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  • Mike Gulliver 8:47 am on August 11, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Marion Heap's PhD on Signing Spaces, added to resources page 

    Following a pointer (thank you :) from, I’ve added Marion Heap’s (2003) PhD on South African signing space networks to the resources page.

  • 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.

  • Mike Gulliver 9:25 am on April 29, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , AAG 2015, CART, publishing, transcriptions   

    Following the 2015 AAG – Chicago 

    I think – with perhaps one or two exceptions – we are all home from the AAG now, which means that it’s time to recap and think about how it went, and what we learned and talked about.

    We’ll be doing that over the next few weeks… in the meantime, we have some good news. The AAG’s organisation and communication of interpreting and CART (transcription) this year was the best I remember. And they’ve been tremendously generous; allowing us to have for free, and for free use, all of the transcriptions of the sessions, including the panel discussion.

    Given that we’re hoping to publish the proceedings from this AAG in an ebook form, this is a great help as it means that we don’t have to slave through a recording.

    The transcriptions will need checking for accuracy, but this will speed up the publication process no end.

    More news on the conference shortly.

  • Mary Beth Kitzel 7:34 pm on February 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    CFP: International Conference in Deaf Geographies, 29-30 June 2015, Rochester, New York 


    The International Conference in Deaf Geographies

    29-30 June 2015

    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 (29-30 June 2015). The conference brings together researchers from around the world whose interests engage with the themes of Deaf Geographies. It serves as an invaluable forum 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, 27 March 2015.

    The Field School in Deaf Geographies is settling into its new home at the Rochester Institite of Technology, Rochester, New York. Rochester, home of the 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 will run five weeks from 1 June to 2 July 2015. The school’s curriculum will have a dual focus 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 new researchers at all levels of study in this exciting new area of research. The conference will offers participating 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).[*] The conference website is still under construction. Details are forthcoming.

    DEADLINE for Abstracts: Friday, 27 March 2015

    For additional information and abstract submission, please contact:

    Dr Mary Beth Kitzel


    Field School in Deaf Geographies

    Department of History

    College of Liberal Arts

    Rochester Institute of Technology

    92 Lomb Memorial Drive

    Rochester, New York 14623-5603



    FSDG’s homepage:


    [*] Fees are waived for RIT faculty and staff, but registration is still required.

  • gillharold 11:01 am on January 16, 2015 Permalink | Reply  

    Exploring the socio-spatial side of justice 

    This blog post relates to postdoctoral research currently being conducted by Gill Harold within the Centre for Criminal Justice and Human Rights at the Faculty of Law, University College Cork, Ireland. The research is being funded by the Irish Research Council and is entitled ‘Exploring the Experiences of Deaf Victims in the Spaces and Processes of the Irish Criminal Justice System’.

    As a social geographer, my interest in this area was awakened in 2011 when I worked as project researcher on a study funded by the National Disability Authority entitled Access to Justice for People with Disabilities as Victims of Crime (Edwards, Kilcommins and Harold, 2012). In the context of that research, I was introduced to the principle of orality as a central tenet of the adversarial process in common law jurisdictions such as Ireland; the implication of this principle sees emphasis placed on the spoken word and oral testimony. Within adversarial proceedings, the ability to articulate one’s case well is highly significant. Proficiency in spoken (and written) communication is important for providing statements to the police about incidents, for the preparation of victim impact statements, and for liaising with professionals in criminal justice agencies. This system clearly benefits the witness who is capable of articulating their case well.

    Concurrent with my involvement on that research project, I was in the process of preparing my doctoral thesis which was centrally-concerned with the manner in which notions of a homogenous hearing public are imagined and reproduced in the social construction of urban space. In that work, and later in this Environment and Planning D: Society and Space paper, I engaged closely with the concept of phonocentrism, a philosophical argument often associated with the work of Derrida, which sustains the view that the spoken word is the ultimate form of communication, and in so doing I considered the ways in which we see this replicated across urban spaces and the implications for culturally Deaf citizens whose first language is Sign Language. For me, the implications of phonocentrism clearly resonated with the underpinnings of adversarialism with its implicit orality. It also became apparent that relatively little attention has been granted to the experiences of Deaf victims in a manner that fully reflects the cultural and linguistic tenets of Deaf identities. I began to wonder whether or not, and indeed how, the spaces of the criminal justice process are a microcosm of public space and as such, socially constructed in ways which assume and prioritise hearing-ness, but in a way that is exacerbated by the tenets of adversarialism and the sets of behaviours instilled in the expectations of criminal justice professionals, the judiciary and other actors such as jurors and witnesses themselves. I was also prompted to consider articulateness, and the question of who do we deem to be articulate in contemporary society? What forms of expression, and indeed what ontological positions, have come to be culturally sanctioned? In what ways are those whose first language is sign language compromised by the critically unstable, yet largely unchallenged, conflation of language and speech.

    While the issue of orality has been recognised as posing a challenge to a broader category of the victim constituency, including victims with disabilities, this research is focusing specifically on access for Deaf victims. Significantly, Irish Sigh Language is not recognised in the Republic of Ireland, either officially or constitutionally. For most members of the Deaf community in Ireland, which numbers approximately 5,000 people, Irish Sign Language is their first language. This research explores whether or not the emphasis on the spoken word in adversarialism has implications which compromise the levels of access afforded to Deaf victims as they seek justice. The research critically evaluates the spaces and processes of the Irish criminal justice system from Deaf-centric perspectives. It explores policy innovations and regulatory frameworks in other common law jurisdictions to contextualise direct engagement with members of the Irish Deaf community, regarded as a linguistic and cultural minority, to uncover the perspectives that are rooted in community perceptions of the Irish legal system from victims’ viewpoints. The research is also concerned with the views of key stakeholders, including criminal justice professionals and victim support advocates, as well as looking towards the Victims Charter of 2010 to determine the extent to which those organisations that stated commitments are aware of the specific communicative requirements of Deaf victims and whether or not this is reflected in their existing policy/provision.

    Essentially, this research is concerned with the socio-spatial context in which the Irish criminal justice system operates. It is interested in the spaces of justice such as Garda (police) stations and courtrooms, and the manner in which expectations and assumptions about “normal” communication are embedded in the social fabric, and how they inform encounters between Deaf victims and other criminal justice actors.

    For more information about this research, all contact welcome to

    • Mary Beth Kitzel 3:35 pm on January 26, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Fascinating work, Dr Harold!

  • Mary Beth Kitzel 1:28 am on October 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , E-space, Virtual Space   

    Virtual (and transnational) Deaf Space 

    Today, I met  Siglinde Pape, of Laboratoire de Recherche sur le Langage, Université Blaise Pascal, Clermont-Ferrand (France). Siglinde visited one of my classes and told us a little about a project she is working on to bring together ASL signers and LSF signers to teach each other their sign and written languages – ASL, LSF, French, and English.
    It captured my attention as the project is creating a virtual Deaf Space, an E-space, for the purpose of education. It represents  a new form of Deaf-authored Space. The potential for research here is very exciting.

    Here’s a link to the project:

    And another to a report about the project:

  • Mike Gulliver 1:35 pm on October 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Call for Papers – Deaf Geographies: AAG 2015 – Chicago 

    Call for Papers – American Association of Geographers conference, 2015. Chicago.

    Mike Gulliver, University of Bristol: UK
    Gill Harold, University College Cork: Ireland
    Austin Kocher, The Ohio State University, US

    Geographical inquiry is making increased headway into understanding the realities and experiences of the world’s Deaf communities in areas as wide-ranging as the social and (signed) linguistic practices of the Deaf community (Valentine & Skelton 2003), the historical territories and forms of Deaf space (Gulliver 2009, Kitzel 2014), the spatialities of power and oppression experienced by Deaf individuals (Harold 2013), the role of space in everyday Deaf lives and in Deaf imaginations (Kusters 2010), embodied ontologies and productions of culture within a Deaf-centred built environment (Sangalang 2012), and the theoretical stakes of this research (Gulliver & Kitzel 2014).

    These investigations speak of the creative potential of humankind to produce and inhabit spaces that are shaped by a predominantly visual perçu (Lefebvre 1991) and represent a powerful critical lens through which to destabilize notions of environmental, social, cultural, linguistic and physical “normalcy”. Together, they form what we loosely call “Deaf Geographies”: a body of work that offers not only an alternatively-centred approach to more familiar areas of geographical inquiry, but also a formidable critique of the implicit assumption in human geography that human subjects are speaking and hearing.

    While existing work in the field provides useful foundations to Deaf Geographies, we nonetheless suggest that further inquiry into DEAF-WORLDS (Lane et al. 1996) can provide timely contributions to important questions that are of interest to a wide range of geographers. We are, therefore, keen to feature papers that focus on, but are not exclusively limited to, contemporary or historical aspects of:

    • The production and politics of Deaf spaces; embodiment, sensoria, languages, agency and identities.
    • The spatialities and mechanisms of Deaf subjects’ social inclusion or exclusion.
    • Deaf spatial autonomy and its linguistic/personal/physical (and other) facets.
    • Entanglements with and inhabitancy of hearing spaces and structures by Deaf people: justice, welfare, work, worship.
    • The power and potential of explicitly transformational Deaf cooperative (or intentional/utopian) practices; how might Deaf persons and allies have organized to secure justice, freedom, recognition, autonomy etc.
    • How best to describe and understand the spaces of what Bauman and Murray (2009) call “DEAF GAIN”.

    Within the Deaf Geographies sessions, we are also keen to feature a panel discussion exploring the recent, and deeply significant emergence of Deaf space research methodologies. Within this panel, we would envisage topics and questions comprising:

    • How Deaf space might develop, challenge and/or contribute to wider understandings of ‘knowledge spaces’ and academic praxis.
    • What Deaf space parallels might exist to the anthropological ‘ontological turn’, or indigenous research practices.
    • What the relationship of Deaf academic spaces, or sign language-mediated academic spaces might be vis-à-vis the hearing academic establishment.
    • Where and how might methodologies developed within Deaf spaces differ from those adopted to conduct research with or on the Deaf community.


    Bauman H and Murray J (2009) Reframing: From Hearing Loss to Deaf Gain. Deaf Studies Digital Journal, Issue 1, Fall 2009. Available in translation at

    Gulliver M (2009) DEAF space, a history: The production of DEAF spaces Emergent, Autonomous, Located and Disabled in 18th and 19th century France. Unpublished PhD Thesis – University of Bristol: UK.

    Gulliver M and Kitzel M B (2014) – Deaf Geographies, an Introduction. Available from

    Harold G (2013), “Reconsidering sound and the city: asserting the right to the Deaf-friendly city” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 31(5) 846 – 862

    Kitzel, M E (2014) ‘Chasing ancestors: searching for the roots of American Sign Language in the Kentish Weald, 1620-1851. PhD, University of Sussex, U.K.

    Kusters A (2010) ‘Deaf Utopias? Reviewing the Sociocultural Literature on the World’s “Martha’s Vineyard Situations”’. In: Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, Volume 15, Issue 1, Pp. 3-16.

    Lane H, Hoffmeister R and Bahan B (1996) (2nd Ed). A Journey into the DEAF-WORLD. DawnSignPress: San Diego

    Lefebvre H (1991) The Production of Space. Blackwell: Oxford

    Sangalang J (2012) – What is Privacy in Deaf Space?

    Skelton T & Valentine G (2003) ‘It feels like being Deaf is normal’: an exploration into the complexities of defining D/deafness and young D/deaf people’s identities. The Canadian Geographer / Le Géographe canadien 47, no 4 (2003) 451–466.

    What to do now?

    If you would like to present a paper at the AAG 2015 in response to this call, you will need to:

    1. Register for the conference, and submit an abstract by the 5th November. All abstracts are accepted, and you can edit them later.
    2. Take a note of the Programme Identification Number (PIN) that you are issued upon submission of the abstract, and send it to the session organisers (via:
    3. The session organisers will allocate your paper a place within a session that appears to best fit.


    • Currently, we are envisaging two paper sessions and a panel discussion. We could be persuaded to go a fourth session if there is good interest.
    • If you have already expressed interest, and been contacted by the session organisers, then you can just go right ahead and register your abstract for the conference.
    • If you haven’t yet been in contact with the session organisers, or have any other questions, then please contact one of them, via:
    • There will be an opportunity to publish papers from this session in an edited volume. However, papers will need to be in an ‘almost ready’ format prior to the conference so that publication schedules can be organised at the conference.


  • Mike Gulliver 1:51 pm on September 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Privacy in Deaf Space – Sangalang 

    Scouring the net, as I do, for things to do with Deaf Geographies, I alighted upon this Masters thesis by Jordan Sangalang who did his degree at Gallaudet. His thesis is entitled “What is Privacy in Deaf Space?

    The document is undated, but I’m guessing that it’s this year. I’ll be contacting him to tell him that we’ve featured it, and to ask him to follow us up – maybe even at the AAG.

    Addendum – Jordan has been in touch, and confirmed that the thesis is from 2012.

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