Interview With the Editor
GUPress: Do you see changes in the direction of Deaf history
research in the last ten years?
Associate Professor, History, Gallaudet University;
Co-Editor, A Fair
Chance in the Race of Life
Brian Greenwald: The field has changed dramatically over the past
decade. We are seeing more research and scholarship on Deaf African Americans
and women. We are taking a closer look at local and regional influences in the
United States. Additionally, globalization has been another driving force in
Deaf history scholarship, connecting deaf people all over the world through the
history of organizations, activism, education, and sports. All of these will
continue to guide Deaf history research in the future as there is much that has
yet to be explored.
GUPress: How many students are enrolled in the Deaf History
Certificate Program? Has the program generated more interest in Deaf history?
Brian Greenwald: Currently, there are seven students in
the certificate program, and more have applied for this
semester. Students in the certificate program traveled to Stockholm, Sweden, this
past summer to participate in the Deaf History International conference.
Students in the certificate program are excited about the Deaf History Lecture
series, which has drawn from 50 to 100 people this past Fall. I would say the
interest is definitely there not just among those studying Deaf history, but
many others enjoy good history particularly when someone can tell a story very
well. That makes it fun and intellectually rewarding.
GUPress: What is the goal of the Deaf History Lecture series? Who
do you have lined up for the spring semester?
Brian Greenwald: The Deaf History Lecture series intends to
showcase the latest research on the histories of Deaf peoples and communities
around the world. Scholars within the field of Deaf education, Deaf studies,
linguistics, or other allied fields that study Deaf peoples and their communities
depend on the value of Deaf history to explain how communities arrived to the
present state. When Joe Murray and I set up the lecture series, we also wanted
to explore what Deaf history means and demonstrate its value as a legitimate
We are particularly excited about the line up for Spring 2010. On February 3, we
kicked off a presentation by three scholars: Carolyn McCaskill, Ceil Lucas,
and Joseph Hill. They have been doing some exciting research on the history of
Black Deaf education and language. In March, Melissa Malzkuhn, who is a graduate
of the Deaf History Certificate Program, will give a talk on the role of the NAD
during the eugenics movement in the United States between 1880 and 1940.
Malzkuhn’s research suggests that NAD played both sides of the coin during the
eugenics movement and its role is more complex than previously understood.
Finally, Octavian Robinson, who is a PhD candidate at Ohio State University,
will deliver a talk on Deaf people making a case for citizenship through
anti-peddling campaigns between 1850 and 1950. His talk will be on April 14.
All talks are free and open to the public. They will take place from 12-1 pm at
the Sorenson Language and Communication Center (SLCC) atrium.
GUPress: What areas of Deaf history especially interest you?
Brian Greenwald: I enjoy many areas of Deaf history. I am
particularly interested in the interplay of oralism, eugenics, and marriage
against the backdrop of Progressive Era America. Even more exciting for me is to
watch students produce some excellent research on various topics in Deaf
history. In a graduate class this semester, students conducted primary research
on various topics exploring the polemics of Deaf activist Alice Terry as she
attacked oralism and researched factors that led the National Fraternal Society
for the Deaf (NFSD), which sold life
and automobile insurance, astounding success during the Great Depression when
the vast majority of banking and insurance companies failed in the United
States. Students in the certificate and graduate programs have produced some
compelling work and all of this is very interesting and exciting to me!
Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Look Up the Sign to Find the Right Word!
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Pedagogy is a must-read for everyone engaged in deaf education—be it
teachers of the deaf, administrators and politicians, parents of deaf children,
or deaf adults—throughout the world,” raves the reviewer in a recent issue of
The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal. “The book
provides strong arguments in favour of bilingual education with a strong focus
on sign language as a deaf person’s first and most important language. I highly
recommend the book . . . . [It] is a central contribution to the field, and provides
grounded arguments for a better educational policy and for claiming access to
sign language as a human right for deaf kids.” Read more about Linda Komesaroff’s fascinating study in chapter three,
“Curriculum of the Hearing
University,” and order Disabling Pedagogy: Power, Politics, and Deaf
Right to Language: Communication Access for Deaf Children, author Lawrence
Siegel proposes that the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution
guarantee deaf and hard of hearing children the right to full communication and
access in the classroom, and should be enforced.
The Review of Disability Studies: An International Journal notes: “The
book is written in a highly accessible style and introduces the reader to the
grave injustice deaf and hard of hearing children are exposed to in the U.S.
school system. I would recommend reading it together with Disabling Pedagogy
because the two books complement one another in a rather empowering way. Both
give reasons for fighting for changes both in the legal and the educational
system. It seems plausible that both strategies must be pursued together if any
major change shall be attained.” View the
table of contents
and read chapter two
for more insight into Siegel’s arguments. Order The Human Right to Language
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