Greenwald and Bergey giving a keynote with unidentified woman standing by.

Dr. Brian Greenwald (left) discusses how the number of cameras available will affect the interview.  Jean Lindquist Bergey (middle) and an interpreter (right) watch. Photo by Dr. William Ennis III

On April 23, 2019, Brian Greenwald and Jean Bergey presented at the annual conference of Oral History Mid-Atlantic Region (OHMAR) on “Deaf Interviews: Documenting Narrative History in American Sign Language.”   Describing research of the Drs. John S. & Betty J. Schuchman Deaf Documentary Center as rooted in Deaf history, timeframes, places, patterns and traditions, Greenwald and Bergey shared the many ways stories can reveal Deaf experiences. 

Greenwald (left) making remarks while Bergey and an unidentified woman stood nearby. Photo courtesy of Oral History in the Mid-Atlantic Region.

Deaf stories can reflect or challenge stereotypes, show solidarity within the community, and reveal what it means to be part of an embedded group within a larger society.  Topics covered included conducting pre-interview research, developing questions, establishing language preference, ensuring the understanding of informed consent, and considerations for the interviewer-interviewee match.  The Center’s Director and Associate Director discussed confidentiality in a small community – or lack thereof, as well as technical set-ups critical to interviews in American Sign Language, and preservation of filmed interviews.

Check out the OHMAR website and consider attending the 2020 conference in shepherdstown, West Virginia March 13 -14.

Bergey (right) discusses issues related to recording sound during signed interviews. Photo by Dr. William Ennis III.