Gerald (Gerry) Gold
Department of
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Biography of Gerry Gold
It is fair to say that I divide my biography into two periods: life before disability and my acceptance and expansion of self after disability.  Looking at my CV will summarize these two chapters but probably will not communicate be experiential understanding of personal history.  With this in mind I am dividing these brief comments into two phases which roughly correspond to personal experience.  In many ways, I cannot separate that experience from my research and publications and from my understanding of the meaning of anthropology.
I began teaching, in 1969/70, focusing closely on French Canada and Quebec.  These are the topics of most of my early publications, especially those that led to the two editions of my community study St. Pascal, changing leadership and social organization in a Quebec town.  This book had significant consequences on community studies in Canadian social science.  It also led, with other publications, to my teaching in French at Collège Glendon, York University and later or two years at Université Laval, in Quebec.
I returned to York University in 1976, directed toward the study of ethnic and minority groups, particularly French-speaking minorities in North America.  This led to my involvement, already before leaving Quebec City, in Project Louisiane a collaborative effort was geographers to study living French communities in Louisiana and the effects of Quebec France in Belgium in the revival of French in Louisiana schools.  That last research to me to Europe and Quebec City and Washington in transnational anthropological research which reflects the character of contemporary anthropology, no longer focused uniquely on village or town communities.
The Louisiana project was followed by several years of research in northern Ontario, multicultural character of the creation of community in northern mining towns.  From this research in Timmins, I took several years to become departmental chair, after which I experienced the onset of multiple sclerosis.  Not willing to abandon my established patterns of research, I followed the year in Israel as a guest professor, and Hebrew University of Jerusalem, with a critical study of Israelis in Toronto.  Despite the richness of that study, it is the difficulties of fieldwork with Israelis and reliance on assistance together research data, that gradually change my focus toward disability studies.
Disability studies and disability consciousness
In the early 1990s, I began an almost 5 year involvement with the Commission on Disability of the American Anthropological Association.  It is important to emphasize that these years focus on to dramatically different issues: the "accessibility" of the meetings, which are one of the most visible forms of organized anthropology, and the "accessibility" of the profession, which had not previously been discussed by anthropologists in any context.  At the same time as this disciplinary interest, I began to closely follow and then study the interaction of a virtual disability community which I refer to as "MSN".
Research with MSN activated my own interest in "communities in cyberspace" and computer mediated communication as a form of public culture.  From my work with MSN, I began to participate in and then study interactively, MSC, also a virtual disability group but with a uniquely Canadian focus.  This research continues with other disability based virtual communities and networking on a manuscript provisionally entitled "Virtual Disability distinctive cultures of computer mediated communication".  Following the focus of Robert Murphy and others on the marginality and isolation of disabled persons, I am working on a second project dealing with "Social and Cultural Aspects of Long-term Disability."  This work follows the methodology of working with computer mediated communication to reach some of the seldomly discussed aspects of LTD as a form of excluding the disabled, world of work.  All the above interests can be followed in the papers that I have chosen to place on this web page.  Another paper explores my personal experiences moving from ethnic and minority research to research in cyberspace.
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