Mara Mills' Colloquium

Friday, April 23, 2010 - 5:00pm

Mara Mills

On Disability and Cybernetics: The Case of the Hearing Glove

Norbert Wiener’s “hearing glove” is generally relegated to a footnote in the history of cybernetics. This paper surveys the history of the hearing glove concept, arguing the significance of this technology to the modern definitions of information, compression, and feedback. A narrative focus will be Helen Keller’s experiments with tactile communication aids—including that of Wiener. Disability theorists have thoroughly critiqued the allegory of the “cyborg” in literature and in science and technology studies. This paper also returns to those theoretical debates, in considering the ways cybernetics depended upon disability.

Cinema Studies Program
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