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

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



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

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


    Check out this piece from curbed.com.

  • Mike Gulliver 11:16 am on May 1, 2015 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Annelies Kusters, DEAF space, 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.

  • Mary Beth Kitzel 1:28 am on October 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , DEAF space, 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:  http://signescale.wordpress.com/

    And another to a report about the project: https://edutice.archives-ouvertes.fr/edutice-01068052

  • Mary Beth Kitzel 1:29 pm on November 25, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , DEAF space, , , Human Geography, Methods   

    Announcing the 2014 Field School in Deaf Geographies! 

    We are happy to announce the second year of the field school.

    Program Schedule 2014 Dates: June 23 – July 27

    Program Location: Herstmonceux Castle, Hailsham, East Sussex

    Enrolment / Deadline: 20 students. Apply by March 15th, 2014

    Participant Profile: Undergraduate students with Level 2 standing

    Feel free to look at our website for more details:


  • Mary Beth Kitzel 3:02 pm on May 6, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , DEAF space, EDGS,   

    EDGS Meet!

    The inaugural European Deaf Geographies Summit (EDGS) met 23-25 April 2012 in Bristol. The three-day meeting was informal, intense, exciting and productive. Our numbers may have been few, but our vision mighty! Below is a synopsis of our activities:

    Day 1: We convened and covered a range of issues from the history of the field to researcher existential angst to publishing to future research agendas. Surrounded the talks with delicious food and ended the evening with a screening of The Hammer.

    Day 2: Mary Beth Kitzel gave a presentation on her dissertation research at Bristol’s Centre for Deaf Studies, followed by a short field walk of the university neighbourhood, and a more extensive excursion into the region, including North Somerset, Somerset and Bristol. Highlights included the Cheddar Gorge and Weston-Super-Mare. The evening film screening was The Heart of the Hydrogen Jukebox.

    Day 3. Final Day. Spent morning networking with personnel from Bristol including Dai O’Brien and Donna West. The afternoon was a strategy session for future projects, including The Field School of Deaf Geographies’ curriculum. Delegates departed in the late afternoon.

    All in all, a cracking three days. A HUGE thank you to the Gulliver family, our excellent hosts, for permitting the invasion. I am already looking forward to the next time we convene. If you’re interested in joining us for the next EDGS event, please contact any of the founding organizers: Gill Harold (UC Cork), Mike Gulliver (Bristol), or Mary Beth Kitzel (Sussex).

  • Mike Gulliver 3:15 pm on March 27, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: DEAF space, , , 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 8:35 am on September 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Deaf identity, DEAF space, , 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 9:20 am on September 23, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: capacity, DEAF space, individual, performance, production, representations of space   

    Where’s DEAF space for the individual? 

    A question that’s been rattling around my head since the IBG in London is what is DEAF space for the individual? After all, isn’t it a fundamental part of ‘DEAF’ (particularly as defined by Padden & Humphries as ‘like us’) that it is only really mobilised as part of a collective/community? And isn’t ‘DEAF’ – as a collective term – anathema to individual productions of space?

    I don’t have a full answer – performances of space change so often and in such subtle ways that I’m not sure that there is a single, definitive answer.

    But I think part of the answer is that there a tension between the ‘ideal’ of individual freedom; spaces described on an individual basis – and on a moment by moment, case by case, basis – and the inevitability of what happens when those spaces are represented (either by the person themselves, or by others) and the tensions and codings that get involved at that point.

    Ultimately, there’s nothing extraordinary about the spaces that emerge as a series of people who are physically more visually oriented go about their being-in-the-world – at least, no more extraordinary than any other spaces produced by other individuals who are simply ‘perceiving’ their environment and ‘capabilising’ (!) it accordingly. They are just… spaces.

    That is, until individual capabilities (either mechanical, or existential) become contingent upon also establishing those spaces alongside others. That’s when spaces become grouped, identified as ‘same’, polarised, defined, marked, Othered, valued, devalued.

    It seems to be at that point where ‘human’ breaks down into different categories… ‘DEAF’ perhaps being one of those, alongside ‘hearing’, ‘normal’, ‘same’, ‘different’, ‘safe’, ‘dangerous’ etc.

    Perhaps the key to individual DEAF spaces is the way that those categories then get authored back into an individual’s ‘representations’ of space (to draw on Lefebvre)… and the way that shapes the performance of spaces which would otherwise we produced ‘value free’ by the simple interaction of bodies and environment.

    Something to ponder anyway ;)

  • Mike Gulliver 4:00 pm on June 1, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: architecture, DEAF space, , , hansel bauman, social model of disability, thought experiment, utopics   

    DEAF space or the question of ‘what if’… 

    A problem is looming that is going to only get bigger… Having spent the last 6 or 7 years exploring the way that members of a self-recognising DEAF community produce spaces for being… and called it ‘DEAF space’, another ‘Deaf space’ is emerging which means something different.

    This puts me (or rather, my work) in rather an interesting position; I’m finding that my work is being redefined by a popular expression of something that’s not what I researched at all…

    I have no desire at all to fight over the name…

    Firstly… because I know where Deaf space has come from (the Gallaudet architecture project)… and I know the people involved (notably Hansel Bauman).  I like Hansel and his work… I even shared a platform with him at the recent AAG in Seattle. His work is firmly part of Deaf geographies and he’s a contributor on the DEAF space blogs.

    So… there’s no issue there of telling Hansel that his work is wrong… it’s not… it’s just different.

    Second… I don’t really even know whether ‘DEAF space’ is the best label for what I’ve been researching… see the previous post on boundaries of DEAF space for more on that… (mind you, I don’t know whether ‘Deaf space’ is any good for what Hansel’s been looking at, but it’s as good a name as any other).

    Finally… I’m not really sure that there should be a difference made… after all… all you have to do is look at DEAF space (as I’ve described it… as a space that allows DEAF people to ‘fully be’…) and extend the utopian side of my thinking to a point where DEAF people start to have control over their built environment… and you end up with a Deaf space.

    However, I guess it’s the need to see that linear path of argument, and then to follow it back and forth in a number of directions… and wonder what happens when space veers off it suddenly that makes me uncomfortable… that’s the kind of mental game that academics like to play… but how relevant is it really to the DEAF community?

    That’s where Paddy Ladd’s Deafhood is so good, for all its potential theoretical fragility… it is an easy to grasp concept that really carries weight and moves people to action (or internal evolution), even in a popular form…

    Deaf space as Hansel’s working on it, in a popular form, looks pretty much like what it is… environment designed around a different way of being human… it’s not ‘accommodation’ or ‘access’, it’s the social model of disability flipped around and given to the DEAF community…

    Whereas what I’ve been researching is actually a kind of DEAF utopics… and what I’m moving gradually towards is a utopic theory that not only encompasses DEAF space, but extends that to others who life their lives from within differently able physical bodies…ultimately problematising the ‘DEAF’ of ‘DEAF space’.

    Perhaps I can continue to use DEAF space… but actually start referring to it as only a part of what I research, which is more a kind of multiply sensed, human ‘what if’…

    What transformative power is there though, in something that is necessarily a thought experiment… ?

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