Submit a proposal for Accessing Higher Ground 2023
Skip to Content

2021 Keynote Talk

Keynote Speaker: Jaipreet Virdi

Wednesday, November 17, 12:20 – 2:00 p.m.

Roots in Resistance: A Social History of Captioning

Though the history of closed captioning has largely been framed as a history of legislative changes for accessibility and technological progress that turned captioning decoder set-up boxes into decoder chips, it is also a social history. In this talk, Jaipreet Virdi considers the history of captioning, tracing its roots in resistance, from a silent film actor’s innovative splicing of film, to deaf people’s demands for access to television broadcasts, and finally, to the shifting twenty-first-century social media landscape. 

Jaipreet Virdi headshot

Jaipreet Virdi’s Bio

Dr. Jaipreet Virdi is a historian of medicine, technology, and disability. She is an Assistant Professor at the Department of History at the University of Delaware. Her first book, Hearing Happiness: Deafness Cures in History (University of Chicago Press, 2020) raises pivotal questions about deafness in American society and the endless quest for a cure. She has published articles on diagnostic technologies, audiometry, hearing aids, and the medicalization of deafness and has published essays in The Atlantic, Slate/Future Tense, Aeon+Psyche, and the New Internationalist.

For more about Jaipreet Virdi, watch her Science Friday interview on her book Hearing Happiness or go to her website