The politics of Deaf history – archives May 9, 2013Posted by Mike Gulliver in Musings.
Wednesday, taking advantage of a trip to London, I found myself in the UCL Ear Institute and Action on Hearing Loss archives.
It struck me sitting there, that although I’ve known about that archive for some 10 years, that was the first time I’d ever been in it – and I wondered why.
And I realised that it was because all the way through my time at CDS, although the library was acknowledged as just about the best public archive on deafness in the UK, there was no encouragement to go to it because it was the “RNID” library. (more…)
Lunchtime translation – the 1892 summer fête March 25, 2013Posted by Mike Gulliver in DEAF.
Tags: Lunchtime Translation, summer fête
Prompted by the BSL Pride event, I thought I’d do today’s lunchtime translation on the 1892 summer fête. This was the first, ever, French Deaf summer fête – and originated from an American idea that, by the 1890s, was attracting over 800 Deaf people each year.
The French fête was organised by the Association Amicale, which was (approximately) the BDA of its time, in France anyway – and took place by the Marne river, about 25 miles outside of Paris.
The fête replaced, in some senses, the central function of the Deaf-Mute Banquets. They were specifically designed to be a cross-political event. Started in 1892, they ran through the 1890s, and became progressively important as a symbol of political unity in the Deaf community.
Speeches given at the 1895 event gave rise, directly, to the events of the 1900 Congress in which Deaf people tried to overturn the Milan vote.
But… the 1892 was the first, much smaller, and much more about food.
The first summer fête, of the Association Amicale
(This is not from the Deaf Summer Fête, but it *is* a picture of the lake from the late 19th century. Image from: http://www.akpool.co.uk/postcards/24183207-postcard-varenne-chennevires-val-de-marne-lille-damour)
“Given the enormous distance of the location from Paris, the uncertainty of the weather in the morning, the unemployment of so many Deaf people, and the unfamiliarity of this kind of event, no more than fifteen participants were expected.
However, at 9 in the morning, 37 people followed Monsieur Colas, the first commissaire, from the station, while Messieurs Desperriers and Gaillard waited to bring along stragglers who didn’t turn up until gone 10 o’clock.
At la Varenne-Chennevières, the weather was much better than in Paris. The sun beamed down on the Marne, much to everyone’s general delight.
Arriving at the riverside park, the guests were delighted. From the outside, the hostel providing lunch looked promising. Colas showed us around all the downstairs rooms. They were narrow and low, with lots of alcoves and places to hide, furnished with chairs and tables from times long gone by and decorated with pictures, and prints, and hangings, and porcelain from the 17th and 18th centuries. The kitchen too, and its dishes, harked back to past times.
Out on the terrace, near to the water, the guests paused to have a cool drink before lunch, and a number began to strip off to show off their swimming skills in the Marne. All of sudden, Emile and Henri Mercier, the sons of the great Champagne producer, were seen arriving on their bicycles accompanied by their hearing friends. Having left in the night, they had crossed from Epernay to La Varenne (about 70 miles). They were given a standing ovation for their efforts. And then, only a few moments later, the celebrated photographer M. Pétin arrived from Paris and was similarly congratulated.
Then, a number of participants leaped into the canoes, and began to tear about on the Marne, dodging in and out of the swimmers who included Mr. Alexander who – surprisingly – turned out to be a superb swimmer, and who turned somersaults. Others ran with all haste to the rifle range bravely shouldering their guns.
At last, at one in the afternoon, the games were suspended, and everyone ascended to the top floor room which was set out almost as a painting gallery. The meal was not only delicious, but varied and served with an abundance that you only find in the country. From a loaded table, much was eaten, and much was drunk.
In the middle of the meal, M. Varvéris, and Messieurs Doctor Tchouzlos and Gonopoulos, two very dear friends of the young painter, arrived. Bravos rang out to welcome these representatives of noble Greece.
A quarter of an hour later, M. Larose, the best of Paris’Deaf cyclists arrived covered in dust and dripping with sweat. That same morning, he had been obliged to take part in his club’s races, and only free from 1 o’clock, he had then pointed his bicycle down the road from Paris to Champigny, arriving at Varenne around half past 2. With much congratulation, he was led to one of the places of honour where he was sustained as much by the greetings of his friends as by the food on offer.
Meanwhile the meal had become a great celebration, and there was great gaiety. M. Beaudinot […] made quite an impression on the guests by offering a bouquet of artistically arranged flowers to the ravishing Madame Desperriers, the only lady to have dared to attend the fête from the beginning.
Dessert arrived, and with it a number more Deaf people who – for a variety of reasons – had been prevented from arriving until this point, turned up just in time for coffee. With them, Mademoiselle Marguerite Grégoire, dressed up in her finery, and another pretty young, hearing-speaking lady, the cousin of M. Charles Agnus.
After dessert; speeches. M. Dusuzeau stood upon a chair and with wide, and clear and moving signs, expressed all of the emotion that such a successful first summer fête caused him – from M. Hirsch, and the American M. Tilden (who brought with him a U.S. tradition of summer fêtes with up to 800 attendees), and a pantomime by a M. Goupil.
Then, the table having been cleared, everyone moved outside, to find a shady corner where the entire group could be photographed by M. Desperriers.
That done, Messieurs Henri Mercier, Larole and Pétin, climbed back on their bicycles, and peddled off in the direction of Paris. Emile Mercier and Bizet, having been called away to their own business, had left before the speeches.
M. Dusuzeau, Théobald and most of those there from the Association, returned to catch the train. The commissaries, Messieurs Collas, Despierriers, Mina, Alexander and Gaillard, stayed to settle the bill.
A large number of Deaf people then descended to the river, and climbed into the canoes. The canoes, six of them, containing seven or eight people each, formed a line, and this soon became a competition to see who could go the furthest, fastest. The canoe guided by M. Cambuzat was the first to arrive at the Suey-en-Brie end of the lake. Messieurs Varvéris, and Dr Tchouzlos followed quickly behind. The third, was paddled by Hamar, Baudin and contained Mr Tilden, and Gaillard and Varenne.
At nine in the evening, with night falling majestic and quiet, most of the Deaf people who had remaining at Varenne took a light supper in the restaurants along the Marne. Then, at 11 o’clock, everyone who remained boarded the train, which arrived back in Paris at five minutes past midnight.”
Translated from the Gazette des Sourds Muets, 15th Sept 1892.
Deaf Geographies Workshop – Call for Papers (CFP) March 25, 2013Posted by Mike Gulliver in DEAF.
Tags: FSDG 2013, Field School, Workshop, CFP
This is a *DO NOT MISS* opportunity to be right there, at the first ever international workshop on Deaf Geographies.
And it won’t cost you more than £50!!
Please read this Call For Papers below, and if you can contribute, get in touch with Mary Beth at this email: firstname.lastname@example.org
I hope to see you there!
As I hope you already have heard The Bader International Study Centre of Queen’s University (Canada) will be hosting the inaugural Field School of Deaf Geographies (FSDG) for undergraduate students from 17th June to 15th July. The school will be held in the picturesque setting of Queen University’s (Canada) picturesque Herstmonceux Castle, situated in East Sussex. I am writing today to invite you to the school’s culminating experience a three-day academic workshop, the FSDG Workshop, 12-14 July, 2013.
FSDG’s curriculum has a dual focus on both human geographical perspectives on the history of Deaf space, as well as on the theory and methods of human geography. The fundamental learning goals of the field school are to thoughtfully and critically engage with Human Geography from a Deaf cultural perspective, and to encourage the enthusiasm and efforts of new researchers at all levels of study in this exciting new area of research.
The FSDG Workshop will bring together those from around the world whose research – past and present – engages with the themes of Deaf Geographies. It will be structured as per the format of an academic conference during which professional researchers will present on a chosen aspect of their research in the field of Deaf Geographies. Further to this, the workshop will provide the students who have participated in the field school with the opportunity to present the findings from their research projects, and to collect feedback from the visiting academics.
The Workshop will provide an invaluable forum where all those interested can connect with the growing network of Deaf Geographies and appreciate the diversity of expertise that is emanating from a broad array of disciplinary perspectives in the humanities and social sciences. Critically, the workshop will afford participants the opportunity to participate in important discussions around the present contexts of Deaf Geographies and to generate important questions around the futures of the field. The activities* of the three-day event will be structured as follows:
Day 1: 12 JULY
Morning Arrival at Herstmonceux Castle, Orientation, Conference registration
Afternoon Keynote Conference Address, Student research presentations
Evening Dinner and Headless Drummer
Day 2: 13 JULY
Morning Conference Panel – Theme 1
Afternoon Excursion TBA
Evening Dinner and social event
Day 3: 14 JULY
Morning Conference Panel – Theme 2
Afternoon Breakout sessions on the topic of ‘Deaf Geographies – Futures, Challenges and Opportunities’
Evening Roundtable discussion ‘Deaf Geographies’ Futures’ . Official Workshop Close
*subject to change.
We are hereby calling on those academics whose work intersects with Deaf Geographies to submit abstracts for papers to be featured in the panel discussions of the Field School workshop. Abstracts are to be between 200 and 250 words, and are to be submitted to Mary Beth Kitzel, Field School Director (contact details as below) by Friday 30th March 2013.
Accommodation, including meals, is available on site at the reasonable rate without VAT: £10.50 per person/£15.30 with spouse, per night. Participants will need additional funds for personal spending, entertainment, insurance, and transport to/from the UK.
Sign language interpreters available on request.
I’ve attached a copy of the field school flyer for you to share with your students. For further details about the school, check our website at www.queensu.ca/bisc <http://www.queensu.ca/bisc> or contact me (information below). Thanks for spreading the word.
We hope you will consider joining us in for these exciting three days this summer. We look forward to hearing from you.
Feel free to share this invitation with interested parties.
Early Day Motion – reworded March 21, 2013Posted by Mike Gulliver in Musings.
Tags: BSL Act, EDM, Government
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Motivated by the Limping Chicken news that “31 MPs from the major parties have called on the government to do more to support BSL users across public services”, and in response to the extremely polite, somewhat misleading, and half-way house EDM which – really – misses the core point that BSL recognition simply hasn’t happened properly yet, here’s my rewording:
That this House joins the British Deaf Association, the Royal Association for Deaf People and Signature in celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Government’s official recognition of (the linguistic validity of) British Sign Language (BSL) on 18 March 2003; notes that (many of the organisations that originally participated in the BSL recognition campaign, and the Deaf community itself are unrepresented in this list due to their belief that no sufficient recognition was forthcoming; further notes that) BSL is used by many (tens of) thousands of deaf people (and many hearing people) as their first or preferred language alongside (and often instead of) English; further notes that BSL users still find it hard to access (even the most basic) health, education and other services as well as employment due to a lack of public awareness and interpreters; further notes that (this basic lack of access also extends to BSL user’s ability to contest their own lack of access; further notes that lack of public awareness has not been improved by the Government’s own failure to correctly represent the nature of BSL which, despite its linguistic rhetoric, it still administers as a ‘communication tool’; further notes that the Government’s funding for the encouragement of BSL and for raising awareness not only largely missed the point but was often perceived as divisive; further notes that any recognition of BSL that does not provide its users with the same rights as users of other indigenous languages of the British Isles: English, Welsh, Gaelic, is without value, and falls short of requirement; further notes that a full recognition of BSL would not only celebrate a language and empower its users, but more widely reveal the creative communicative potential of the UK citizenry, and radically transform undersatnding of the linguistic heritage of our nation; further notes that) some good work is being done by different Government departments to support BSL users but that this is piecemeal (and increasingly under threat from ongoing attempts to constrain disability-related budgetary spending, which should not impact cultural or linguistic provision) and not co-ordinated; urges the Government to (recognise its legal obligations under the UNCRPD and) renew its efforts in this direction in 2013; and calls on the Government to (identify in an initial consultation with ALL parties concerned, and not only its traditional advisor organisations, who it should be listening to, and then) prepare a short, cross-departmental report which pulls together all that it is currently doing to support BSL users (, details how those users actually view the support provided) and to identify (and address with all haste) the barriers that still remain to (both governmental and public understanding of BSL and of the Deaf community, preventing) BSL users’ full participation in, and contribution to, British society.
BSL ‘recognition’ – ten years on March 19, 2013Posted by Mike Gulliver in Musings.
Tags: 2003, BSL Act, BSL recognition, Spit the Dummy, tenth anniversary
(Image, from http://www.grumpyoldeafies.com/2008/03/the_5th_anniversary_of_apathy.html, a post worth reading in its own right)
So, yesterday was the tenth anniversary of the recognition of BSL by the UK government, of the provision of a £1.5 million support fund to encourage BSL, and of the successful end of the BSL recognition campaign.
Not really. It was the tenth anniversary of one of the most damaging gagging manoeuvres ever pulled on the Deaf community in the UK. (more…)
Deafscape, and early Deaf Geographies articles March 1, 2013Posted by Mike Gulliver in Musings.
Tags: Deaf Geographies, Deafscape, Work in progress
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By happy chance, in looking for material for another presentation, I dug out the original Deafscape articles that I wrote in 2005, and an introduction to Deaf Geographies from (about) 2007.
I’ve created an ‘articles’ page, to which I’ll add other papers etc. as they arise.
Reading through them, it strikes me how much my thinking on some of this has changed… in particular how less sure I am about categorical statements of any sort. But they do make a nice little corpus of ‘early’ Deaf geographical thinking.
Deaf Geographies presentations – Heriot Watt, 5th and 6th March. February 19, 2013Posted by Mike Gulliver in DEAF.
Tags: DEAF, Deaf Geographies, Heriot Watt, Presentations
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In case anyone is interested – I’ll be presenting at Heriot Watt in March.
On the 5th, I’ll be at EdSign – https://sites.google.com/site/edsignlectures/ presenting on
Deaf space – a tool for Deaf community empowerment
Imagine for a moment that, somewhere in the world, there was a continent where visual communication was the norm, and where deaf and hearing communicated by sign… where homes and streets and workplaces were based on visual lives, communications technology was visual first, and where knowledge was stored in books written in a form of sign… where national language differences were easy to overcome, and where visual communication rules defined conversation, business and politics.
Imagine, for a moment, the impact that discovering a continent like that would have on our assumptions about what it means to be ‘deaf’… or ‘disabled’.
My talk explores some of these ideas, and looks at how the idea of a ‘Deaf space’ can be used as a tool for Deaf community empowerment.
On the 6th, I’ll be at the university – presenting on
Deaf Geographies: an emerging field
Signing Deaf people do not primarily describe themselves as those disabled by an inability to access hearing spaces. Rather, they inhabit Deaf spaces that are produced as regular contexts such as community centres, long-term Deaf families and schools for deaf children, and irregular opportunities such as national and international Deaf meetings allow opportunities to come together, author Deaf languages and cultures, and transmit them from one generation to the next.
Research into the Geographies of this Deaf community have recently emerged as one of the most exciting, developing areas of Human Geography: drawing together fields such as embodiment, performances of the environment, communication and sensescapes and viewing these through the eyes of a community who perform their cultural and social geographies in the visual.
This presentation outlines the emergence of Deaf Geographies, and explores ways in which geographical approaches based on the production of ‘Deaf spaces’ both compliment, and interrogate more traditional identity-based models of Deaf community.
I’m not sure if the Deaf Geographies presentation is open to the public…
Deaf-mute Banquet 1836 – ongoing January 24, 2013Posted by Mike Gulliver in DEAF, DEAF history, Musings.
Tags: detective, google maps, history, le veau qui tette, street view.
Yesterday morning, a fit of coughing drove me out of bed at a quarter to six.
It’s amazing what you can get done when the kids are still asleep, and when you’re driven by otherwise-boredom.
I’ve updated the translation of the 1836 banquet, to include pages 34, 35 and most of 36 (the first part of Berthier’s speech).
I’ve started slotting this into a bilingual document, in line with the previous years:
I’ll not reproduce it all here. Instead I’m going to start unpacking some things that I’ve found interesting.
Starting with where the Banquets took place.
1836 is the last year to meet at the ‘Great restaurant in the Place du Châtelet’ named as ‘le Veau qui Tette’ [The suckling calf] – from 1837, they moved on to Ladmiral’s in the Rue Sainte Marguerite, in Saint German.
Let’s see where the Veau qui Tette is in Paris, and what it looks like now. (more…)
Field School in Deaf Geographies January 11, 2013Posted by Mike Gulliver in Musings.
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The Bader International Study Centre of Queen’s University (Canada) announces an innovative new Field School in Deaf Geographies to be offered during the summer of 2013. The very first of its kind, this exciting opportunity is an intensive five-week, six credit unit programme, allowing students to engage with analytical and theoretical frameworks within Human Geography, Social Science Research Methods, and European Deaf History.
Deaf-Mute Banquet (Paris) 1836 – Translation started January 9, 2013Posted by Mike Gulliver in DEAF, DEAF history, Translations.
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Having let the blog grow cold at the end of 2012 for a number of reasons… I’ve started overhauling it, and will be posting to it again.
The first thing to dust off are the ongoing translations of the banquets, which have so far reached this stage:
- Introduction to 1842 publication (French / English)
- Banquet 1834
- Banquet 1835
- Banquet 1836 – In progress.
Working from the 1836 French transcription, thus far, I’m about three pages (in the original) into the translation.
You can either view a pdf of the English translation so far or read down.
It’s unpolished, but comments or questions are welcome. (more…)