We cannot verify your location
Browse Book and Journal Content on Project MUSE

Women and Deafness

Double Visions

Brenda Jo Brueggemann and Susan Burch, Editors

Publication Year: 2006

This new collection bridges two dynamic academic fields: Women’s Studies and Deaf Studies. The 14 contributors to this interdisciplinary volume apply research and methodological approaches from sociology, ethnography, literary/film studies, history, rhetoric, education, and public health to open heretofore unexplored territory. Part One: In and Out of the Community addresses female dynamics within deaf schools; Helen Keller’s identity as a deaf woman; deaf women’s role in Deaf organizations; and whether or not the inequity in education and employment opportunities for deaf women is bias against gender or disability. Part Two: (Women’s) Authority and Shaping Deafness explores the life of 19th-century teacher Marcelina Ruis Y Fernandez; the influence of single, hearing female instructors in deaf education; the extent of women’s authority over oralist educational dictates during the 1900s; and a deaf daughter’s relationship with her hearing mother in the late 20th century. Part Three: Reading Deaf Women considers two deaf sisters’ exceptional creative freedom from 1885 to 1920; the depictions of deaf or mute women in two popular films; a Deaf woman’s account of blending the public–private, deaf–hearing, and religious–secular worlds; how five Deaf female ASL teachers define “gender,” “feminism,” “sex,” and “patriarchy” in ASL and English; and 20th-century American Deaf beauty pageants that emphasize physicality while denying Deaf identity, yet also challenge mainstream notions of “the perfect body.”

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

Title Page

pdf iconDownload PDF (17.0 KB)
pp. i-iii


pdf iconDownload PDF (25.9 KB)
pp. iv


pdf iconDownload PDF (29.9 KB)
pp. v-vi

read more


pdf iconDownload PDF (61.5 KB)
pp. vii-xiv

We began our work on this volume by skirting the issues. As early as 2000 we were having conversations with each other about the absence of published intersectional scholarship in Deaf studies generally. To our knowledge, no single volume of work and even very few articles or essays existed that blended, compared, or complicated what it meant...

Part One

read more

In and Out of the Community: Editors’ Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (40.9 KB)
pp. 3-4

This section generally assesses issues of female identity and specifically analyzes the influence of deafness on traditional interpretations of women’s roles. By addressing both internal community relations and external influences on gender and Deaf cultural identities, these essays expose similarities and differences in the experiences of deaf and hearing women...

read more

Family Matters

pdf iconDownload PDF (92.5 KB)
pp. 5-20

Scholars in Deaf history commonly use the metaphor of home to describe Deaf residential schools because these institutes were the birthplace of Deaf culture.1 Regardless of era or geographic location, residential schools served as surrogate homes for generations of Deaf people, fostering close relationships between students and staff. The structure of residential...

read more

Was Helen Keller Deaf? Blindness, Deafness, and Multiple Identities

pdf iconDownload PDF (104.3 KB)
pp. 21-39

Helen Keller remains, even more than thirty years after her death, the world’s most famous ‘‘out of the closet’’ person with a disability— most certainly the most famous female with a disability. The Alabama native lost both her sight and hearing as the result of an illness at nineteen months of age and became an international star at seven years,...

read more

The Extended Family: Deaf Women in Organizations

pdf iconDownload PDF (97.2 KB)
pp. 40-56

Deaf organizations are the ‘‘extended family’’ in the adult Deaf world.1 After exiting residential schools, Deaf people historically turned to the organizations to maintain their cultural connection with fellow Deaf people.2 Associations specifically offered a place that welcomed signed communication, provided outlets for social and intellectual...

read more

Deaf Women and Inequality in Educational Attainment and Occupational Status: Is Deafness or Femaleness to Blame?

pdf iconDownload PDF (108.3 KB)
pp. 57-77

Research on the effect of disability on socioeconomic status has shown that workers with disabilities are disadvantaged compared to workers without (Berkowitz and Hill 1986; Burkhauser and Haveman 1982; Weaver 1991). Additionally, a substantial amount of evidence suggests that women with disabilities are disadvantaged when compared to men...

Part Two

read more

(Women’s) Authority and Shaping Deafness: Editors’ Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (42.6 KB)
pp. 81-83

The issue of authority is a central theme in both Deaf studies and women’s studies. Throughout American history, both Deaf people and women have had to fight for civil liberties against a domineering society. Citizens who happened to be deaf and female experienced a double share of discrimination: once from society in general and another from...

read more

Marcelina Ruiz Ricote y Ferna

pdf iconDownload PDF (146.4 KB)
pp. 84-109

...teachers—all of them hearing—to instruct the girls in labores, which included sewing, embroidery, crochet, knitting, darning, and so on.3 From 1869 to 1897 the job fell to Marcelina Ruiz Ricote y Ferna´ndez. As a single woman obliged to support herself, Ruiz Ricote recognized her students’ need to prepare themselves not only for matrimony but also for the...

read more

The Ladies Take Charge: Women Teachers in the Education of Deaf Students

pdf iconDownload PDF (104.7 KB)
pp. 110-129

Educational historians have long been interested in gendered occupational structures; one critical strand is the meanings and tensions generated by the feminization of teaching. The multiple perspectives on the history of women as teachers, however, have tended to set the phenomenon in the context of the common schools. Far less attention has been directed toward women teachers in the field...

read more

‘‘Like Ordinary Hearing Children’’: Mothers Raising Offspring according to Oralist Dictates

pdf iconDownload PDF (92.9 KB)
pp. 130-146

During the early twentieth century, a broad campaign sought to transform maternal practice in the United States. Advice manuals proliferated. Mass-circulation magazines such as Good Housekeeping and the Ladies Home Journal were filled with recommendations about feeding and disciplining infants and children. National women’s organizations,...

read more

Merging Two Worlds

pdf iconDownload PDF (93.6 KB)
pp. 147-163

On a sunny day in May 2002, Summer Crider was first in line as she marched toward the stage with her graduating class. That she was the valedictorian at Florida School for the Deaf and Blind (FSDB) (instead of her local high school) was no small wonder, considering that she had received one of the first cochlear implants in the state of Florida at...

Part Three

read more

Reading Deaf Women: Editors’ Introduction

pdf iconDownload PDF (41.2 KB)
pp. 167-169

The broad theme of this section is the body as a vehicle for cultural manifestation. The essays here explore various corporal characteristics in the expression of Deaf and gendered identity. Brueggemann illustrates the creative, authoritative space offered by deafness for two women during what was an otherwise particularly disadvantaged age for deaf people...

read more

Deaf Eyes: The Allen Sisters’ Photography, 1885–1920

pdf iconDownload PDF (11.3 MB)
pp. 170-188

‘‘The Misses Allen’’ they were most often called—personally, by those who knew them in Deerfield, Massachusetts, and also professionally, by those critics who wrote about their photography at the time. Although their individual names appear in relationship to a few of their photographs, more often than not they appear as a unit, Mary and...

read more

The Aesthetics of Linguistic Envy: Deafness and Muteness in Children of a Lesser God and The Piano

pdf iconDownload PDF (90.2 KB)
pp. 189-204

In Robert Browning’s poem ‘‘Deaf and Dumb: A Group by Woolner,’’ the qualities of deafness and dumbness are physical obstructions that nevertheless reveal something—‘‘the secret of a sunbeam.’’1 In Browning’s revelation, the qualities of deafness and dumbness thus function to facilitate the expression of abstract concepts such as love and language, as the...

read more

‘‘Slain in the Spirit’’

pdf iconDownload PDF (110.4 KB)
pp. 205-225

You have to look hard, but if you drive on the interstate that slices through the head of Columbia, Missouri, you can see a red, brick building flash through the trees: Praise Assembly of God. Praise is a Christian charismatic, Pentecostalist church, and in 1991, Praise became the host site for a small Deaf ministry within its congregation....

read more

How Deaf Women Produce Gendered Signs

pdf iconDownload PDF (473.0 KB)
pp. 226-241

Deaf female teachers of mostly hearing American Sign Language (ASL) learners must attempt to bridge the gap between Deaf culture and the mainstream hearing culture through teaching ASL and Deaf culture. To find out how they construct gender and feminism and then name the cultural sources of their constructions, I conducted an ethnographic...

read more

‘‘Beautiful, though Deaf’’: The Deaf American Beauty Pageant

pdf iconDownload PDF (1.0 MB)
pp. 242-261

The rise and continued popularity of beauty contests in the Deaf world reflect the differing notions of cultural deafness and beauty, both within the Deaf world and in mainstream society.1 These pageants have primarily emphasized the physicality of women, while often downplaying or denying their Deaf cultural identity. At the same time, Deaf...


pdf iconDownload PDF (116.5 KB)
pp. 263-284


pdf iconDownload PDF (35.0 KB)
pp. 285-287


pdf iconDownload PDF (65.4 KB)
pp. 289-298

E-ISBN-13: 9781563683824
E-ISBN-10: 1563683822
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563682933
Print-ISBN-10: 1563682931

Page Count: 312
Illustrations: 4 tables, 15 photos, 11 sign illustrations
Publication Year: 2006

Research Areas


UPCC logo

Subject Headings

  • Deafness -- Social aspects -- United States.
  • Deaf women -- United States.
  • You have access to this content
  • Free sample
  • Open Access
  • Restricted Access