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  • Mike Gulliver 12:40 pm on May 20, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Funded PhD in Deaf heritage/history/spaces 


    Applications are invited for a full-time PhD studentship in Deaf Heritage at the University of Bristol.

    Wherever they occur, environments designed for Deaf people challenge our assumptions of a ‘normal’ sensorium, and speak of the creativity of humanity in overcoming difference. Yet this rich heritage remains underexplored and the learning that it offers, untapped. Historic England and Bristol University are working together to supervise an exciting new PhD opportunity, that will advance our understanding of Deaf heritage by exploring the relationship between Deaf history and culture and the buildings around us, and by developing policies and processes to protect and manage Deaf heritage sites both now, and into the future.

    The successful student will work with experts in Deaf history and heritage management to identify and assess sites in England, describe and understand their significance and devise and test negotiated plans for their future sustainable management. To be successful, they…

    View original post 383 more words

  • Mike Gulliver 2:54 pm on May 5, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    What might happen to the UK, if children were encouraged to learn BSL at school – lessons from the US. 

    This was originally posted by John Walker on Facebook, and is reproduced here by permission. John’s responding to a question about how introducing a GSCE in British Sign Language might affect the lives of Deaf people in the UK, comparing the UK to the US, where students can take ASL as a ‘foreign’ language option.

    Over the last two weeks, I spent some time in the States and I have experienced, first hand, how this resource [the GSCE in BSL] will change the lives of Deaf and hard of hearing people. In America, children can learn ASL. In two weeks, here is what I encountered:

    1. Problems to buy a train ticket, station security explained how in ASL.
    2. Restaurant manager took us to our table, I asked, in ASL, to put the ice hockey match on the TV screen and she understood.
    3. I made an order at a noodle bar in ASL, she understood.
    4. I asked an attendant about a pair of boots, she tried to persuade me to look at their on-line collection in ASL. I said no as I was only there for 24 hours.
    5. I tried to order an espresso in ASL and someone repeated my order in English (after asking first).
    6. I was in a queue to rearrange my flight, the guy next to me repeated, in ASL, the flights that were just about to depart and whether I should jump the queue.
    7. A woman asked, in ASL, if I could swap my seat with her newly-wed husband as they wanted to be together for the flight – I said no problem.
    8. I nervously approached the USA immigration official for a passport check and ’50 questions’; when I introduce myself, he said his sign name was “EJ” and asked if I was bringing apples into the country.

    In these situations, one would never find an ASL/English interpreter, and in these situations, I am treated as a human being.

    The BSL GCSE project is being proposed by Signature, and here’s where you can find more information and a link to vote for it.

    (Note – voting for this closed on the 5th May. News of whether the campaign reached the semi finals of the competition on the 19th May – you can follow the link and register for news.)

  • Mike Gulliver 11:16 am on May 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Annelies Kusters, , Gallaudet University Press   

    ‘Deaf Space’ in a Gallaudet University Press title. 

    This is a link to the GUP newsletter for this month, with an intro to Annelies Kusters’ book on the work that she did with the Deaf community in Ghana.


    The blurb says:

    “In Deaf Space in Adamorobe: An Ethnographic Study in a Village in Ghana, author Annelies Kusters reveals how deaf people in Adamorobe do not live in a social paradise and how they create their own “Deaf space” by seeking each other out to form a society of their own. But what’s so special about Adamorobe, and why did Kusters choose this place to do research?

    When Deaf people ask these questions, Kusters usually replies, “You know Martha’s Vineyard, right? The place where a relatively large number of deaf people were born and many hearing people knew sign? You know that this situation has vanished now? But did you know that there are actually similar communities around the world? Well, one of these is located in Ghana and called Adamorobe.” Kusters is quick to point out, however, that she was not in search of a “deaf dreamworld” or a “utopian place.” “What brought me there were master’s degrees in both anthropology and Deaf studies, and a personal and scientific interest in the many different ways in which deaf people lead their lives in different sociocultural contexts.”

    “This book,” she clarifies, “thus comprises my representation of my observations and the conversations during my visit in Adamorobe, not a representation of Adamorobe deaf people’s everyday life. My position as a (deaf) outsider with a background in Deaf studies and anthropology was important in that I asked (often unexpected) questions and stimulated my interlocutors to elaborate on certain themes, to tell me certain stories. We revisited the same themes over and over again and a (highly ambiguous) picture started to emerge. In this book, I am presenting quotes, situation descriptions, and transcripts of dialogues to illustrate and evoke what I saw and what we discussed; but again, these are the interpretations and translations of an outsider with a necessarily limited understanding of local culture, kinship structures, history, and language. Also, since this research happened during a particular moment in time (2008–2009), deaf people in Adamorobe might tell other stories and lay different emphasis in their present discourses.”

    I’ve read the book in pre-print, and it’s great.

    There’s a link to buy in the newsletter article.

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