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  • Mike Gulliver 11:20 am on September 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    T vs Deaf space 


    Yesterday, at the Annual Conference of the Institute of British Geographers (big… BIG international conference, very prestigious), we ran a session on ‘Deaf Spaces, old and new, the challenges of Deaf heritage’. The session drew together participants from academia, the heritage sector and the Deaf community, to discuss the nature of Deaf space and Deaf heritage, its relationship with the built environment, the relationship between Deaf heritage and the heritage industry/sector, and the experience of both deaf and hearing people in navigating within some of those areas. 

    I’ll share some of the content of the session in another post. But while the event is fresh in my mind, I wanted to thank the Royal Geographical Society/Institute of British Geographers for their support in getting some of the practical aspects of the session (particularly communication) sorted out.

    The session was deliberately set up as a panel (rather than 5 straight papers…

    View original post 485 more words

  • Mike Gulliver 12:41 pm on June 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    ICDG 2016 post conference info and contacts 

    This is a listing of content and contacts from the ICDG 2016 for future reference.

    Twitter feed

    The conference was (somewhat sporadically) live tweeted, on #ICDG16.


    … of both presentations and (I think?) discussions will be forthcoming soonish, after they have been error-checked by the presenters. I’ll post a link here when they are available.

    Programme and abstracts

    … are available currently at or through a static pdf copy on this site that will live on after RIT have purged their system.

    Presenters (and conference Chair)

    … were (with links to more info, incl. contact where available)

  • Mary Beth Kitzel 7:02 pm on June 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    The International Conference in Deaf Geographies
    27 & 28 June, 2016
    Rochester Institute of Technology
    Rochester NY


  • Mike Gulliver 10:34 am on May 24, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    A mystery find… 

    This is an amazing map of Deaf and blind school locations, and travel times between them by different methods, in 1837. But I have no source. It was given to me as a photocopy, and I’ve never been able to find out where it came from. It’s from a German text, and clearly not from 1837 but much later… Can anyone help?


    • Anne 4:39 pm on May 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Mike —

      It’s Nothwendigkeit der allgemein einzuführenden Elementar-Bildung der Taubstummen by Franz Herrmann Czech, (P. P. Mechitaristen, 1839).


      • Mike Gulliver 7:26 pm on May 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks Anne, this is brilliant. Do we have any idea how the data for the book was constructed… it seems to match the 4th circulaire from the Paris school, even down to the errors!

    • Anne 4:45 pm on May 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I DL’ed a copy of another book last year from some Digitale Bibliothek or another, with the same image, if you want that info.

      • Mike Gulliver 7:25 pm on May 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        yes please, that would be great :)

    • E. 8:11 pm on May 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Sure, and yes it’s Bebian stuff (see p. 39). Sorry I can’t reply on Deaf History FB — my join request is in a 1000+ long list.

    • E. 8:36 pm on May 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The artist on all the Bilder seems to be the same guy, but I think my Bibliothek copy is more legible. Meanwhile, see p. 410:

      “Tabelle 72 enthält die Uebersicht aller, sowohl der im Jahre 1837 bestandenen, als auch vor dem eingegangenen oder in andere Orte verlegten Anstalten, zur Bildung der Taubstummen und Blinden, wie auch zur Bildung der Taubstummen-Lehrer.”

    • E. 8:56 pm on May 28, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      The engravers are a “L. Rieder” and a “Piekacz”. The DL’ed book I have is pretty much the same:

      • E. 6:10 pm on May 29, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        Sorry I keep spamming this post. As referenced on FB, I see Bristol has it, but I also own a copy of Fischer & Lane (eds.) Looking Back: A Reader on D Communities and their SLs. The image appears in Pinna, Pagliara, Rampelli, Rossinia, and Volterra’s “Written and Unwritten Records from a Residential School for the Deaf in Rome” (pp. 349-376). No additional information about the data.

        • Mike Gulliver 6:38 pm on May 29, 2016 Permalink

          I have a copy of ‘looking back’ and I’ve found it in there, but it has no original source, and as a historian… that bugs me.

        • E. 8:49 pm on May 29, 2016 Permalink

          Oh, Mike. So many things bug me re: history’s shadow economy. Problem is, this otherwise great article aside — first slapdash attempts rushed to press metastasize into all subsequent citations. What’s that formula about the exponential energy required to fix scholarshi*, relative to the calories expended to produce it?

    • Mike Gulliver 1:14 pm on June 8, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on MIKE GULLIVER.

  • Mary Beth Kitzel 8:28 pm on March 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Edmund Booth on Attending Church Services (1880) 

    (Reposted from


    mutes1st-2nd )

    This semester, I’m teaching a course on U.S. Deaf History by using manuscripts and primary commentary of major Deaf issues and events by Deaf authors. Last week we discussed the first NAD conference in Cincinnati, Ohio, by looking at the Proceedings of the Convention. In addition to organizational details, the Proceedings records topics ranging across multiple areas of concern to the late 19th century participants, including issues of faith, i.e., the non-denominational Deaf Bible Study groups forming in urban centres to a critique of the Episcopal Church’s leadership in Deaf ministries.

    While most of the Convention participants were under the age of 30, an elder at 70, Mr. Edmund Booth (1810-1905) of Iowa, the owner and editor Anamosa Eureka, was one of the three organisers and served as the temporary chair of this first national Deaf event. Below, I have pasted Edmund Booth’s colourful commentary of his church experiences and how a few typical ‘hearing’ church spaces do not meet the needs of sign language people.

    Remarks of Mr Edmund Booth

    When in a town or a small city there is an Episcopal Church and only one or a few deaf-mutes, not enough of sufficient numbers to employ or pay a preacher in the sign-language, it might be advisable for such mutes to attend the Episcopal service. There they can read in the book of Common Prayer (or whatever the book may be called) while the Clergyman is reading at the desk. I know of mutes whose families are connected with other than Episcopal Churches, and in every such case the mutes prefer to go with their families, some member being always ready and willing to furnish the text or point out the hymn. The advantages in these two cases are about equal. ‘Three years ago, I attended an Episcopal service in Chicago. Rev. Mr. Mann officiated. It was in the vestry of the church, and the windows admitted the clear light of heaven. It all went well and was perfectly satisfactory.

    And now comes the dark side. Some weeks since, I attended church on the Sabbath in Chicago, the preachers being Revs. Gallaudet and Mann, with the regular pastor of the Church for the hearing portion of the congregation. “A dim religious light” prevailed, perfectly proper, doubtless, for the hearing people; but for the mutes a fiat reversal of the command, “-Let there be light.” I and some other mutes were seated some distance from the platform. The preacher’s face was mostly in darkness, and when seen was alternately bronze, vermilion, sky-blue, or some other color, bringing to me the re- collection of the “noble red men” of forty years ago in the forest. These various hues came from the stained windows stained to shut out the light. So far as hearing people are concerned, I find no fault with this. In their case all looked well. Even the pastor addressing them appeared just as he should, vestments and all.

    But for those addressing the mute part of the congregation it struck me as a burlesque. It was difficult, at the point where I and others were seated, to gather what was said, and impossible to catch a single word on their fingers. The eye could not penetrate with clear vision the body of more than semi-darkness which floated between us and the preachers. The service to us profited nothing. Episcopal churches are built for hearing people, not for the deaf.

    Two evenings ago, some of us attended Episcopal service at one of the churches in this city  of Cincinnati. There were three clergymen for the mutes and one for the hearing, all in canonicals. Again the one for the hearing looked well, and performed his part well, and, as at Chicago, the others were, in large degree, a farce. It is hard language, I know, and I speak it not willingly, but it is time to tell them the plain truth, for not one of the three seems to have given thought to the fact that to bring light to the mind of a deaf-mute, there must be light for the eye. The gaslights were arranged solely for a hearing congregation, but a little common sense, in which they appear sadly wanting, might induce our preachers to place themselves where, not their backs, but their faces, arms and hands could be seen to best advantage by those sitting in front of them. And even then there is still the annoyance from the dazzling gaslight, but that is a lesser evil than the absurdity of not light enough to know what the reverend gentlemen are saying. Theatrical managers are “wiser than the children of light.”

    Another trouble, of slight importance perhaps, but which is not only out of place, but looks ridiculous. I have said the vestments of the Episcopal clergy look well on one who ministers to the hearing. Hanging from the arms of one using signs, the constant flutter, and especially in a darkened church, or where the preacher stands in an unfavorable position as regards light, these wide white sleeves are far more conspicuous than the. Motion of his arms or the play of his fingers. Where it is so difficult or so impossible to know what he is saying, we are apt to think of a scarecrow in a cornfield, with its rags fluttering in the wind. Our preachers should have something of that most uncommon of all things, common sense. Thomas H. Gallaudet, who first established preaching by signs, was largely possessed of that commodity, and would never have dreamed of preaching to mutes in a darkened church or with lights so placed as to dazzle to the eyes and throw little or no light where light is most needed.

    (from Proceedings p.26-28)

    As a human geographer, I am continually fascinated by the ways in which 19th-century Deaf people came together to form Deaf Spaces, and the multitude of ways in which they did this – be it physical spaces (a la today’s DeafSpace project at Gallaudet University) or metaphysical spaces signing people create in their everyday social interactions. Booth’s commentary lets us glimpse through his deaf eyes, his ecclesiastic experiences – from coping in small town settings, like I imagine Anamosa, Iowa, most likely was, to what seems more like an ideal situation for him, attending services in a clear-windowed vestry in Chicago. I think my favourite bits are when he describes ‘the dark side’. Booth was clearly possessed a fine wit.

    Screen Shot 2016-03-17 at 16.04.19

    (If you are interested in reading more about the Convention and the Deaf issues of the day, check out the Proceedings on at )

    (Image sources:

    Proceedings cover:

    Booth’s portrait:

  • Mike Gulliver 6:22 pm on March 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Summary of discussions about Deaf space and place at the ‘Lost Spaces’ event in Bristol, UK – yesterday, the VS1 film will be available on Vimeo soon, and I’ll put up a link when I get it.

    The event was the feedback and conclusion session from the UK’s AHRC-funded Connected Communities project exploring what the Bristol Deaf community’s response has been to losing both their Deaf Centre, and the Centre for Deaf Studies.

    Having screened the film, there was a discussion between those present (mostly Deaf community) about the picture that it painted of the situation in Bristol, and of the local community’s response… to see Deaf people knowingly mobilising ‘space’, ‘place’ and other geographical concepts of being-in-the-world (incl. landscape) through sign was great. There are signs emerging for the concepts themselves apart from the everyday meanings, and for the difference between them, and it’s clear that the wider Deaf community (not just academics) are beginning to take ownership of the concepts, and wrestle with their use to describe and analyse situations and events.

    Most striking was a discussion about the difference between space as buildings, space as community, space as relationships, and what opting for a ‘space-based’ or ‘place-based’ activism might have in crafting a future for the local community. Credit for this goes to the project’s Deaf leadership, Dai O’Brien, Hilary Sutherland, who have synthesised the theory into their work and used it in a way that has led others to begin to pick it up.

    More, I hope, in time from this project – but in the meantime, here’s the link to the event.

  • Mary Beth Kitzel 3:43 pm on March 13, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , ,   

    The DeafSpace project has been enjoying wonderful press recently. Congratulations!

    Check out this piece from

  • Mary Beth Kitzel 6:07 pm on March 6, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Field School in Deaf Geographies 2016 

    FSDG Poster 2016

  • Mike Gulliver 7:49 pm on February 11, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    1st Call for Papers – ICDG Summer 2016 


    The International Conference in Deaf Geographies

    27-28 June 2016

    Field School in Deaf Geographies

    Rochester Institute of Technology

    Rochester, New York

    The Field School in Deaf Geographies (FSDG) announces a two-day conference, the International Conference in Deaf Geographies  (27-28 June 2016). This conference brings together researchers from around the world whose interests engage with the themes of Deaf Geographies. It serves as an invaluable forum and growing where all those interested in this research arena can connect with the network of Deaf Geographers and appreciate the diversity of expertise that is emanating from a broad array of disciplinary perspectives in the humanities and social sciences. Critically, the conference will afford participants the opportunity to participate in important discussions regarding future research conducted by the school.

    We are hereby calling on those academics whose work intersects with Deaf Geographies to submit abstracts for papers to be featured in the conference panel discussions. Abstracts are to be between 200 and 250 words, and are to be submitted to Mary Beth Kitzel, Director, (contact details as below) by Friday, 23 March 2016.

    The Field School in Deaf Geographies is a program of the College of Liberal Arts at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT), Rochester, New York. Rochester, home to RIT’s National Technical Institute of the Deaf and the Rochester School for the Deaf, is world-famous for its large and thriving Deaf community. What an incredible location for Deaf Geographic research! The FSDG runs five weeks from 30 May – July 1. The school focuses on both human geographical perspectives on the history of Deaf space, as well as on the theory and methods of human geography. The fundamental learning goals of the field school are to thoughtfully and critically engage with Human Geographic research from a Deaf cultural perspective, and to encourage the enthusiasm and efforts of researchers at all levels of study in this exciting new area of research. The conference offers participating FSDG students the opportunity to present their project’s research findings and to collect feedback from the visiting academics.

    The registration fees for the conference are $40.00 (USD). For additional information, please see the conference website:

    DEADLINE for Abstracts: Friday, 27 March 2016

    For additional information and abstract submission, please contact:

    Mary Beth Kitzel, PhD (Sussex), FSDG Director, at

    FSDG’s homepage:


  • Mike Gulliver 1:47 pm on August 19, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    12 reasons to learn ASL – 8 (at least) of which are linked to Deaf space and Geographies 


    Recently shared on Facebook… I can see at least 8 (maybe 9, maybe 10 – you judge) things here that speak about the difference between Deaf and hearing world spaces and that mobilise Deaf geographies to challenge hearing cultural ‘norms’

    1. Communicate underwater (if you want to see an example, watch Children of a Lesser God) – can’t do this if your communicative geographies are based in sound!
    2. Can communicate in differently cultural acceptable ways (mouth is full)
    3. Speak through closed window (Ben Bahan’s work on Doors and Windows springs to mind here)
    4. Talk across a crowded room (We used to see this a lot in a Deaf pub meet… we’d sit, and pass orders to the person at the bar over the heads of everyone else in the room)
    5. Chat at the movies (except it’s dark, but you can do it… and in church, and at any kind of meeting… in fact, it’s much more culturally acceptable to chat in a public event, particularly if it’s for clarification or to greet someone who’s just come in).
    6. Visual/Spatial/Gestural language – Look at the work done on Sign Proxemics.
    7. 3D language – … and here, on the Sign Art literature, and links between signing rhetorical devices and zooming/angles in film making.
    8. Is ASL a foreign language? Nope… but in the hearing world any language that isn’t hearing has to be ‘foreign’ right?
    9. It’s not too loud or too quiet… not in the hearing world anyway… and if you’re deaf, you can just shut your eyes to not listen.
    10. Oh, and the bonus… is the Deaf community, which has a HUGE international geography all of its own.
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