- Academic Catalog
- Graduate Education
- Departments and Programs
- Department of American Sign Language and Deaf Studies
- M.A. in Deaf Studies: Cultural Studies
M.A. in Deaf Studies: Cultural Studies
Dr. Joseph Murray, Program Coordinator
The Concentration in Cultural Studies is designed for students to gain a critical understanding of the position of the Deaf World within the context of human diversity by using a variety of theoretical approaches to the concepts of identity, ideology, resistance, and culture. Students will work a full academic year toward the completion of their Cultural Studies Research project which may take the form of a thesis or a creative, media related project. Research projects will be conducted under the guidance of faculty who instruct Cultural Studies Research Projects I and II. Graduates of the Cultural Studies concentration will be prepared to teach Deaf Studies at the post-secondary level, enter fields of advocacy, and pursue further research and education in anthropology, cultural studies, disability studies, and critical theory.
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.
|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?
- ASLPI 3 or above.
- GPA 3.0 or above.
Recommended Prior Coursework:
- Introduction to Deaf Culture
- Introduction to ASL Structure
Core CurriculumAll students admitted to the program must complete the following core courses with grades of B or higher.
Semester I (Fall)
Semester II (Spring)
Cultural Studies Concentration
Semester III (Fall)
Semester IV (Spring)
DST 700 - Deaf Studies Research Methods I (3)
This course will introduce students to the most commonly-used research methods in Deaf Studies, particularly textual analysis, and ethnographic interviews. Students will be guided by the instructor in the processes of developing research questions, methodologies, data collection and analysis.
Prerequisites: Students must be matriculated in the Deaf Studies MA program.
DST 701 - Deaf Studies Research Methods II (1)
This one-credit course is designed to introduce students to research work in Deaf Studies. Students will be introduced to fundamentals of the research process, including ethical conduct in research, applying to Institutional Review Board approval, grant writing, and a thesis proposal. Research Methods II will prepare students to begin their Deaf Studies Master's Project.
Prerequisite: DST 700
DST 703 - Deaf Cultural Studies (3)
This course engages students with theory and content that is foundational to the practices of Cultural Studies in general and Deaf Studies in particular. In addition to exploring the historical trends and debates in these fields, this course asks students to explore key aspects of deaf lives and communities, including identities, power, culture, and framing from interdisciplinary perspectives. The readings, discussion, and research from this class form a cornerstone to subsequent courses within the Deaf Studies Master’s Program.
Prerequisites: Matriculated in DST MA Program
DST 705 - Language, Culture and Power (3)
This course begins by exploring key issues faced by minority language communities, with special emphasis on the world’s linguistic diversity, language endangerment, and revitalization. After gaining a broad understanding of the dynamic intersections of language, culture, and power, students will examine the historical role of languageideologies relating to signed languages, beginning with classical thought and continuing through the formation of deaf education in the 18th century and the medicalization of deaf bodies in the 19th and 20th centuries. In the end, students should be able to identify and explain intersections of philosophical, linguistic, educational, medical, scientific, and anthropological discourses which influenced the vitality of sign languages and deaf communities in the 21st century. Developing awareness of this phonocentric heritage helps to equip students in developing strategies for linguistic and cultural revitalization of sign languages and deaf communities.
Prerequisites: Matriculated in DST MA Program
DST 710 - Cultural Practices in the Deaf Community (3)
This course is designed as a thorough exploration of the literary practices influenced by cultural traditions in the deaf community. Attention will be given to the unique face-to-face nature of signed literature and its numerous traditional forms as well different types of cultural productions, including online media. Students will become versed in the stylistics, poetics, and cultural contexts of signed literature in its live as well as video-text formats.
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 735 - Sensory Studies (3)
This course investigates the role of vision and the senses, sensory practices and sensory politics in the deaf community through its visual-tactile nature. By drawing on new theoretical approaches in the study of the senses, this course will explore representations and visual culture, the theory and the politics of sensoryperceptions; and the cultural practices of architecture, museums, memorials, film, video, sign literature and resistance art. Through discussions, projects, and presentations, students will gain and articulate a critical understanding of the role of the senses in art and deaf space within a phonocentric world.
Prerequisite: Completion of MA Deaf Studies Core Curriculum
DST 737 - Law and Public Policy: The Deaf Community (3)
This course focuses on an analysis of relevant U.S. laws and policies when it comes to sign language rights, particularly for young deaf children. Topics include: legislative process, writing of state and federal regulations, power of position statements/policy papers, and an analysis of federal and state laws. Students will learn about community mobilization in the context of sociopolitical movements, with practical use of framing arguments for public consumption.
Prerequisites: Students must be enrolled in the Master's in Deaf Cultural Studies Master's Degree program or permission of the instructor.
DST 743 - Language Advocacy in Deaf Communities (3)
This course focuses on understanding the deaf community's longstanding campaigns for sign language rights from an advocacy perspective. Topics covered include the history and status of sign language in education, language planning, as well as advocacy campaigns and organizations related to sign language rights.
Prerequisite: Enrolled in the Deaf Studies MA program.
DST 780 - Deaf Studies Masters 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 one of three concentrations: Cultural Studies, Language and Human Rights or Early Language Advocacy. 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 a demonstration of the project's significance, appropriate research methodologies and a detailed plan of action.
Prerequisite: Students must have successfully completed the first year of the DST MA program.
DST 781 - Deaf Studies Master's Project II (1-3)
The Deaf Studies' Masters Project II 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, Language and Human Rights and Early Language Advocacy. 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. All students take DST 781 for 3 credits. In the event students do not complete their thesis at the end need of DST 781, they enroll in 781 a second time as a one-credit course.
Prerequisite: Students must have successfully completed the first year of the DST MA program and DST 780
DST 790 - Deaf Studies Internship (3)
Students will undertake an internship in a placement and role that is suited to their professional pursuits. These may include serving as Teaching Assistants, Research Assistants within the University or an off-site placement determined by the Department and student.
Prerequisites: 1st year core curriculum complete
HIS 731 - History of the American Deaf Community (3)
This course will introduce students to the history of the American Deaf community. While recent studies in social history have challenged our notions of race, class, and gender, historians have not yet fully addressed a fundamental component in our historical identity: physical ability and its underlying concept of normality. A close study of Deaf history offers one approach to this issue, and students will confront some of the specific issues facing this minority group. Particular attention will be paid to the ways in which deafness has been interpreted within the mainstream community, as well as how the Deaf people expressed and preserved their cultural identity. By studying the changes in this group and its relation to hearing society, this course also raises broader issues of cultural identity in the United States.