Methods 3: the history of the study of the deaf gene

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How did genetic scientists come to set up a special area on the study of the deaf gene? We are undertaking a small piece of historical research to try to understand how that has happened. We are exploring how the science of the deaf gene has become linked to disease and illness within genetic science. As part of that research we ask: who are the people and institutions that have made such a development possible? How have decisions been made to include deafness in lists of ‘illnesses’? Where has funding come from to enable developments to happen? How has ethical approval been given for these projects to take place?

Another part of the historical research is to analyse the past media reporting, for example, on the ‘Stop Eugenics’ campaign around the HFE Bill in 2008.  We are re-reading and researching the newspapers, journals and radio transcripts.  We are identifying the themes and topics the media covered, analysing their meanings, and trying to understand how the interest in the ‘deaf gene’ has developed in history.