Are Deaf people who sign American Sign Language (ASL) an ethnic
group? The People of the Eye paper brings Deaf Studies, History,
Cultural Anthropology, Genetics, Sociology, and Disability Studies
to bear as it compares the values, customs and social organization
of the Deaf World to those in ethnic groups. The common representation
of ASL signers as a disability group is disputed and many other
challenges to Deaf ethnicity are examined. The paper reveals that
Deaf people's preference to marry other Deaf people led to the creation
of Deaf clans in early America and thus to shared ancestry; most
ASL signers are born into the Deaf World and many are kin. The paper
cites some of the potential advantages of recognizing Deaf ethnicity.
Citizenship is a fluid notion, ebbing and flowing depending on the state and nature of society, the resources available to its citizens, and its State ideology. While times have moved on since the writings of T. H. Marshall, a key citizenship theorist in the 1950s who imagined near-(but not total) equality in liberal society at times of social plenty, the concept has continued to be lauded for its implicit progressive nature. That should normally be good news to Deaf people who desire an equal relationship in society in connection to all matters legal, political or social.
In a current climate of austerity measures in liberal democracies, it appears that there are likely to be struggles in promoting social cohesion, with minority and oppressed groups bearing the brunt of cost cutting. The question of the extent of the quality of citizenship suddenly becomes tied into the availability of resources, either private or public. For as long as there is wealth, it seemed that liberal society could gradually afford to include more of its formerly excluded citizens through democratic deliberation. The individual human rights of Deaf children and adults were continually being recognised as universal and natural.
In this paper I will suggest that the changing economic climate
will leave open spaces that challenge individual liberal notions
of Deaf citizenship. Concepts of social citizenship along class
lines or of minority group rights can begin to emerge. Group rights
can shift social policy towards envisioning Deaf citizens as part
of a multicultural citizenship, but there may have to be a conceding
that individual rights of Deaf people have their limitations.
This paper looks at how, traditionally, the Deaf community is an
oppressed group, while BSL/English interpreters, conversely, are
members of the group of people who actually oppress them. The power
dynamic between the BSL/English interpreter and the Deaf person
is therefore affected, leading to issues which may not always be
obvious or understood by either party.
This presentation will commence with a definition of advocacy, before examination of how an advocate and an interpreter can work simultaneously.
At times, some interpreters face reservations on how to work with an advocate. The reason for this is that frequently the interpreter will be multi-tasking (cultural mediation, empowering the Deaf client; in a nut shell, the interpreter often having to fight the Deaf person's corner).
Some interpreters welcome the presence of an advocate and feel much more at ease in the knowledge that they can focus on their primary role, which is to provide a translation and cultural mediation service.
This presentation will exam the reluctance of those interpreters who feel that they cannot release the additional responsibility that the advocate adopts. There are many reasons that this scenario will occur and this presentation will investigate these. The dynamics and success of the advocate's performance will largely depend on the co-operation of the interpreter and this will be explored in more depth.
This presenter will also share some real life case studies, which will be followed by a post-mortem of the events raised. This will be followed by the opportunity to engage in dialogue with the presenter, regarding the results of the analysis.
The presenter will also share some advice and recommendations on
how to work with an advocate. Discussions will also be held regarding,
'identifying' the possible need of an advocates involvement. Sourcing
an advocacy service will also be raised within the presentation.
Not a Charity Case: A discussion on the
use of Western assistance in the development of the interpreting
profession in India by Jennifer Smith & Arun C. Rao
In Deaf Studies, deaf education, and sign language research there is increased attention for research ethics, the involvement of Deaf communities in all stages of the research process, and solution-oriented and applied research that contributes to Deaf community development. There is also increased human rights and "nothing about us without us" awareness among NGOs who are actively working on issues of Deaf community development. It is only through adequate funding and long-term contextualized engagement that Deaf communities can be actively involved in ensuring their well-being and the flourishing of their cultural identities and languages.
However, although both the academic world and the world of non-governmental organizations are oriented towards deaf empowerment, they are still too often "worlds apart". Researchers could benefit from collaboration with NGOs for the application of their research findings - NGOs could benefit from academic resources for capacity building.
Research studies are noticing increasing separation between "educated" and "uneducated" deaf people, cultural constructions that are often related to western views, sometimes also to western sign languages that were imported in education programs founded by missionaries and/or NGOs.
In this workshop we would like to discuss how NGOs, deaf communities,
and academic scholars and research centres can work together in
contributing towards deaf empowerment in developing countries. How
can this collaboration be a mutual exchange of knowledge? How can
national and local sign languages, deaf cultural traditions and
structures, deaf experience and knowledge be included in programs?
How can this exchange of knowledge also be supportive to deaf people's
life trajectories and to solving (structural) problems? We would
also like to collect examples of good practices of partnership between
NGOs, deaf communities, and academic programs.
Goedele De Clerck and Sam Lutalo-Kiingi have been collaborating
on projects related to deaf community empowerment and development
in Sub-Saharan Africa.
It is an irrefutable fact that foreign donors have played and are
still playing a significant role in empowering Africans economically,
educationally and politically. The Deaf community is not an exception.
In fact, it will not be an overstatement to state that in countries
like Ethiopia foreigners played more roles in empowering the Deaf
than the government. This paper discussed the contribution of foreign
aids in empowering Deaf Africans in major aspects of their lives
such as: education, language, culture, health, and economy using
Ethiopia as a case study. The paper also assessed the negative sides
of the aid and points the way forward.
A Deaf Perspective on What Does and Does
Not Make a Good Hearing Citizen by Liz Scully
Previous research exploring interaction in general between Deaf and hearing people is difficult to find since the work of Nash and Nash (1981). Studies have investigated the attitudes of Deaf people specifically toward public services (Kyle et al 2005), access to education (Foster and Walter 1992; Komesaroff 2005) and workplace environments (Young et al 2000; Punch et al 2007). Sign language interpretation, as performed by hearing people, has also been explored to gather feedback from Deaf consumers as to their perceived level of satisfaction (Napier and Barker 2004; Marschark et al 2005).
Using a different strategy, this current study looks at good hearing citizenship in the Deaf world as revealed through the sign choices used to describe hearing people. Focus groups were held with Deaf adult users of American Sign Language, ranging in ages from 19 to 70 years old, in two central Canadian cities. Participants discussed the qualities and knowledge of hearing people that manifest success or failure in adjusting to interactions with Deaf people. Known positive adjectives applied to hearing people were presented for discussion of their use and meaning. Additional lexical items put forth by participants were also recorded.
The 50 signs gathered were analyzed by investigating the metaphoric properties of ASL (Taub 2001, Wilcox 2004). Exploration into the semantics of sign choices describing certain sub-groups (Kleinfeld & Warner 1995) was also employed. Theories from the field of intercultural studies were reviewed to determine their application in identifying the characteristics and knowledge that lead to sociocultural adjustment. The result was a connection between Deaf-hearing encounters and cross-cultural communication research.
This paper summarizes the characteristics, skills and knowledge
that Deaf people value in hearing people. This information will
be useful to hearing people who live with or work along side Deaf
people and those who train them to do so.
A phenomenon that is prevalent in the United States is summer camp.
The American Camping Association, the leading community of
camp professionals and an accrediting entity for over
2,400 camps has stated that their mission is to enrich[..]
the lives of children, youth and adults through the camping experience.
(American Camping Association, 2010) There are day camps (which
transport the campers to and from camp) and sleep-away camps (where
the campers stay overnight on the campgrounds). Some of these camps
cater to a specialty (camp for the arts, sports camp, literacy camp);
some are general camps. The age of the campers can be as young as
3 or 4 (day camps) all the way to 16 or 17 years old. Camps can
last for just a
The concept of role of interpreter as a discrete rigid
construct has been used historically in ways that actually inhibit
(rather than facilitate) interaction amongst participants. For example,
interpreters will often speak of stepping out of role
to rationalise behaviours which, we would argue, are an integral
part of the remit of the interpreter (for example in seeking clarification
from one or more of the interactants). More recently, some researchers
(e.g. Wadensjö, Roy, Metzger, among others) have challenged
these notions and called for an analysis of role that crucially
recognises the presence of the interpreter.
Significant changes in the employment profile of deaf people over
the last 30 years have led to their increased presence in the modern
workforce. Signed language interpreters (SLIs) are now working in
a domain which presents a number of considerable challenges, particularly
in highly complex, multi-party events such as team meetings. Team
meetings can be viewed as a workplace Community of Practice, with
members working towards a common goal or purpose, and having a shared
repertoire which can consist of small talk, humour, jargon and established
discourse norms. These crucial elements of discourse can enable
employees to establish and maintain workplace relationships, reinforce
collegiality, and negotiate interpersonal relationships, as well
as allowing shifts between business talk and social interaction.
Drawing on data from an ethnographic study of signed language interpreting,
this paper will examine an example of interpreted discourse from
a workplace Community of Practice, and will highlight the vital
role the SLI can play this type of interaction. Combining the perspective
of an SLI and an interpreting service user, suggestions will be
made for enhancing the experience of all primary parties in the
Sign Language Interpreters and Education.
A prickly mix? by Andy Owen
Recent research has shown that infants as young as 13 months display
evidence of theory-of-mind abilities in nonverbal violation-of-expectation
tasks. These findings support the position that attribution of false
beliefs is present early in development. However, the preconditions
for false belief attribution in infants have not been documented.
This study investigated the role of conversational input in childrens
ability to track the false beliefs of a cartoon character in computerized
theory of mind tasks. In Experiment 1, we compared 16 to 26-month-olds
who were either hearing or deaf with hearing parents. The results
show that hearing children, but not deaf children, accurately tracked
the search behavior of a character with a false belief.
Research regarding the efficacy of an interpreted education for deaf students has suggested that the practice is fraught with challenges, even when students are provided with highly skilled interpreters. This could be because interpreters only provide the 'illusion' of access in a mainstream setting and in the educational process at times (Winston, 2004); or it may be because many education systems are simply not "interpreter-ready" (Patrie & Taylor, 2008), amongst other factors. In Australia, the vast majority of the practitioners working in education settings around the nation are not certified interpreters; typically receive supervision from personnel ill-equipped to understand and support their role; do not undertake regular skills assessment and performance management activities; and are not provided with tailored training and professional development opportunities relevant to their practice as educational interpreters. This is not to suggest that educational interpreters themselves have not pleaded for more appropriate support structures and working conditions commensurate with the complexity of their job, or that advocates in the Deaf community, deaf students, their families, and educators working with deaf students, have not flagged concerns about the problems inherent in many educational interpreting practices.
A worrying future exists in terms of continuing a widespread approach
to a mediated education for deaf children without more quality assurance
measures in the educational interpreting field. This paper will
report on the innovative process of diagnostic skills analysis and
performance management of a cohort of educational interpreters implemented
by one Australian secondary school for deaf students. The process
of performance evaluation, including observation of interpreted
communication in authentic classroom contexts; skills gap analyses;
modelling and mentoring; tailoring professional development; and
creating professional learning plans for educational interpreters
will be discussed. The paper will also elaborate on the steps taken
in moving the cohort of educational interpreters towards becoming
reflective and reflexive practitioners, with the ultimate aim of
more effective classroom communication and improved future outcomes
for deaf students accessing an interpreted education.
The current study presents novel research on specific language
impairments in deaf children who use British Sign Language (BSL)
as their main language. In phase 1 of our study, a questionnaire
was sent to more than 60 specialist deaf schools and units for deaf
children in the UK regarding children aged between 7 and 14 years
old who had adequate exposure to sign language, but were acquiring
it more slowly than expected in comparison to their peers. Teachers
of the deaf and speech and language therapists responded with around
50 children being referred to the project.
The term video remote interpreting (VRI) refers to the specialist process of interpreting via video technology, where at least one of the participants is in a different location. VRI technology impacts on the communication process and sign language interpreting in several ways, but it has still been identified as a possible effective solution to providing increased access to sign language interpreters, especially for those in regional or rural areas. The use of VRI is the way of the future, so it is imperative that research is conducted to test its feasibility in different settings.
Until this project was conducted in 2010, no research had been conducted on the effectiveness of sign language interpreting services provided through video remote facilities in court. Given the high stakes involved in court proceedings, it is important to analyse the effectiveness of VRI in this context.
This paper will report on a research project commissioned by the
NSW Department of Justice and Attorney General, with the goal to
inform policy about the provision of sign language interpreters
in court remotely via video. Remote access to sign language interpreting
was tested across five key venues and six scenarios involving deaf
people and sign language interpreters. The aim of the project was
to assess the impact of using video remote facilities on the quality
of the interpretations when interpreters or deaf people are in different
locations, and the stakeholder perceptions of their experience in
the different scenarios. Results showed that video remote sign language
interpreting in the court could be effective if either the deaf
people or interpreters were in different locations, but only under
certain conditions, and would not be recommended for all types of
court cases. Findings from the study will be reported, along with
the recommendations that were made to the NSW Department of Justice
and Attorney General. Suggestions for future research and education
of interpreters will also be given to ensure best practice in using
VRI to facilitate communication in court.