Deaf Gain in the Middle Ages: Language, Cognition, Culture
Friday, April 21 at 6pm328 Milbank Hall (Barnard campus)
“This presentation frames the long history of deafness in Western culture through recent theories of “Deaf Gain.” Interdisciplinary research in cognitive linguistics and cultural theory increasingly approaches sign language communication not as a deficiency or lack of speech but rather as a social benefit: a complex embodied modality that affords expansive perceptual awareness (visual, spatial, kinetic, affective, artistic). I consider how monastic sign lexicons and writings by deaf medieval authors theorize the benefits of non-spoken forms of communication, and I ask how medieval texts and visual art can nuance contemporary—and often politicized—framings of Deaf identity in the present.”
Dinner to follow (we will request $15 per person).
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