Preface: the Expressions of Deafhood Project

This online multimedia site, HeART of Deaf Culture: Literary and Artistic Expressions of Deafhood, is designed to be a visual textbook for Deaf Cultural Studies programs which can be utilized in a variety of courses. Along with a history/overview section, the Project is organized into major categories of artistic and literary works: ASL literature (such as poetry, folklore, storytelling, and ABC stories), English literature (including poetry, prose, and short stories), Deaf Theatre (including performance and Deaf plays), Deaf visual art, and Deaf cinema.  In-depth interviews with scholars and artists are also included.  Each section contains English text summaries/translations of these interviews and other materials in ASL. Most of the ASL literary and Deaf cinema works do not have translations in order to preserve their artistic authenticity and to honor the creators’ request.

As a Deaf Cultural Studies visual textbook, instructors can sample the different genres in an introductory Deaf Cultural Studies course. Additionally, extensive material in each genre may be used for specialized courses in Deaf history, ASL literature, English literature, Deaf Visual Art, Deaf theatre, and Deaf cinema. Because it is often labor intensive for instructors to find materials about the Deaf experience and these materials are often not readily available for students to access outside of the classroom, we have sought to compile a collection of top quality works about the Deaf experience. It is our hope that the materials can be used for several different courses and will become part of the students’ permanent personal libraries.

We have been extremely fortunate in this endeavor as many of the works reproduced here and commentary about them has been the result of the great generosity of Deaf literary, visual and performing artists as well as educators. At the same time, we have had to accept a great number of limitations, which have prohibited us from being able to share all the wonderful artistic expressions we have found related to the Deaf experience. It is our earnest hope that this Expressions Project will serve as an inspiration for the creation of new works representing and examining Deafhood.

The Expressions of Deafhood Project is intended to encourage an examination of those artistic and literary works that specifically address the Deaf experience. Of course, there have been many important works by notable Deaf writers, performers, and artists that do not address the Deaf experience or transmission of the essential characteristics of Deaf culture. While range of content and themes in artistic expression by Deaf people is truly valuable, many fall outside the scope of this project. For those seeking a broader view of the arts, a number of other outstanding publications exist such as Deaf Artists in America: Colonial to Contemporary by Deborah Sonnenstrahl and Deaf American Literature: From Carnival to the Canon by Cynthia Peters. These texts are comprehensive resources related to visual art and literature by Deaf individuals, and include works conveying a wide variety of themes.

As with the arts of other cultural groups, these various artworks have served as keepers of the culture, transmitting the language, values, norms of behavior, and traditions of Deaf people. Hence, the ARTS often capture and represent the heart of Deaf culture.

Disclaimer/Copyright:

The views, opinions, and statements expressed in this project by individual commentators, artists and their works are strictly those of the individual(s). They may or may not agree or conform with the personal views and opinions of the producers/editors and do not imply an endorsement by the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of Technology.

The copyright of artistic works used in this project remains with the artist(s), her/his estate, and/or the production company in which the works appear.

HOW TO USE THIS VISUAL TEXTBOOK:

To contact us, please email us at paddhdnull@nullritnull.edu

  1. This Project contains a huge volume of material. A complete Table of Contents is located on the home page the bottom of your screen.
  2. To go “back” in the HeART project look for the X, usually in bottom right hand corner. Also, clicking the top left logo for the HeART of Deaf Culture will route you back to the main menu page.
  3. Use the pause button on videos for longer time to read text or for longer viewing of an artwork.
  4. In the English Literature / Sample Works / Poetry section, please note that poems marked ** have interactivity – see top blue bars above the poem for the menu. See screen shot below:
  5. Click Show Annotations one of the blue boxes in the top menu. Click on the numbered annotated sections that appear in green print and a box will appear with an explanation. See screen shot below:
  6. Click the Analysis of Structure top menu blue button and you will have another menu bar of options above the title of the poem  such as StructureForm/Style, Rhyme, or Rhythm. Sample from the Rhyme option is shown below:
  7. In the Visual Arts / Sample Works / Interactive Artwork section , note that there is a special interactivity function. When viewing an artwork, you will see a grey-scaled thumbnail of it with red dots. These dots indicate the areas where a detailed image and a text-box will appear if you put your mouse over that area.
  8. If you want to highlight the red dots on the artwork click the “show active areas” button.  See the red arrow below with the cursor pointer to know where to click.
  9. After your mouse opens up a red dot site, a textbox will appear with an explanation of the imagery and meaning. A sample appears below:
  10. If you want to see other artists’ works in this interactive section, click the “See more artists” button” for a dropdown menu of other artists to select from. (See red arrow with cursor pointer in below image)

Acknowledgements


“Gratitude is the memory of the heart”

—Jean Massieu

Grateful thanks is expressed to the many generous artists, poets, performers, and writers (those still creating and those who have passed on) whose work appears in this project:

Visual Artists:

Iris Aranda

Chuck Baird

Claire Bergman

Delora Bertsch

David Bloch

Sander Blondeel

Morris Broderson

Jean Boutcher

Uzi Buzgalo

David Call

Won Suk Chung

Suellen Cupp

Randy Dunham

Susan Dupor

Patti Durr

Allen Ford

Michael Freeman

Randy Garber

Jenny Geller

Johnston Grindstaff

Sandy Inches

Lee Ivey

Paul Johnston

Tim Kettering

Maureen Klusza

Leon Lim

Thad Martin

Tony Landon McGregor

Betty G. Miller

Ralph Miller

Warren Miller

Mary Rappazzo

Shawn Richardson

Nancy Rourke

Jon Savage

Rita Straubhaar

Ann Silver

Eddie Swayze

Robin Taylor

Mary Thornley

Bernard Truffaut

Robert Walker

Charles Wildbank

Alex Wilhite

Harry Williams

Pamela Witcher

Guy Wonder

ASL Literary Artists:

Peter Cook

Patrick Graybill

Kristine Hall

John B. Hotchkiss

Ben Jarashow

Ruthie Jordan

Bonnie Kramer

Ella Mae Lentz

Nathie Marbury

Robert McGregor

Debbie Rennie

Clayton Valli

George Veditz

Erik Witteborg

English Literary Artists:

Elizabeth Allen

Alison L. Aubrecht

Albert Ballin

Douglas Bullard

Karen Christie

John Lee Clark

Guie Leo Deliglo Cooke

Pierre Desloges

Donald A. Gruskin

Leo M. Jacobs

Adele M. Jewel

Aaron Weir Kelsone

Emmanuelle Laborit

J. Schulyer Long

Raymond Luczak

James Frederick Meagher

Kristi B. Merriweather

Dorothy Miles

Margaret Prescott Montague

James Nack

Lawrence Neumann

Robert F. Panara

Colleen Ryan

Curtis Robbins

Warren Milton Smaltz

Julie Rems-Smario

Thomas S. and James P. Spradley

Louise Stern

Alice Terry

Madan Vasishta

George Veditz

Julius Wiggins

Mary Herring Wright

Performers, Playwrights, and Theatre companies:

Stephen Baldwin

Alan Barwiolek

Eugene Bergman

Bernard Bragg

Willy Conley

Peter Cook

Patti Durr

Gilbert Eastman

Isias Eaton

Patrick Graybill

Thomas K. Holcomb

Monique Holt

Paddy Ladd

Kenny Lerner

Raymond Luczak

J. Charlie McKinney

Patrick “Pax” McCarthy

Mark Medoff

Mary Beth Miller

Shanny Mow

Robert Panara

Center Stage

Fairmount Theatre of the Deaf

Flying Words Project

Lights On! Deaf Theatre

The National Theatre of the Deaf

National Technical Institute for the Deaf Performing Arts Department and Faculty

Show of Hands Theatre

Filmmakers:

Ben Bahan

H-Dirksen Bauman

Wayne Betts, Jr.

Ryan Commerson

Julia Dameron

Roxanne Dummett

Patti Durr

Rebecca Freund

Andrew Jones

Ruthie Jordan

Aaron Kelstone

Charles Krauel

David Kurs

Alice Lo

Melissa Malzkuhn

Adrean Mangiardi

Facundo Montenegro

National Association of the Deaf

Jon Savage

Lizzie Sorkin

Frank Stiefel

Ted Supalla

Chad Taylor

George W. Veditz

Jenny Witteborg

Interviewees:

Eugene Bergman

Wayne Betts, Jr.

MJ Bienvenu

Bernard Bragg

John Lee Clark

Ryan Commerson

Willy Conley

Nancy Creighton

Paul Johnston

Paddy Ladd

Ella Mae Lentz

Kristi B. Merriweather

Betty G. Miller

Brenda Schertz

Chad Taylor

Special thanks to….

The Blessings Bookclub (Jackie Schertz, Patrick Graybill and Dorothy M. Wilkins)

Joseph Bochner

Laurie Brewer

Gerard Buckley

The Christie Kinfolk

Jim DeCaro

Clare Dygert

The Durr-Jacobs Clan

Jeannette Giagios

Carolyn Hayes

Alan Hurwitz and his team (Don Beil, Karen Hopkins, Jeff Porter)

Stephen Jacobs

Zoe and Noah Durr Jacobs

Ken Kelbaugh

Harlan Lane

Susan Murad

Joan Naturale

NTID’s Department of Cultural and Creative Studies

Ivey Wallace

….and of course, our students

Credits for the HeART of Deaf Culture Project

Many thanks to our team:

Cathy Clarke (interactive DVD designer)

Alan Cutcliffe (design for marketing)

Don Feigel (camera and studio)

Stephen Jacobs (advisor)

Ruthie Jordan (interview editing)

Susan Murad (marketing)

Joan Naturale (librarian/researcher)

Joseph Pietruch (interview DVD programmer)

Brian Thuringer (portrait artist)

Simon Ting (interactive DVD programming)

Center on Access Technology (Redesign Team)

Talents:

Kamau Buchanan

Guillaume Chastel

Ruthie Jordan

Dorothy M. Wilkins

The following individuals, organizations and companies have granted us permission to use works in this project:

Frances Eaton for permission to use Clayton Valli’s works

William E. Hanson for permission to use Guie Deliglio Cooke’s works

Ruth C. Hoffman for permission to use Poetry in the Palm of Your Hand documents

Miriam Lerner for permission to use her raw interview of Ella Mae Lentz, videotaped by Don Feigel from the Heart of the Hydrogen Jukebox and for permission to use footage from the 1987 ASL Poetry Conference

Don Read for permission to use Dorothy Miles’ works

Susan Rutherford/DEAF Media for permission to use clips from American Deaf Culture: The Deaf Perspective

Adele Wiggins for permission to use excerpts from Julius Wiggins’ work

American School for the Deaf Archives

Creative Arts Television

DawnSignPress

Forest Books/Deaf Worlds

Gallaudet University Archives

Gallaudet University Library

Gallaudet University Press

Granta

Harvard University Press

Joyce Media

National Association of the Deaf

Paradigm Agency

Sign Media Inc.

Utah Valley State College

Visual Anthropology Review

End User Product License Agreement

IMPORTANT-READ THESE TERMS CAREFULLY BEFORE DOWNLOADING THE HEART OF DEAF CULTURE.  BY DOWNLOADING OR USING THIS PRODUCT, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU HAVE READ THIS LICENSE AGREEMENT, THAT YOU UNDERSTAND IT, AND THAT YOU AGREE TO BE BOUND BY ITS TERMS. IF YOU DO NOT AGREE TO THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS OF THIS LICENSE AGREEMENT, PROMPTLY EXIT THIS PAGE WITHOUT DOWNLOADING THE PRODUCT.

1. Grant of License for Registered Users

Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) grants you a non-exclusive, non-transferable license to use the program with which this license is distributed (the “Product”), including any documentation files accompanying the Product (“Documentation”) on a single server (if the Product is server based) or personal computer to support up to the number of simultaneous users for which you have paid the license fee, and to make one backup copy of the Product, provided that: (i) the Product is installed on only one server or personal computer; (ii) the Product is NOT modified; (iii) all copyright notices are maintained on the Product; and (iv) you agree to be bound by the terms of this License Agreement. The Product and Documentation shall be used only by you, only for your own personal use and not in the operation of a service bureau or for the benefit of any other person or entity.

2. Ownership

You have no ownership rights in the Product. Rather, you have a license to use the Product as long as this License Agreement remains in full force and effect. Ownership of the Product, Documentation and all intellectual property rights therein shall remain at all times with Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). Any other use of the Product by any person, business, corporation, government organization or any other entity is strictly forbidden and is a violation of this License Agreement.

3. Copyright

The Product and Documentation contain material that is protected by United States Copyright Law and trade secret law, and by international treaty provisions. All rights not granted to you herein are expressly reserved by Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). You may not remove any proprietary notice of Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) from any copy of the Product or Documentation.

4. Restrictions

You may not publish, display, disclose, rent, lease, modify, loan, distribute, or create derivative works based on the Product or any part thereof. You may not reverse engineer, decompile, translate, adapt, or disassemble the Product, nor shall you attempt to create the source code from the object code for the Product. You may not transmit the Product over any network or between any devices, although you may use the Product to make such transmissions of other materials. You may transfer the Product to other computers you own as long as you only use it on one computer at a time.

5. Confidentiality

You acknowledge that the Product contains proprietary trade secrets of Rochester Institute of Technology and you hereby agree to maintain the confidentiality of the Product using at least as great a degree of care as you use to maintain the confidentiality of your own most confidential information.

6. Limited Warranty

ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (RIT) WARRANTS FOR A PERIOD OF NINETY(90) DAYS AFTER PURCHASE THAT THE PRODUCT WILL OPERATE SUBSTANTIALLY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DOCUMENTATION. SHOULD THE PRODUCT NOT SO OPERATE, YOUR EXCLUSIVE REMEDY, AND ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY’S SOLE OBLIGATION UNDER THIS WARRANTY, SHALL BE, AT RIT’S SOLE DISCRETION, CORRECTION OF THE DEFECT OR REFUND OF THE PURCHASE PRICE PAID FOR THE PRODUCT. ANY USE BY YOU OF THE PRODUCT IS AT YOUR OWN RISK. THIS LIMITED WARRANTY IS THE ONLY WARRANTY PROVIDED BY ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (RIT) REGARDING THE PRODUCT. EXCEPT FOR THE LIMITED WARRANTY ABOVE, THE PRODUCT IS PROVIDED “AS IS.” TO THE MAXIMUM EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW, ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (RIT) DISCLAIMS ALL OTHER WARRANTIES OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. ROCHESTER INSTIUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (RIT) DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE FUNCTIONS CONTAINED IN THE PRODUCT WILL MEET ANY REQUIREMENTS OR NEEDS YOU MAY HAVE, OR THAT THE PRODUCT WILL OPERATE ERROR FREE, OR IN AN UNINTERRUPTED FASHION, OR THAT ANY DEFECTS OR ERRORS IN THE PRODUCT WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE PRODUCT IS COMPATIBLE WITH ANY PARTICULAR PLATFORM. SOME JURISDICTIONS DO NOT ALLOW THE WAIVER OR EXCLUSION OF IMPLIED WARRANTIES SO THEY MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

7. Limitation of Liability

IN NO EVENT WILL ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (RIT) BE LIABLE TO YOU OR ANY THIRD PARTY FOR ANY INCIDENTAL OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, OR EXEMPLARY DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF BUSINESS, LOSS OF PROFITS, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, OR LOSS OF BUSINESS INFORMATION) ARISING OUT OF THE USE OF OR INABILITY TO USE THE PROGRAM, OR FOR ANY CLAIM BY ANY OTHER PARTY, EVEN IF ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (RIT) HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. RIT’S AGGREGATE LIABILITY WITH RESPECT TO ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER THIS AGREEMENT OR OTHERWISE WITH RESPECT TO THE PRODUCT AND DOCUMENTATION OR OTHERWISE SHALL NOT EXCEED THE AMOUNT OF THE LICENSE FEE PAID BY YOU FOR THE PRODUCT AND DOCUMENTATION. BECAUSE SOME STATES/COUNTRIES DO NOT ALLOW THE EXCLUSION OR LIMITATION OF LIABILITY FOR CONSEQUENTIAL OR INCIDENTAL DAMAGES, THE ABOVE LIMITATION MAY NOT APPLY TO YOU.

8. Export Restrictions

THIS LICENSE AGREEMENT IS EXPRESSLY MADE SUBJECT TO ANY LAWS, REGULATIONS, ORDERS, OR OTHER RESTRICTIONS ON THE EXPORT FROM THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA OF THE PRODUCT OR INFORMATION ABOUT SUCH PRODUCT WHICH MAY BE IMPOSED FROM TIME TO TIME BY THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. YOU SHALL NOT EXPORT THE PRODUCT, DOCUMENTATION, OR INFORMATION ABOUT THE PRODUCT AND DOCUMENTATION WITHOUT CONSENT OF ROCHESTER INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY (RIT) AND COMPLIANCE WITH SUCH LAWS, REGULATIONS, ORDERS, OR OTHER RESTRICTIONS.

9. Termination

This License Agreement is effective until it is terminated. You may terminate this License Agreement at any time by destroying or returning to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) all copies of the Product and Documentation in your possession or under your control. Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) may terminate this License Agreement for any reason, including, but not limited to, if Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT)finds that you have violated any of the terms of this License Agreement. Upon notification of termination, you agree to destroy or return to Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) all copies of the Product and Documentation and to certify in writing that all known copies, including backup copies, have been destroyed. All provisions relating to confidentiality, proprietary rights, and non-disclosure shall survive the termination of this Product License Agreement.

10. General

This License Agreement shall be construed, interpreted and governed by the laws of the State of New York without regard to conflicts of law provisions thereof. The exclusive forum for any disputes arising out of or relating to this License Agreement shall be an appropriate federal or state court sitting in Monroe County, State of New York, USA. This License Agreement shall constitute the entire Agreement between the parties hereto. Any waiver or modification of this License Agreement shall only be effective if it is in writing and signed by both parties hereto. If any part of this License Agreement is found invalid or unenforceable by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remainder of this License Agreement shall be interpreted so as to reasonably effect the intention of the parties.