Winter Quarter 2021

Perspectives in Assistive Technology


David L. Jaffe, MS
Online via Zoom
Tuesdays & Thursdays from 4:30pm to 5:50pm PT

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Tuesday, February 2nd

photo of Lindsey Felt

Bionic Ears: Cochlear Implants and the Future of Assistive Technology
Lindsey Dolich Felt, PhD
Stanford University - Program in Writing and Rhetoric

Abstract: "In this talk, I will share my personal experience as a user with cochlear implants, and discuss the history and future of this device's development. Introducing historian of science and technology Mara Mills' term "bionic rhetoric," I will explain how the cochlear implant negotiates two different strains of thinking in assistive technology design: normalization and enhancement. My talk will conclude with a discussion of how this rhetoric gets metabolized in literary and popular discourse, and how these narratives illuminate how people with disabilities use - and even hack - their assistive technologies."

Biosketch: Lindsey Dolich Felt is a lecturer in the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stanford University. She received her PhD in English from Stanford University in 2016, and holds a BA from Haverford College. Before coming to Stanford, she worked as a journalist for ESPN the Magazine and

Her research interests include contemporary American literature, media culture, science fiction, science and technology studies, and disability studies. She is currently researching how disabled bodies crucially shaped conceptions of electronic communication in the post-WWII era, and has written articles on female hackers in Cyberpunk fiction, and the little known history of the first cybernetic limb and its influence on communication engineering in the early Cold War era.

Her course, "Unruly Bodies: Gesturing Toward a New Rhetorics of Body Language" explores how advances in science, technology, medicine, and culture have transformed our understanding of disability, normalcy, and health.

Contact Information:
Lindsey Felt
Lecture Material:
Pre-lecture slides - 1.30 Mb pdf file
Slides - 541 Kb pdf file
Unruly Bodies: Gesturing Toward a New Rhetorics of Body Language - video (2:42)
My Bionic Quest for Boléro - Michael Chorost
The New Normal: The Rhetoric of Disability - (video 2:37)
Between Sound and Silence
Links from slides:
Slide 8 - Cochlear Implant Simulation - video 1:57
Slide 10 - Behind the ear "Kanso" - video 1:50
Slide 11 - Sound and Fury (2000) - video 1:58
Slide 13 - Boléro by Ravel - music 9:54

Updated 02/03/2021

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