• Letters from Philadelphia

    In the late nineteenth century, deafness was transformed into “Deafness,” shifting from a medical affliction towards a cultural category with its own language offering a unique perspective of the world. At the core of this transformation were educators and pupils at residential schools for the deaf. Educators were retrained in new pedagogical framework, adopting the… Continue Reading

  • The Deaf & Dumb in Manchester

    Back in May, I stopped by Manchester, UK, for two days, to see some friends before heading to Cambridge and London. Many scholars of history of science were in the city for the 24th International Congress of History, Science, Technology, and Medicine, including some of my friends, who were presenting papers at the Congress. After… Continue Reading

  • A Census of the Deaf

    Sir William Robert Wilde (1815-1876) was one of the most notable aural surgeons during the second half of the nineteenth-century. He made numerous to aural surgery, including tables on the hereditary basis of deafness and newer hearing tests to determine degrees of hearing loss. Wilde also made extensive use of statistics in his writing, using… Continue Reading

  • The “Popular Prejudice”

    Throughout my research of nineteenth century works on aural surgery, as well as works on deafness and education for the deaf, I’ve come across the phrase “popular prejudice” often enough to warrant some analysis. The phrase reflects two crucial aspects of how deafness was perceived as a social image: Firstly, deaf-mutes were constructed as social… Continue Reading

  • Leigh’s New Picture of London

    On the London Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb (est. 1792): By this excellent institution, extensive and successful arrangements are made to teach even the deaf and dumb! So long ago as 1653, the celebrated Dr. Wallis first laid down the principles by which the deaf and dumb might be instructed, (Vide the Philosophical Transactions… Continue Reading

  • From comme les monstres to hommes de la nature

    The afternoon of 1799, drew attention to the Théâtre de la République, where just five weeks after Napoleon’s seizure of power, the dramatist Jean-Nicolas Bouilly (1763-1842) was showcasing his new play, L’Abbé de l’Épée. A comedy in five acts, the play dramatized a fictionalized version of the case of the Comte de Solar, a young… Continue Reading

  • Histories of Deaf Histories

    One of the agendas of my dissertation is to build a steady bridge between scholarship from the history of medicine and scholarship from Deaf and Disability Studies. Granted, as part of my education at IHPST, my research has been lopsided, for I’ve concentrated more on the history of medicine and technologies (especially relating to medical… Continue Reading

  • Off to Leeds!

    I’m headed out to Leeds, UK for the Disability & the Victorians: Confronting Legacies Conference to be held at Leeds-Trinity University College. This should be an interesting conference for me, for it’s the first time I’m presenting a paper to an audience composed of historians and other scholars of deaf and disability studies. I’m really… Continue Reading

  • Article Link: “The Analytical Spirit and the Paris Institution for the Deaf-Mutes, 1730-1860”

    As I’m researching for my dissertation, I’m finally digging through a giant pile recent articles from the past years on topics relevant to my dissertation. I thought I’d share some interesting ones with you. Christine Aicardi (University College London) published a piece, “The Analytical Spirit and the Paris Institution for the Deaf-Mutes, 1730-1860” in History… Continue Reading

  • Charitable Agenda for the Deaf

    In Britain, efforts to medicalize the deaf have a long-standing history that can be traced back to the Evangelical Revival of the late eighteenth century as medical men sought for a place within institutions for the deaf that were strictly devoted for instruction. In contrast to the l’esprit philosophique of late-eighteenth century France which precipitated… Continue Reading

  • Deafness as Discourse

    In Enforcing Normalcy, Lennard Davis makes the claim that Europe “became deaf” in the 18th century—that is, before the late 17th century, the deaf were not constructed as a group. The reason for this discursive nonexistence, Davis argues, is that most deaf individuals were born into hearing families and isolated in their deafness, viewed mainly… Continue Reading

  • Curtis’ 1817 Letter to the London Asylum

    In a previous post, I briefly outlined the history of the London Asylum for the Deaf and Dumb. In this post, I turn my attention to provide an overview of Curtis’ difficulties in implementing his medical authority within the Asylum. Part of this post is derived from the paper I presented at a joint panel for the… Continue Reading