Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Deaf Culture and Inter-cultural Communication

LEVEL 05 - Postgraduate Modular Diploma or Degree Course


DEPARTMENT Institute of Linguistics and Language Technology

DESCRIPTION This is an introduction to Deaf culture. Students will examine the language, education, social and political aspects, and art forms of Deaf people though the various lenses provided by Anthropology, Sociology, History and Cultural Studies. Students will inquire into the diversity, complexities and commonalities of Deaf cultural experiences.

This study-unit introduces students to the range of ways in which deafness and Deaf people are categorised – by medical personnel, by hearing people, and by the Deaf community.

Three major strands are covered:
(1) Perspectives on Deafness: The Deaf Community, Culture and Historical Context;
(2) Medical, Social and Personal; and
(3) International Perspectives on Deafness.

In (1) we examine the variety of societal responses to deafness over time. We begin with references to deafness and Deaf people in ancient times and trace changing attitudes to deafness, signed languages and Deafhood up until contemporary times. We also explore the notion of Deaf culture and community and consider the objective symbols and behavioural norms of this culture.

This study-unit also introduces a continuum of perspectives of deafness, and examines the range of practical and political implications of these views. We also consider the range of implications that this can have on a Deaf person’s self-image. A range of views from Deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people which have been pre-recorded are shared over the course of this study-unit. The study-unit also considers different ways of being Deaf in the modern world.

Study-Unit Aims:

The aims of the study-unit are to assist the students in:
- knowing about how the Maltese Deaf Community was formed and how it developed;
- recognising what Deaf identity means and in what ways the Maltese Deaf Community are different from the hearing community;
- appreciating historical perspectives on deafness and Deaf identity;
- perceiving the diversity within the Deaf Community;
- recognising the social, emotional, and psychological aspects of deafness and their implications on behaviour and learning;
- getting to know the cultural issues facing the Deaf community both locally and in other parts of the world.

Learning Outcomes:

1. Knowledge & Understanding:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Critically evaluate sociological perspectives and theories of health and disability;
- Describe what it means to be a member of a Deaf Community;
- Explain the connection between the development of language and identity;
- Reflect on various definitions of Deaf communities;
- Describe the kinds of discrimination and oppressive behaviours (including Audism) that impinge on Deaf Individuals and/or communities;
- Describe the historical context that notions of deafness, Deaf communities and Deafhood are grounded within;
- Identify and describe the major milestones in Deaf history (including establishment of Deaf education, formation of communities, the ‘Golden Era’ of manualism, the rise of oralism, the Congress of Milan 1880, the introduction of oral education and consequences thereof);
- Describe the major philosophical influences on responses to deafness (give a detailed account of legal, religious, educational, rehabilitation, normalisation, eugenics, human rights, socio-cultural views and medical responses to deafness);
- Outline the main causes of deafness, the classification of different types of hearing loss, the diagnosis of deafness and the consequences of impaired hearing;
- Describe the main characteristics of the education of Deaf people throughout history;
- Summarise the prototypical traditions associated with Deaf communities (such as contemporary Deaf folklore);
- Compare and contrast language transmission pathways for deaf people born into Deaf or hearing families and the consequences of same;
- Identify and describe minority groups within the Maltese Deaf community (such as Deaf people with disabilities, Deafblind people, Deaf LGBQT, Deaf people who are members of minority religious communities, and/or Deaf people who are members of ethnic minority populations;
- List and describe knowledge of the key global, European and Maltese organisations for Deaf and hard of hearing people;
- Justify the importance of the move to preserve and protect Deaf Culture and Deaf heritage.

2. Skills:

By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:
- Apply knowledge of Deaf Studies literature to his/her work as an interpreter/translator;
- Embed Deaf cultural traditions, values and norms within their approach to interpreting/translation;
- Identify minority groups within the Deaf communities they serve, and appreciate that there may be cultural and linguistic diversity that are relevant to some of the subgroups that do not present in others;
- Embed Deaf cultural traditions, values and norms within their approach to interpreting/translation.

Main Text/s and any supplementary readings:

Main Texts:
- Bauman, H. D. L., & Murray, J. J. (Eds.). (2014). Deaf gain: Raising the stakes for human diversity.
- Ladd, P. (2003). Understanding deaf culture: In search of deafhood. Multilingual Matters.
- Monaghan, L., Schmaling, C., Nakamura, K., & Turner, G. H. (2003). Many ways to be deaf.
- Padden, C., Humphries, T., & Padden, C. (2009). Inside deaf culture. Harvard University Press.

Supplementary Readings:
- Bragg, L. (2001). Deaf world: A historical reader and primary sourcebook. NYU Press.
- Goodstein, H. (2007). The Deaf Way II Reader: Perspectives from the Second International Conference on Deaf Culture No. 2.
- Lane, H. L., Hoffmeister, R., & Bahan, B. J. (1996). A journey into the deaf-world (p. 560). San Diego, CA: DawnSignPress.
- Mindess, A. (2014). Reading between the signs: Intercultural communication for sign language interpreters. Nicholas Brealey Publishing.
- Sacks, O. (2009). Seeing voices: A journey into the world of the deaf. Pan Macmillan.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Co-requisite Study-units: Maltese Sign Language 1

STUDY-UNIT TYPE Group Learning, Lecture and Seminar

Assessment Component/s Assessment Due Resit Availability Weighting
Presentation (20 Minutes) SEM2 Yes 15%
Assignment SEM2 Yes 85%

LECTURER/S Joann Spiteri
Marie Alexander (Co-ord.)
Luigi Lerose
Steven Mulvaney
Emma Ripard
Loran Ripard Xuereb

The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the study-unit description above applies to the academic year 2019/0, if study-unit is available during this academic year, and may be subject to change in subsequent years.