Blind Alterity, or, “What difference does blindness make?”

Blind Alterity, or, “What difference does blindness make?”
Thursday, November 9, 2024, 3:00 PM HST
Crawford Hall 115

What difference does blindness make? How does blindness afford distinct ways of attending to the world? This talk presents ethnographic vignettes of sensory activities from Dali Gimba, a unique Saharan village whose population is mostly blind from birth due to a dominant genetic condition that has been passed on for seven generations. Through these vignettes, I challenge conceptions of blindness that associate it with the absence, lack, or compensation of sight, and instead consider how blindness mediates alternative capacities, habits, and styles of attending to and engaging with the world.

Saquib Usman is a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan and a regular lecturer in the anthropology department at the University of Hawaiʻi – Mānoa. His research explores the intricate relationships between blindness, sight, divination, and the environment in Islamic, Arabic-speaking, and African contexts. 

Co-sponsored by the Center on Disability Studies

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