Roots, Diversity, Imagery: The Driving Force Behind Sign Language Identity

Free and open to the public. ASL-English interpreting was provided.

This event was associated with the Neubauer Collegium project The Body’s Role in Thinking, Performing, and Referencing

Friday, February 19
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm

Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society
5701 S. Woodlawn Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60637

Capturing the rapidly changing and multifaceted nature of sign language identity among its users is difficult. There are contributions from a wide spectrum of linguistic points of reference, including spoken and signed languages, as well as the gestures that accompany these languages. Each of the three panelists offered innovative perspectives from their own work on the issue of language identity, thereby providing a lens that we can use to reflect back on a range of fields of study—literature, linguistics, psychology, to name a few. Through this exercise we wanted to allow participants to step outside the traditional linguistic, ethnic, and poetic subfields of sign language studies in order to discuss the “blind spots” that have remained unexplored by traditional disciplinary frameworks when speaking about sign language identity.

A panel discussion sponsored by the Center for Gesture, Sign, and Language with support from the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society at the University of Chicago, the American Sign Language (ASL) Department, Columbia College, Chicago, and the Center for Community Art Partnerships, Columbia College, Chicago.