• 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

  • William Wright & Miss Hannah Thatcher

    William Wright (1773-1860), whose professional career began in Bristol, England in 1796, moved to London and acquired a large practice in aural surgery that included the Duke of Wellington and other members of the nobility as patients. Eventually he became one of John Harrison Curtis’ fiercest and most outspoken rivals, rallying against the prevalence of… 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

  • Lives of the Deaf

    From the middle ages until the nineteenth century, the deaf were categorized in the same class as other outcasts—beggars, wanderers, invalids—and portrayed as defective bodies capable of communicating only through crude gestures. Yet, as some scholars have duly noted, the experiences of the deaf were by no means uniform: Saint-Loup argues that the Middle Ages… Continue Reading

  • Monday Series: Objects of Philosophical Discourse: Deafness and Language in the 1600s III

    A Society’s Interest A fascination with language in the seventeenth century was spearheaded by philosophers participating in various linguistic projects, some of which questioned the origin of language, delved into the art of cryptography, debated methods of language teaching, and sought to construct a language that would serve as a universal means of communication.[1] The… Continue Reading

  • Monday Series: Objects of Philosophical Discourse: Deafness and Language in the 1600s

    Welcome to yet another edition of this blog’s Monday Series. This series examines how philosophical interest in universal language amongst the early members of the Royal Society of London shaped both philosophical and social perceptions of deafness during the seventeenth century.   INTRODUCTION The seventeenth century saw a tremendous surge in British publications examining deafness… Continue Reading