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  • Mike Gulliver 9:35 am on May 9, 2012 Permalink | Reply

    Call for papers: Deaf World/Hearing World – Berlin, December 2012 

    Please note, this is being organised by a third party and is presented  here for information only. Any follow-up or questions, please address them directly to the organisers of the conference. Thank you :)

    Deaf World/Hearing World: Spaces, Techniques, and Things in Culture and History

    –Sponsored by the Max Planck Institute in Berlin and Project Biocultures, University of Illinois at Chicago.

    The history of deafness presents an exemplary model of a community mobilization for the recognition of a cultural  identity. It is also an unequaled history of divisions across a broad range of pedagogy, techniques, and scientific inventions.

    Across the last four centuries at least, constructions of deafness as a cultural identity and/or as a disability have lead to  opposite claims. Deafness became a focal point for arguments over citizenship, eugenics, language, theories of the mind, and the like. A different set of categories was produced to give voice to these claims and the dialogue between their supporters has been extremely difficult for lack of a common stake.

    Depending on the approach, one can say such a heated debate has given the question of deafness a very specific place among human variations. Sign language, in particular, has lead many to question the relationship between mind, body, and language.

    We welcome papers on the social, cultural, scientific and philosophical attempts to mediate the space between the deaf and the hearing across history. Topics include the use of objects and techniques for creating a space of encounter, conceptions  of the relationship between humans and language, language and thought, or language and society across time and space.

    We are seeking explorations of the dialectic between hearing and silence, deaf and hearing as well as the technologies and  ideologies that intervene between the deaf world and the hearing world, the deaf person and the hearing person.

    The Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin in conjunction with Project Biocultures at the University of Illinois at Chicago will host the conference on December 10-11, 2012 in Berlin. Please send your abstract to Thu-Tra Dang ttdang@mpiwgberlin.mpg.de by July 3, 2012. Scholars will be informed by July 23 if their abstract has
    been selected.

    A travel fund is available, please let us know when submitting your abstract if you need an allowance to cover part of your trip.

    The conference will be in English and in sign language. The Max Planck Institute will welcome interpreters to make possible presentations in sign language. To facilitate the organization, please contact us as soon as possible if you need an interpreter of American/British/national sign language. Please mention the contact information of a couple of interpreters.

    If you have questions please contact Sabine Arnaud at sarnaud@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de, or Lennard Davis at  lendavis@uic.edu

    If you plan to attend the conference without giving a paper and require special assistance, please send an email to Thu-Tra Dang ttdang@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de

  • Mike Gulliver 3:15 pm on March 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , places, spaces, theory   

    Deaf spaces and places – early explorations of geographical theory 

    You can now find a pdf of Elizabeth Mathews (2007) chapter on the application of geographical theory to Deaf space linked to from the resources page.

    If you’re somewhat flumoxed by the geography-speak that you find on this site, Mathews’ chapter is a good place to start. She gently unpacks the role that geographical theory might play in validating Deaf spaces and bases this in work that is ongoing at Gallaudet.

    For those of us a bit more used to the idea of Deaf Geographies – the great news is just how far we’ve come theoretically since Mathews wrote this.

    Go team !

  • Mike Gulliver 8:19 am on March 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ARC GIS, , Germany, history   

    The Spread of Deafhood 

    Jordan Eickman’s paper uses ARC GIS to map and visualise the historical spread of clubs and schools for deaf people in Germany, as a way of exploring the expansion of historical Deafhood and the emergence of Deaf ‘Pillars’, upon which the German Deaf community was/is built.

    Jordan’s paper is now available in the Resources Area in two sections.

    • MM 3:47 pm on March 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      The fact deaf attend deaf clubs is no indication of the spread of deafhood, if it is it is dead in the UK. I challenge the fact people deaf automatically support deafhood, we reject it, and the writer of their ‘Bible’ is actually an UK resident who could not convince anyone here.

    • Mike Gulliver 3:59 pm on March 26, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Hi MM – perhaps you’re right – We’re not making any kind of argument for Deafhood here – only reporting the title of the paper and what Jordan writes.

      Setting aside the question of Deafhood, is there still interest in the way that clubs and schools for deaf people have spread – carrying language and culture out from a central starting ‘point’ or ‘points’?

  • Mike Gulliver 1:43 pm on March 2, 2012 Permalink | Reply  

    Historically naming Deaf spaces and places 

    During my recent visit to Rochester Institute of Technology, the US university that houses the NTID (National Technical Institute for the Deaf), I had the pleasure of meeting Rebecca Edwards who is RIT’s Department Chair for History.

    Rebecca is an historian of the Deaf community (amongst other things) and has written articles on 19th and 20th century Deaf history. One of these, in particular, is a useful contribution to Deaf geography, and talks about the way that historical trends and knowledges influence the naming, and the reception of the naming, of spaces and places.

    The article, Edwards RAR (2007) “Chasing Aleck, The Story of a Dorm”, has been added to the resource list.


  • Mike Gulliver 1:23 pm on March 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: ,   

    AAG 2012 presentations 

    OK, so I’m not going to put up all the abstracts to the AAG presentations – there doesn’t seem much point when they are posted elsewhere.

    But – here’s a list of presenters, their papers, and links to their abstracts and to (at least one of) their own pages.


    Session 1

    Session 2

    Session 3

    director of the Field School for Deaf Geographies at the Queen’s University (Canada) Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex. For additional information regarding the 2013 Field School of Deaf Geographies, please contact me at Deaf_geog@bisc.queensu.ac.uk

    • Mary Beth 11:09 am on March 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      Actually, I was at the AAG in my role as director of the Field School for Deaf Geographies at the Queen’s University (Canada) Bader International Study Centre at Herstmonceux Castle, East Sussex. For additional information regarding the 2013 Field School of Deaf Geographies, please contact me at Deaf_geog@bisc.queensu.ac.uk. I’m happy to answer any enquiries about the programme.

      • Mike Gulliver 8:02 pm on March 3, 2012 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks MB, and sorry for getting it wrong. I’ve tweaked the text at the top to reflect this.

  • Mike Gulliver 12:22 pm on March 1, 2012 Permalink | Reply

    Back from the AAG – the future starts here 

    So – back from the AAG.

    Three amazing sessions on Deaf geographies… I’ll be posting up the session details in a bit.

    13 presentations in all, from all over, presented in two different signed languages and English.

    … and a great time within the group catching up and taking the field forward.

    Deaf geographies is going places people – these are VERY exciting times.

    Make sure you stay on board :)

  • Mike Gulliver 2:32 pm on December 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply  

    Apologies for the lack of posting for the last few days, I’m recovering from a traffic accident.

    In the meantime, check out a couple of links. http://drmm.co.uk/projects/exeter-royal-academy-for-deaf-education/ and http://www.projectict.com/CrossCuric/Projects/Entries/2011/11/20_Open_City_Architecture_Project.html

  • Mike Gulliver 11:50 am on November 24, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , programme   

    AAG 2012 session date and content released 

    The AAG 2012 schedule has been released, and the information on each of the Deaf Geographies sessions is available at the following URLS.

    Monday 27th February.

    12.40 – 2.20: Deaf Geographies I – Foundations for Deaf Geographies

    2.40 -4.20: Deaf Geographies II – Analyzing Deaf Geographies

    4.40 – 6.20: Deaf Geographies III -The Future of Deaf Geographies

    A massive thank you to Austin and Cynthia for putting together the programme which looks absolutely delicious!

  • Mike Gulliver 8:35 am on September 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Deaf identity, , , identity politics, post-modern, spatial turn, utopia   

    Fracturing the Gallaudet utopia? 

    A recent article by Daniel de Vise in the Washington Post highlights changes that are occurring at Gallaudet, with the inclusion of so many more students from largely hearing, or mainstream backgrounds.

    To quote:

    Gallaudet University in Northeast Washington was always a place where students could speak the unspoken language of deaf America and be understood.

    That is no longer so true. For the first time in living memory, significant numbers of freshmen at the nation’s premiere university for the deaf and hard of hearing arrive lacking proficiency in American Sign Language and experience with deaf culture.

    These newcomers are not only deaf, but also hearing people arriving to be trained as interpreters.

    So what impact for Deaf space there?

    I guess initially two things spring to mind.

    The first is that this is bound to have an impact on the DEAF spaces produced to this point on the GU campus. I can’t imagine that those who took-for-granted the knowledges that they perform in producing a ‘DEAF=like us’ space before will continue to be able to do so in the same way with so many non-DEAF=like us people around.

    Will that lead to enclaves, hybrid spaces, hybrid identities, a new definition of DEAF, a series of parallel cultures? All of the above? I guess we’ll have to wait and watch.

    The second is that, like it or not, what’s happening at GU seems to mirror larger debates within the Deaf community and of the spaces that they produce and inhabit; debates which many have suggested represent a move towards a more descriptive way of talking about a much wider range of those who are, or might be, characterised as ‘Deaf’ or who might be involved with the Deaf community in some significant way: ‘DEAF’ (Gulliver 2009), Sign Language Peoples (Batterbury et al 2007?), Deafhood (Ladd 2003), Post-deaf (Davis 2008?), Deafnicity (Eckert 2010).

    The root of all of these ‘new’ (in fact very old – read the 19th century Deaf press to see how little the modern identity-political ‘Deaf’ has in common with longer-term vision of a signing, visual community) debates appears to derive from a fracturing of a polar ‘Deaf/hearing’ identity imposed by the colonisation of Oralism, an opening up of a number of taboo areas (discussions about deaf bodies, for example (Kelly 2003) and a recentring of identity in the individual, and in individual performances of capability and belonging. Essentially, a spatial turn in Deaf Studies, that pursues wider Deaf realities from a starting point in spaces of/from the body – and then moves to the production of social, cultural, linguistic, political, ethnic (the list goes on) spaces of being.

    Given that the individual is not fixed, and that the flux of individuals through groups leaves those groups un-fixed, it’s hard to see how DEAF/Deaf/deaf – or any other space – can remain fixed, except as a snapshot, or a limited utopian vision.

    And yet, that’s what Gallaudet appears to represent in many people’s minds… a utopia, a Deafspace haven in the midst of a hearing world.

    So what happens as the contestatory nature of that Deafspace/hearing-world dichotomy begins to break down within the boundaries of Gallaudet itself. How does the imagination of a culture cope with the reality (like it or not – that’s not the question here) of staunchly post-modern performances of Deaf (or Signing people) identities?

    I don’t know – but we might find out soon enough.


  • Mike Gulliver 9:26 am on September 26, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: disability, disabled, human rights, impairment, United Nations   

    ‘Disabled’ or ‘with disabilities’ 

    I recently overheard someone saying that it’s no longer ‘correct’ to talk about ‘disabled people’. Apparently, the UN and other international organizations use “people with disabilities” instead.

    If that’s true, then it represents a considerable challenge to Deaf Geographies. It takes us back to the point where the difference between a person considered ‘non disabled’ and one considered ‘disabled’ is with the person. i.e. inherently attached to their body.

    But of course, this is meaningless within signing spaces – where Deaf people aren’t disabled at all – hearing people who can’t sign are.

    In Deaf space, those considered with a disability aren’t disabled, whereas those who are without a disability are disabled.

    Of course, you could say that those who can’t sign are disabled. Chances are that their peripheral vision isn’t quite as good as those who can sign. But of course, that’s not considered a disability.

    The UN definition returns us to the 1960s; and a dangerous definition of what is considered ‘normal’ and ‘abnormal’, ‘impaired’… and given that the UN is the guardian of all things ‘human rights’ and decides what is and what isn’t appropriate intervention or provision for those with disabilities – I’d go as far as to say that they define what is, and isn’t, fully ‘human’.

    The fact that they do it without any apparent reference to the differently produced spaces of human life is, frankly, terrifying.

    A similar post, that takes a different angle is available at http://mikegulliver.wordpress.com

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