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Sign Language Studies

American Annals of the Deaf

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Signs and Voices: Deaf Culture, Identity, Language, and Arts

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Figure 2.

Figure 3.

Great exhibit but only scratches the surface of Deaf history, deaf issues, and deaf culture. Remember: hearing people must learn to perceive deaf people in a humanistic light instead of a scientific one.

P.S. Cochlear implants are not the cure. It’s just a way for doctors and unaware parents to “try” to assimilate those deaf children into the hearing world. There’s nothing wrong w/ being deaf. Believe it.[62]

By and large, these responses tended to be from professionals in the Deaf community who are largely college-educated and well versed in academic discourse about Deaf people. As such, these writers consciously and directly positioned themselves in contrast to the pathological and medical discourses on deafness.

Points of critique revealed cultural values and an awareness of gaps in social representation, particularly in regards to real deaf people, not just the faces on the storyboards:

Very informative and non-confrontational in portrayal of deafness and deaf culture. I would like to have seen more of the uniqueness of deaf gatherings as an emotional event. The finding of sameness in being deaf always seems to bring an emotional relief when shared with other deaf people. Perhaps this relief shows itself in emotions similar to love but whatever it is it brings us together with such a bond: I wish that bond had been more described.[63]

People said Deaf are dumb or mute? But . . . mute means cannot talk. Hearing people cannot talk through sign languages so they are mute too? I don’t think so. . . . Nobody are dumb or mute. Deaf people could do anything like hearing people. [Handwriting reveals a young teen wrote this.][64]

Interesting exhibit, but when a deaf person comes in, shouldn’t the men checking bags be able to sign?[65]


62. Excerpt, Smithsonian Logbook. 2002. Gallaudet University Archives.

63. Excerpt, Smithsonian Logbook. 2002. Gallaudet University Archives.

64. Excerpt, Smithsonian Logbook. 2002. Gallaudet University Archives.

65. Excerpt, Smithsonian Logbook. 2002. Gallaudet University Archives.


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