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M.A. in Deaf Studies: Language and Human Rights

Dr. Gene Mirus, Program Coordinator
Sorenson Language and Communication Center, Room 1202

The Concentration in Language and Human Rights is designed to give a globally-based student population an understanding of the development of international human rights instruments, institutions, and discourses, with a focus on languages and linguistic minorities. This focus will give students a solid background in academic research and international policymaking which can be used to work in the field of linguistic human rights, with special attention to the unique situation of peoples who use sign language. Students will work a full academic year toward the completion of their Language and Human Rights research project which may take the form of a thesis or an applied project. This Concentration includes a study-abroad program in the fourth semester.

Admissions suspended for the 2014-2015 academic year

 

Admissions suspended for the 2014-2015 academic year

Admissions Procedures and Requirements

Applicants for the M.A. in Deaf Studies must complete the application procedures and meet the requirements for graduate study at Gallaudet University. Visit the Graduate Admissions web site for more information and a checklist of application requirements. Detailed program information and course descriptions are also available under the 'Overview' and 'Courses' tabs.

DEADLINE

DATE

First Date for Consideration of Application: November 15
Due Date for Completed Application: February 15

Program Specific Requirements:

  • Three letters of reference
  • ASL Essay: Personal Statement. In video format, submit a personal statement of interest in the program. This essay will be used for 2 purposes. It will give help us understand your personal interest in our program and will also be used to determine your proficiency in ASL. Why are you applying for this degree? What do you hope to gain from the degree? What are your professional interests after you graduate?
  • On your application (on page A1), please ensure that you note which concentration you are considering: Cultural Studies or Language and Human Rights.
  • Transcripts
  • ASLPI 3 or above.
  • GPA 3.0 or above.

Recommended Prior Coursework:

  • Introduction to Deaf Culture
  • Introduction to ASL Structure

Core Curriculum

All students admitted to the program must complete the following core courses with grades of B or higher.

Semester I (Fall)

CodeTitleCredits
ASL 709Sign Language Media Production3
DST 700Proseminar I1
DST 703Deaf Cultural Studies3
DST 705Sign & the Philosophy of Language3
GPS 700Culture & Language Seminar1
IDP 770Introduction to International Development3

Semester II (Spring)

CodeTitleCredits
ASL 770Sign Language Planning and Advocacy3
DST 701Proseminar II1
DST 712Enforcing Normalcy:Deaf and Disability Studies3
IDP 772International Development with People with Disabilities in Developing Countries3

Concentration in Language and Human Rights

Semester III (Fall)

CodeTitleCredits
DST 733Theory & Identity in Deaf Studies3
DST 780Cultural Studies Master's Project I3
EDU 834Program Development and Evaluation in Special Education and Human Services3

Semester IV (Spring)

CodeTitleCredits
DST 740Studies in the Human Rights of Deaf People3
DST 741Development of the Transnational Deaf Public Sphere3
DST 781Cultural Studies Master's Project II1-3
 

ASL 709 - Sign Language Media Production (3)

Visual media has changed the way we communicate. With the advent of new tools and platforms, possibilities of publishing has proliferated, allowing a wider discourse of ideas to be shared with a vast audience. This course explores these opportunities and will introduce students to the tools and skills necessary to produce digital media. Through a hands-on approach, this course will allow students to capture, import and edit digital video in a variety of platforms and genres. Students will participate in a workshop approach to hone their skills at "writing" through digital media.

  • Prerequisites: Matriculation into the M.A. program in ASL & Deaf Studies or permission of instructor.
  • Course Fee: $100.00

ASL 770 - Sign Language Planning and Advocacy (3)

This course covers language planning and policy in transnational and national sign language communities. A commonality among these communities is that the natural signed language of deaf communities are often threatened by majority languages. Language policies vary, and successful (and not so-successful) activism will be studied. This course will include a study of four main components of language policy and planning: attitude, corpus, acquisition, and status planning. Connections will be emphasized between applied language planning in sign languages, settings in which linguistic advocacy takes place, and theoretical and empirical research in language acquisition and learning.

  • Prerequisites: ASL 724, 741, and 743 or equivalent courses; or permission of the instructor.

DST 700 - Proseminar I (1)

This one credit course is designed to introduce graduate students to contemporary research being conducted within Deaf Studies. Students will attend lectures and discussions by Department and University faculty, and will explore their own interests in Deaf Studies scholarship.

  • Pre-requisite: Students must be matriculated in the Deaf Studies MA program.

DST 701 - Proseminar II (1)

This one credit course is designed to introduce students to research topics and methodologies within the field of Deaf Studies. Students will be introduced to fundamentals of the research process, including research ethics, the Institutional Review Board, grant writing, research methodologies. Proseminar II will prepare students to begin their Deaf Studies Master's Project.

  • Pre-requisite: DST 700

DST 703 - Deaf Cultural Studies (3)

This course will explore the Deaf World through the various theoretical lens provided by the multidisciplinary field of Cultural Studies. Students will inquire into the diversity, complexities and commonalities of Deaf cultural experiences through research and class projects. This course serves as a cornerstone course that provides students with the theory and content that subsequent courses will build upon.

  • Prerequisites: Matriculated in DST MA Program

DST 705 - Sign & the Philosophy of Language (3)

This core course will examine the role that signed languages have played in the evolution of philosophical ideas concerning human identity, language and the senses. Rather than being seen as marginal areas of concern, signed languages have played an important role in the history of ideas and the philosophy of language. Course content will explore how both hearing and Deaf thinkers, artists, and writers have viewed signed languages throughout history, with special emphasis on 18th and 19th century France and 20th century linguistic and literary theory. This course will provide students with a historical and intellectual background to understand how signed languages, deafness, and deaf education have been constructed throughout history, and how 21st century issues of education, language and identity are informed by the evolution of philosophical perspectives.

  • Prerequisites: Matriculated in DST MA Program

DST 712 - Enforcing Normalcy:Deaf and Disability Studies (3)

This class will explore the historical, medical, social, political, philosophical, and cultural influences that have constructed the categories of "normalcy", "disability" and "deafness". Building on the writing of Michel Foucault and critical work in the field of disability studies, this course will inquire into the institutions that have enforced standards of normalcy, throughout the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to the present. Primary attention will be paid to the rise of medical authority in the West, the history of eugenics, and contemporary bioethical issues confronting disability and deaf communities.

DST 733 - Theory & Identity in Deaf Studies (3)

This course is designed to explore the various issues and complexities inherent in d/Deaf identity constructions. By drawing on contemporary theoretical practices, including Marxism, postcolonialism, feminism, structuralism, poststructuralism, queer theory and phenomenology, students will be encouraged to engage in a critical exchange between Deaf Studies and these theoretical lens.

  • Prerequisite: Completion of MA Deaf Studies Core Curriculum

DST 740 - Studies in the Human Rights of Deaf People (3)

This course traces the development of the human rights of Deaf people within the wider context of the emergence of the concept of universal human rights after WWII. The formation of international institutions such as the United Nations, and international nongovernmental organizations dedicated to human rights work has allowed non-state actors significant opportunities to develop and use human rights tools to protect particular minorities. The emergence of the concept of linguistic human rights has been applied to signing communities and the concept promoted in the Convention on the Human Rights of Peoples with Disabilities. The concept and the Convention will be examined in depth and applied to the linguistic human rights of contemporary Deaf communities.

  • Prerequisite: Students must be enrolled in the Concentration in Language and Human Rights or permission of the instructor

DST 741 - Development of the Transnational Deaf Public Sphere (3)

This course will provide students with a comprehensive understanding of the contemporary transnational Deaf public sphere. Students will study the origination and spread of international meetings among Deaf people and the concurrent formation of transnational Deaf networks. Students will study key concepts and review case studies in transnational studies which will then be used to interrogate the nature of interconnections between Deaf communities across the globe.

  • Prerequisite: Students must be enrolled in the Concentration in Language and Human Rights or permission of the instructor

DST 780 - Cultural Studies Master's Project I (3)

The Deaf Studies Master's Project is a required, culminating project which demonstrates student's exemplary achievement as a Master's student. Under the supervision of Department faculty, students will develop projects that significantly advance knowledge in either Cultural Studies or Language and Human Rights. Students may elect to produce a traditional Master's thesis, a creative project, or an applied advocacy project. During the first semester, students will develop and defend their project, including demonstration of the project's significance, appropriate research methodologies and a plan of action.

  • Pre-requisite: Students must have successfully completed the first year of the DST MA program.

DST 781 - Cultural Studies Master's Project II (1-3)

The Deaf Studies' Master's Project is a required, culminating project which demonstrates students' exemplary achievement as a Master's student. Under the supervision of Department faculty, students will develop projects that significantly advance knowledge in either Cultural Studies or Language and Human Rights. Students may elect to produce a traditional Master's thesis, a creative project, or an applied advocacy project. During the second semester, students will present and defend their project.

  • Pre-requisite: Students must have successfully completed the first year of the DST MA program and DST 780

EDU 834 - Program Development and Evaluation in Special Education and Human Services (3)

This course focuses on the design, development and evaluation of programs for individuals with disabilities. Topics to be covered include interpreting policy statements into relevant programmatic goals and objectives; determining organizational components and functions; establishing staffing patterns; setting up program-based budgets; and formulating ongoing process evaluation, product evaluation, and cost analysis plans. Students will be required to submit a proposal in response to a Request for Proposals (RFP), thereby increasing their managerial skills through simulation of an actual grant-writing experience.

  • Prerequisite: Permission of the instructor

GPS 700 - Culture & Language Seminar (1)

Beginning in fall 2010, GPS 700 Culture and Language Seminar is required for all incoming graduate students (with the exception of summers-only and online students) in their first fall semester at Gallaudet. The seminar was designed to prepare graduate students to understand the unique cultural and linguistic environment at Gallaudet University. Throughout the seminar, students will engage in discussions of major cultural issues in the lives of deaf individuals and their communities. Having the opportunity to explore these issues with other graduate students and faculty will deepen students' appreciation of the rich personal and academic experiences that can only be found at Gallaudet University.

IDP 770 - Introduction to International Development (3)

This course introduces students to the theories and strategies of international development from the end of the Cold War until the current era of globalization. Development organizations possess varying theoretical assumptions and strategies about development. The students will study and critically analyze these assumptions in order to understand how these theories influence the strategies and programming overseas and the positive and negative outcomes of following these strategies. The students will learn to analyze which strategies work best and to create their own theory of development. Special attention will be given to the effect of development on people with disabilities in developing countries.

  • Prerequisites: Current enrollment in the International Development Masters of Arts Program; or permission of instructor

IDP 772 - International Development with People with Disabilities in Developing Countries (3)

This course introduces professionals to the political, social and developmental issues surrounding disability that result in the continual oppression and marginalization of disabled people throughout the developing world. Drawing upon disability studies, models of development, current overseas development assistance programs, case studies, and reflections from leaders in the field, the course examines issues and conditions that impact people with disabilities in developing countries. Strategies are discussed which include and empower people with disabilities at both the international and grassroots level.

  • Prerequisites: Current enrollment in the International Development Masters of Arts Program; or permission of instructor
 
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