Abstract

The story of the Abbé de l’Epée’s “methodical signs” is best known as a key moment in Deaf history. However, at the time of the French Revolution this story served a larger political function. The example of de l’Epée’s deaf students, and their seemingly miraculous command of ideas learned through gestural signs, helped the French revolutionaries to imagine an ideal state of communication in the midst of a perceived crisis in language and politics. This essay both explains the political effects of this late eighteenth-century fascination with sign language and makes a case for the integration of Deaf history into the history of politics and social life more generally.

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6263
Print ISSN
0302-1475
Pages
pp. 17-37
Launched on MUSE
2006-01-09
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.