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  • By: Tyrone Giordano
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

Much of the history of deaf performance prior to the 19th century is yet uncovered or has been lost. The earliest records of deaf actors in performance are of dramatic events hosted at Deaf schools and clubs, often staged adaptations of literary and dramatic texts. With silent films, deaf actors and audiences enjoyed a relatively brief period on equal footing with hearing people until the introduction of sound in film. Gallaudet College, with the recognition of American Sign Language (ASL) in the 1960s proved to be the site of a critical mass of people that, through drama, embodied pride in ASL and Deaf culture. Faculty, students, and alumni were instrumental in spreading awareness of Deaf issues and ASL and helped lay the foundation for a ...

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