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ASL Connect Hosts Inaugural Lecture Series On Portrayals of ASL In The Media

March 12, 2019
By Ivy Davis, ’16


This press release and photos were provided by ASL Connect, as is.

On Thursday, February 28, 2019, ASL Connect had its first ever lecture series in I. King Jordan Student Academic Center’s Multipurpose Room at Gallaudet University. “Portrayals Of ASL In The Media” was presented by two of the university’s faculty members in the Communication Studies program, Stacy Nowak and Jonathan McMillan. If you missed the lecture, the livestream broadcast is available for viewing on ASL Connect’s Facebook page. An additional copy will be listed in ASL Connect’s YouTube Library.

ASL Connect: Lecture Series explores current and relevant topics on ASL education, research, advocacy, and all other things related to ASL. ASL Connect is a central resource for learning ASL and Deaf Studies online, with all content created by deaf ASL-fluent scholars. They offer basic ASL online tutorials, which transition to highly engaging and interactive ASL and deaf studies courses online.

McMillian and Nowak are shown on the stage. McMillian is caught mid-sign, signing "b."

“More than ever, we see instances of deaf people challenging society’s paradigms of how American Sign Language (ASL) is viewed and portrayed. However, within the deaf community, people have different belief systems about how ASL should be framed in the media.” —Nowak and McMillan

Nowak and McMillan introduced two Communication theories: Media Ecology by Clifford Geertz (1973) and Cognitive Dissonance by Leon Festinger (1957) as they explore the intersections of technology and human interactions with social media.

Audience/participants are shown.

The successful, ASL Connect: Lecture Series event gathered over 80 attendees. The presenters opened the stage for the audience to critically analyze how ASL is, and should be portrayed in media. They discussed the (mis)use of “deaf” in newspapers, magazines and other publications by hearing people Another powerful point was made when describing our thought processes when encountering a perspective, (whether new or recycled), that may perpetuate an existing belief system based on oppressive principles.

McMillian in the left frame, Nowak in the right frame.

These events are 100% designed and supported by the ASL Education Program in conjunction with ASL Connect. They are looking forward to the next lecture to take place in early April. More information will be announced shortly.

Contact ASL Connect at to learn more about ASL Connect: Lecture Series as well as other services offered, such as the online ASL and Deaf Studies courses.

ASL Connect’ Social Media platforms:

Other Links:

For Press Inquiries:
Please contact Guthrie Nutter at

12 March 2019
By Ivy Davis, ’16


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Ivy Davis, ’16

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