This article argues that, despite strong metaphorical ties between deafness and the inability to connect, nineteenth-century deaf networks provide an excellent example of how ideas and identities circulated through transnational and transcolonial networks. Educational institutions facilitated the spread of signing. Deaf pedagogies were developed and contested across multiple sites. Ideologies of ableism (the privileging of the young non-disabled body) intersected with changing attitudes towards race. And embodied knowledges of deafness circulated as deaf individuals moved around the globe and formed transnational communities. Tracing deaf connections also enables us to think about the extent to which colonial networks intersected with networks in the US and continental Europe.

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