend their formative years as inhabitants of the Deaf world, acculturated to a Deaf way of life, and are often native users of American Sign Language. Despite growing up in the Deaf world, biology makes Codas de facto members of the hearing world. Thus, Codas come to occupy an interstitial space between the hearing and Deaf worlds, simultaneously belonging to both and neither.

In this seminar, Erin Mellett (MS) will discuss her experiences conducting ethnographic research with Codas. Specifically, she will discuss a chapter of her master's thesis in which she uses Third Culture Kids (TCKs) as an analytical concept to better understand the Coda experience. She examines the parallels as well as the differences between the two populations (Coda and TCK) in an effort to contribute to conversations about how we might expand upon original imaginings of TCKs, and to highlight the diversity of the third culture experience as well as the potential dynamism of TCK as a concept in helping us understand groups like Codas.

The resonance between Codas and TCKs first emerged in Erin's conversations with her Coda research participants who expressed feeling a sense of solidarity with TCKs because of their shared experiences of inbetweenness. One of them was Alex Laferrière, who will be joining Erin to speak about his personal experience growing up as a Coda.

This event will be hosted by Sarah Gonzales, Co-Chair of the FIGT Research Network Affiliate.

Erin Mellett, MS, is a PhD candidate in the Anthropology department at Brown University. She obtained a Master of Science in Medical Anthropology from Boston University School of Medicine in 2016. Erin's research interests include Deafness and the Deaf community, disability studies, language, and belonging. Erin's current and ongoing dissertation research with deaf immigrants in the United States sits at the intersection of a number of fields including medical anthropology, Deaf studies, disability studies, linguistic anthropology, and immigration studies.

Alexander Laferrière, MPA, is a third generation American Sign Language user within a large Deaf family. Alexander’s background and passion has led him to work professionally with the global Deaf community in the intersection between government, policy, and media through CODA International. His expertise in interactive media, coupled with his master’s studies in Public Affairs has allowed him to create films and policy recommendations for various communities around the world, from Providence, Rhode Island to Moyobamba, Peru.

Sarah Gonzales is Director of Graduate Programs at the University of Nevada Las Vegas (UNLV) School of Law. She also serves at NAFSA: Association for International Educators, teaching Intercultural Communication in Practice, Admissions and Placement of International Students, and Assessment and Evaluation for International Educators. Sarah is currently pursuing doctoral research on the intersection of cultural intelligence and mediation skills of TCKs. She is Co-Chair of the FIGT Research Network.

Please register in advance for this meeting.

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