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. I am currently conducting dissertation research in Amman, examining 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 in Jordanian interactions with these technologies. Please reach out if you are around!

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 2022-24 Social Science Research Council (Singapore) Graduate Research Fellow at the Singapore University of Technology and Design, as well as a member of the American Anthropological Association and of the VL2 Student Network at Gallaudet University. My research is and has been supported by the Social Science Research Council (United States), the Royal Anthropological Institute, the MIT Center for International Studies, and the NUS Development Grant.

In 2021, my paper, "Mother Tongue Orphan: Multiculturalism and the Challenge of Sign Language in Singapore," received the Honorable Mention for the Society for East Asian Anthropology Prize for Outstanding Graduate Student Paper. I recently presented a truncated version of the paper as part of the AcademiaSG Singapore Studies Junior Scholars Seminar. 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, and a revised version was published in Medical Anthropology.

Upcoming and ongoing

  • December 2: Participating in roundtable "Disability Studies and the Middle East: Past, Present, and Future" at MESA Annual Meeting

  • December 8: Presenting "An expanded istifada: towards sensory justice for deaf Jordanians" at ESOCITE/4S 2022 Joint Meeting


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.

Before returning to academia, I worked for Collateral Repair Project through the (now defunct) 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 in the Massachusetts area and with Mosaica Singers in Amman, and I am an occasional sign language interpreter. 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 conversational in Jordanian Sign Language (LIU) and in French.

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Summer 2021

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Fall 2019

2017-18

Apprenticeship in Teaching (AT) Program, Georgetown University

Film

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.

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Curriculum Vitae

Loh Academic CV

Contact

You can reach me via email at timloh at mit dot edu or contact at timothyyloh dot com. You can also use 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 recently gave a talk about applying to graduate school (in spoken English, with captions), and I recommend reading the following to learn more about graduate school:

If you're interested specifically in HASTS, please know that the department holds a Prospective Student Visit Day every year, typically in October.