Timothy Y. Loh
| 罗宇乐 | تيموثي لوه |
I am a sociocultural anthropologist-in-training in the Doctoral Program in HASTS (History, Anthropology, and Science, Technology, and Society) at MIT, located in Cambridge, Massachusetts in the United States. My current research draws upon medical anthropology, linguistic anthropology, and science and technology studies to study deaf and signing communities in Jordan and the broader Middle East, and I am advised by Stefan Helmreich, Elting E. Morison Professor of Anthropology. I am also a Graduate Fellow in the Language and Technology Lab directed by Graham Jones and Beth Semel, and a 2020-21 Human Rights and Technology Fellow with the Center for International Studies. In my doctoral work I hope to explore how advancements in assistive technologies of various kinds (medical-rehabilitative, like hearing aids and cochlear implants, and non-medical, like cellphones and mobile apps) affect how deaf people in Jordan conceive of themselves as deaf—or not—and the role of religion (both Christianity and Islam) in Jordanian interactions with these technologies. As a hearing researcher of deaf communities and a non-Middle Eastern scholar of the Arab world, I am committed to reflexivity in my methodological and theoretical approach. I am also interested in refugee and migrant movements in the Middle East, in addition to the history and anthropology of Arab Christianity in historic Palestine, particularly in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Recently, I conducted some research on sign language and the deaf community in Singapore. I am a Young National University of Singapore (NUS) Fellow affiliated with Anthropology at Yale-NUS College for the academic year 2020-21, as well as a member of the American Anthropological Association and of the VL2 Student Network at Gallaudet University.
In 2020, my paper, "Language in Medical Worlds: The Politics of Hearing Technology, Speaking, and Arabic for Deaf Children in Jordan," was awarded the Graduate Student Paper Prize by the Middle East Studies Association and received the Honorable Mention for the Student Paper Award from the Middle East Section of the American Anthropological Association.
March 5: Speaking on the panel "Life, death, and everything in between: Medical Anthropology in/of the contemporary Middle East and North Africa" at Chronic Living, University of Copenhagen
March 16: Speaking on the panel "Well-being and Living Well: Ethnographic Approaches to Health and Disability in Contemporary Jordan," ACOR Jordan. Register here!
April 5: Presenting at Prospectus Day for the Middle East Beyond Borders Graduate Student Workshop, Harvard University
April 12-16: Participating in Emergent Themes in the Study of Science and Belief in Society PhD Workshop, INSBS
July 14-16: Presenting "Mother tongue orphan: sign language and the challenge of multiculturalism in Singapore" at the 16th Singapore Graduate Forum on Southeast Asian Studies, NUS
I hold a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service (Culture & Politics) and a Master of Arts in Arab Studies, earned in an accelerated degree program at Georgetown University in Washington, DC. At the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies at Georgetown, I studied with Rochelle Davis, Fida Adely, and Sylvia Önder, and took classes at Gallaudet in sociolinguistics and Deaf Studies through the Consortium. I was also a Kathryn Davis Fellow for Peace (Arabic) in the summer of 2016. I am most influenced by the work of Michele Friedner, Laura Mauldin, Sherine Hamdy, Karen Nakamura, Marcia Inhorn, among others, and hope to produce work like theirs someday.
Before returning to academia, I worked for Collateral Repair Project through the MENAR Fellowship, taught Middle Eastern history and introductory Chinese at King’s Academy, and coordinated Project SHINE for the LEAP Program. In my free time (hah!), I sing with Boston Found. I was born and raised in Singapore, which I still call home. I am proficient in Levantine Arabic, American Sign Language (ASL), and Mandarin Chinese, and high-intermediate in French.
Loh, Timothy Y. 2018. “‘Maybe Jesus Knows Sign’: Resistance Through Identity Formation.” Journal of Belonging, Identity, Language, and Diversity (J-BILD) 2 (1): 25-37.
Loh, Timothy Y. 2016. “Freedom Through Art: Cartoons in Gaza’s Atfaluna Society for Deaf Children.” Pardee Periodical Journal of Global Affairs 1: 69-87.
Loh, Timothy Y. 2016. “Digitizing Refugees: The Effect of Technology on Forced Displacement.” gnovis: A Journal of Communication, Culture & Technology 16 (2): 49-58.
Teaching / Speaking
Guest speaker for Anny Gaul, ARAB 499D Gender and Difference in the Arab World, University of Maryland, Spring 2021 (upcoming)
Guest lecturer for Beth Semel, 21A.151 Language, Communication, and Culture, MIT, Spring 2020/Spring 2021 (upcoming)
Teaching Assistant to Lauren Bonilla, 21A.00 Introduction to Anthropology, Fall 2020
Panelist for COVID-19’s Impact on Displaced Communities, Singapore University of Social Sciences, June 2020
Guest speaker for Lan Li, HIST 353 Histories of Sensation, Rice University, Spring 2020
Teaching Assistant to Amah Edoh, 21A.501J/STS.074J Art, Craft, Science, MIT, Spring 2020
Teaching Assistant to Franco Rossi, 21A.500J/STS.075J Technology and Culture, MIT, Fall 2019
Guest lecture, Disability and "Assistive" Technology
Grade 10 History, The Middle East in a Global Context, King's Academy (Jordan), 2017-18
Teaching Philosophy Statement, April 2016
Sample Syllabus: ANTH 340 Deafness as Cultural Experience, March 2016 (designed, not taught, as part of the AT Program)
Thanks to Chris Walley and Chris Boebel's class, DV Lab: Documenting Science through Video and New Media, I have also dabbled in ethnographic film. A Different Medium was made in spring 2019, and focuses on hearing students of American Sign Language and how they negotiate their position as ethical learners of the language and their relationship and responsibilities to the Deaf community.
Profile: Meet Timothy Loh, doctoral student in MIT HASTS, November 2019
Republished as Uncovering the role of technology and medicine in deaf and signing worlds, December 2019
Q&A with Timothy Loh (MAAS ’16), conducted July 2018, published November 2019
#TogetherForHope Campaign (video), June 2017
Timothy Loh | 225 Faces Project, May 2014
You can reach me via email at timloh at mit dot edu or using the form below.
Want to learn more about getting a PhD in anthropology (especially at HASTS)? Please reach out, especially if you are BIPOC, international, first-gen, or from an otherwise disadvantaged minority group. I recommend reading the following to learn more about graduate school: