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November 13, 2018
12:00pm to 1:30pm
6275 Bunche Hall

History of Science and Medicine Colloquium

November 13, 2018
12 - 1:30
6275 Bunche (History Department Conference Room)

Sabine Arnaud, CNRS and Centre Koyré, Paris
“The Specter of Abnormality: Deaf Education and the Poetics of Contestation at
the Turn of the Twentieth-Century”


While tracing the scope of the French Republican project promoting speech in Deaf education,
this paper will analyze how the spread of oralism coincided with the development of new
categories to classify children, especially as “backward” and “abnormal.” It will examine the
responses by Deaf people, who, far from being mere spectators of the change, developed a radical
critique of the repercussions of the new pedagogical methods, employing irony, sarcasm, and
critical analysis. This paper will show how these years of struggle were also years of
emancipation, in which the acquisition of language became a poetical and political act.