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Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking


Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking by H-Dirksen L. Bauman Product Details
Univ Of Minnesota Press | 308 pages | PDF | 2 MB

This book was born out of the Deaf Studies Think Tank, a three-day symposium in the summer of 2002 sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Gallaudet University’s Provost’s Offi ce, and the Gallaudet Research Institute. The Deaf Studies Think Tank convened twenty scholars to debate, discuss, and explore the issues and implications of the fi eld of Deaf Studies. The Think Tank was scheduled in the three days preceding Deaf Way II, an international celebration of Deaf scholarship, arts, performance, advocacy, and development attended by more than nine thousand people from 121 nations.

We met in the circular Gallaudet University Board Room, designed specifi cally for the visual orientation of signing. Yet we would not remain in that room for the duration of the event. Just after the opening address of the Think Tank, the power went out. We hoped this was nothing more than a blink in the local power grid, but it was no blink: the local grid was asleep. The entire campus was out of power and would remain that way for the following thirty hours. So we made do. Plans changed.

We wandered in the hazy, sweltering heat to the nearby Washburn Art Building, which was bathed in afternoon light and featured a great number of works by Deaf artists from all over the world. In one work by Chuck Baird, welded pipes contorted into handshapes, resembling a language of hieroglyphic copper just out of reach of decipherment. In its own enigmatic way, Baird’s work, titled fi ngerspelling, seemed to make sense of the blackout. These medusa-like fi ngers pointed in new and unexpected directions. They reminded us that taking an unexpected path may lead to new sights and new insights.


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