Deaf Cultural Studies/ASL

ASL Deaf Cultural Studies

Introduction to Deaf Cultural Studies Courses at RIT

RIT offers Deaf Cultural Studies courses to students enrolled in associate and bachelor's degree programs. Courses for associate degree students are offered through the College of NTID, and courses for bachelor's degree students are offered through the RIT College of Liberal Arts. These courses employ a cultural studies framework in which to examine the Deaf experience and social/cultural constructs. As such, the courses do not approach being Deaf as a pathology or disability. In addition to studying Deaf culture, students will develop critical consciousness of power-relationships and social justice as well as an understanding of individual and social identity with specific reference to the Deaf experience. Focusing on the Deaf experience, students will study how meaning is created and shared via the power of cultural institutions and values and how institutions and values impact the formation of identities, social roles and expectations.

The Deaf Cultural Studies minor and immersion offered to students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs through the RIT College of Liberal Arts provides a unique opportunity for RIT students to pursue and critically analyze integrated scholarly studies related to the historical, anthropological, psychosocial, linguistic, artistic, literary, legal/political and multicultural elements of the Deaf experience. The minor and immersion provide students with opportunities to critically examine social and cultural constructions, especially as they impact individuals and social groups. As a result, students may be empowered as agents of social change.

The Study of Deaf Culture

As with the specialized study of most ethnic and disenfranchised groups, RIT Deaf Cultural Studies approaches the field from a cultural perspective. For disenfranchised groups, this means one must study their culture in relation to the more general cultural context. Courses in literary and artistic expressions of members of these groups, for example, must be analyzed in light of the broader context of the experiences of oppression and resistance.

The field of cultural studies focuses on how meaning is created and shared via the power of cultural institutions and values as they impact the formation of identities, social roles and expectations. Cultural studies allows us to examine our social constructions of reality and question subsequent inequalities. In particular, the field of Deaf Cultural Studies crosses many disciplines and includes American Sign Language as a core construct.

Selected Resources

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