Beyond the hearing line: utopian representations of Flournoy’s Commonwealth

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Throughout history, the framework under which structured languages were theorised overtly excluded signed languages. The peak of such rejection manifested in the so-called Milan Congress, a gathering of educators of the deaf in 1880. 25 years prior to this event, during a particularly auspicious period in Deaf history, Deaf activist John J. Flournoy and educator William W. Turner exchanged letters discussing the former’s wish to create a Deaf Commonwealth. Samuel Porter, the American Annals of the Deaf editor at this time, decided to ask both gentlemen to publish such letters, for their topic was of relevance to the community. Several influential Deaf figures became inspired to contribute to this discussion, particularly Edmund Booth who brought in his perspectives on the possible consequences of a numerous hearing offspring on the success of the project. The desire for the creation of a Deaf Commonwealth is a recurrent utopian projection deriving from Sign Language Peoples. About 130 years after the exchanged letters, the same construct interestingly appears as the topic of Douglas Bullard’s Islay: a novel, an item of Deaf Literature fitting the utopian genre. Longing for a place where Sign Language usage is widespread and Deaf people are granted full accessibility consistently guides narratives emerging from Deaf communities. The notion of a Deaf city, state or country appears in Deaf poems, prose, and films, having become the topic of an interdisciplinary doctoral research, drawing from Culture Studies, Utopian Studies and Deaf Studies, and aiming at defining the innovative concept of Deaftopia.
Idioma originalEnglish
Estado da publicaçãoPublicado - 17 mai. 2019
EventoNew Perspectives: III JRAAS Conference - Faculty of Arts and Humanities of the University of Porto, Porto
Duração: 17 mai. 2019 → …


ConferênciaNew Perspectives: III JRAAS Conference
Período17/05/19 → …

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