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Course Outline

greenpin.gif (1016 bytes) Introduction

greenpin.gif (1016 bytes) Part 1: How To Begin a Deaf History and Culture

In this part of the course, we will introduce the idea of history and why it is important for deaf people. This part is designed to make you think about history in general and challenges you to try to interpret information - not just to accept it as true because it has been written. You will need about 6 hours for this part.

greenpin.gif (1016 bytes) Part 2: Historial Fact in Deafness

The second part of the course considers the history of deafness and deaf people as we know it from the writings which have appeared in the literature. The vast majority of these were written by hearing people. We have to discover what are the important features of this and be able to weigh up the facts which are missing in these accounts. For this part you will need time to watch the videotapes and you will need to read some of the books on the history of deafness. There are copies in our library, in the resource room and there are many other sources such as the papers which are kept in deaf schools and in deaf clubs. You will need 12 - 20 hours for this part.

greenpin.gif (1016 bytes) Part 3: Famous Deaf People

In the third section we examine what we can find out about famous deaf people. It used to be that there were none of these available but now there is much more interest. You will find references to important books which tell us a great deal about what deaf people were like in the old days. In this part we will also discuss how to interview old deaf people and how to record what they have to tell us. The famous deaf people part will cover deaf people, or events, or school’s histories ad how the lives of deaf people were involved. This idea of getting deaf people to explain their views will appear again later in the context of culture. We will hope to provide stories by deaf people on video which explain about their lives but this is not yet ready and will have to be sent out later. This is a very big section and some people will spend a lot of time thinking and working on this. You should aim to use a minimum of 20 hours but a maximum of 40 hours.

greenpin.gif (1016 bytes) Part 4: Deaf History to Culture

In the fourth section we will make the bridge between history and culture. When we think of ourselves and our culture we are describing our identities and our behaviour. These are based partly in our experiences and partly on what we think we are. This second part comes from our knowledge of history. History is the past, but it is us in the past. That is what is so exciting. Just which us we are is the aspect which we must establish.

We will then go on to talk about culture and what it is for deaf people. There are examples of deaf behaviour and there are practical exercises to work on the way deaf people have rules for what they do. Again this could take a lot of your effort to think about. However, we predict about 15 hours for this work. This work will help to prepare for the assignment part.

greenpin.gif (1016 bytes) Part 5: Deaf Culture to its Roots

Now we want to discuss Deafhood - the feeling of being deaf and all the components - experience, culture, language. After many hundreds of years of denying its existence, the opportunity has arisen to try to explore it. Deaf people should know much of this section from their own experiences and feelings. But it will still need a good deal of thinking. Allow 10-15 hours.

You will have a chance to prepare for the assignment through the optional tutorials. The tutorials will cover different aspects of the way in which you study and how to research deaf history. It will deal with the methods.

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Activities: It is hard to make specific demands for homework when the course has a distance component - so it is nearly all homework! But there are actions and researches you can carry out which will help you in this study. Here are some examples.

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Read a section of Jackson’s book on British Deaf Heritage (you should really read this all the way through, so you could buy it or use some extracts in our resource room) and prepare a report on it for the group. You should be prepared to explain what you have found. Pay particular attention to the question of whether the accounts represent what deaf people were like or whether they are all to do with what hearing people thought of deaf people.

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Enjoy the course!

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This course was prepared by
Centre for Deaf Studies
1997 Centre for Deaf Studies
University of Bristol
This course was funded under
the FORUM Project
in the EU Horizon Programme