Emancipation Processes in the Ugandan Deaf Community

The Researcher

The Researcher

Dr. Goedele De Clerck specializes in interdisciplinary research of deaf people and equal opportunities. As a Postdoctoral Research Fellow of the Research Foundation-Flanders, she's affiliated at the Centre for Local Politics and the Faculty of Political and Social Sciences at Ghent University, Belgium.

Her research projects focus on sustainable development of sign language communities, cultural diversity, processes of knowledge and learning (epistemologies) and identity dynamics. Apart from developing research projects in Flanders, she's extensive experience in working with deaf communities around the world.

In 2001 she graduated with highest distinction from Ghent University, Belgium, with a master’s degree in Linguistics. For her master’s thesis research project, she examined reading processes of deaf children in a bilingual educational setting in Flanders.

Since 2003 she has conducted anthropological research on empowerment, identity, and emancipation in deaf communities. In her research projects she has taken a transnational and comparative perspe communitiesctive, giving particular attention to personal and community development. As a Francqui Fellow of the Belgian American Educational Foundation (BAEF), she traveled to the United States in 2005 to do research at the world’s only liberal arts university for deaf people, Gallaudet University, in Washington, DC.

In 2009 she received a doctorate in Comparative Science of Culture (Anthropology) from Ghent University. For her dissertation she wrote on empowerment, identity, and agency in Flemish and international deaf role models. 

Her dissertation defense was a milestone in the emancipation movement of the Flemish deaf community in that it was the first time a doctoral defense had ever been conducted in sign language in Belgium

In 2010, Dr. De Clerck received the Hand of Flanders award from the Flemish Association of the Deaf (Fevlado). The award was presented in recognition of her doctoral research.

Dr. De Clerck is a visiting scholar at the University of Manchester (Social Research with Deaf People) in the United Kingdom and at Kyambogo University (Faculty of Special Needs, Deaf Education section) in Uganda.