This public presentation explores the anti-peddling campaigns undertaken by a group of elite American deaf people during the late nineteenth until the mid-twentieth century. As historian Octavian Robinson demonstrates, whiteness, class, masculinity, disability and nondisability converged with language politics in this campaign to influence American public policy governing the presence of disabled bodies in public spaces. For many deaf leaders, economic and class issues embodied by peddling were inherently caught up with ideas about privileges and power held by nondisabled (“hear- ing”) white America. This close study of anti-peddling campaigns challenges dominant interpretations in Deaf studies that present deafness as a singular and primary identity, rather than intersectional and contextual. Robinson’s more complex depiction of this story ultimately complicates dominant representations of deafness in American history, too. Rather than objects of charity or a monolithic (diagnostic) category, deaf people are presented as diverse, active agents, engaged in critical struggles about power, language, and identity.
ASL interpreting will be provided
This event is co-sponsored by the American Studies Spiegel Family Fund, Ana Martinez Lage Linguistics Fund, Center for the Comparative Study of Race and Ethnicity, Chellis House Women’s Resource Center, History Department, Language Schools, Program in Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies, and the Program in Linguistics
- Sponsored by:
- Language Schools; History; American Studies; Center for Comparative Study of Race & Ethnicity; Linguistics; Gender, Sexuality, & Fem Studies