The Role of Anti-peddling Campaigns in the American Deaf Community's Quest for Citizenship

Autor/a: ROBINSON, Octavian
Año: 2015
Editorial: VII Deaf Academics Researchers Conference, 2015
Tipo de código: Copyright
Soporte: Vídeo digital


Comunidad y cultura sorda, Historia, Arte y Cultura


My research examines deaf people’s anxieties about their place in American society and the political economy from 1880 to 1956. My study highlights how American deaf people sought to place themselves within mainstream society through their activism to protect and advance their status as citizen-workers. Their activism centered on campaigns against peddling. Those campaigns sought to protect the public image of deaf people as worker-citizens while protecting their language and cultural community. My study examines the attitudes and rhetoric of the leadership of the deaf community through their addresses delivered at meetings of deaf organizations and published articles in the silent press. The Deaf American rhetoric surrounding impostorism and peddling reveals ableist attitudes; anxieties about the oral method supplanting sign language based education for the deaf; fears and insecurities about deaf people’s place in the American economy; class consciousness; and efforts to achieve full social citizenship. American Deaf people’s notion of equal citizenship was that of white male citizenship with full access to economic opportunities. Their idea of citizenship extended to the legal and social right to employment and economic self- sufficiency. This is a historical account of the deaf community’s campaign during the late nineteenth and first half of the twentieth century to promote deaf people within American society as equal citizens and to improve their access to economic opportunities.