This blog grew out of a need to respond to the interest shown in DEAF space at the American Association of Geographers annual meeting in Seattle 2011. The meeting was prefaced by the following call for papers.

“Geographers have long used language to study spatial phenomena. But what happens when language is itself spatial? We present three framing observations:

  • First, American Sign Language (or one of scores of full-fledged signed languages around the world) incorporates the body, time, and signing space to produce meaning, thus opening up new possibilities to represent spatial concepts in novel ways.
  • Second, the visual-spatial nature of sign language is co-produced with particular socio-spatial practices that facilitate communication between signers.
  • Finally, the historical marginalization of sign languages and deafness has produced spatialized patterns of d/Deaf cultural formation, and is implicated in the creation of distinct d/Deaf spaces and non-d/Deaf spaces.

This session welcomes discussion on how language and space are co-produced, the extent to which hearing (dis)ability becomes embedded in built and social environments, and the barriers and opportunities for d/Deaf individuals to access hearing spaces.”

The session… (s), because we actually needed two full sessions eventually, generated nine papers that dipped into subjects as far distant as architecture, linguistics, history and politics. More importantly, it drew together the nine presenters who were committed to ongoing exploration of the subject.

This exploration has resulted in a site: Deaf Geographies and two blogs, one on that site, and one here… the blog at Deaf Geographies is a more public-facing blog; better written, more polished, and probably more aware of an audience that isn’t always so forgiving of the ‘Otherness’ that Deaf Geographies represent.

This blog, on the other hand, is the home of the half baked, the hard to grapple-with, the unrefined and the messy… It is, if you like, the sandbox in which we build and knock down the castles that we eventually post up in a more refined form.

We hope you enjoy reading it.

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