Liberal Arts

Deaf Studies: Italian Deaf Culture and History

The course will explore the sociological meanings of culture and community and their application to the Deaf community in general.

Department of Deaf Studies
DST 102 - Italian Deaf Culture & History

Instructor: Rita Sala

Course Description
This course examines the History, Culture and Education of the Italian Deaf Community from a multidisciplinary perspective. The course will explore the sociological meanings of culture and community and their application to the Deaf community in general. We will focus on the history and the educational experience of deaf people in Italy and in Siena, where one of the oldest Residential School for the Deaf was founded in 1828 by priest Tommaso Pendola. Now it is no longer a school but it is used as a place where deaf students can get tutored in school subjects during the afternoon. Education of Deaf individuals in Italy is strongly related to the development of Italian Sign Language (LIS). Students will receive the sociological and cultural context that allows them to understand and reflect on the Deaf way of life and the historical evolution of the Italian Deaf Community and Culture.
Special guest lecturers come from all over Italy to provide insight on the multi-faceted and evolving Italian Deaf community. Students will further contextualize course topics and discussions through active engagement with the Italian Deaf Community in Siena, surrounding communities on day-trips—unique with their own histories and cultures, as well as overnight trips, during semester programs, to other regions in Italy to fully experience the linguistic, cultural, and historical differences that still exist across Italy today.

Current enrolment in required DST courses (LIS, and Italian)

Course Hours
The course meets for a total of30 hours with workshops, lectures and class excursions.
Suggested credits: 2

Student Learning Expectations
Italian Deaf Culture has history well before the 1880 Congress of Milan -- perhaps one of the most well-known events taking place in Italy, and has recent culture and history well worth looking at today. Exploring sociological perspectives in Italy, Italian Sign Language, teaching methods in Italy, Italian Deaf community and culture, as well as Interpreting and Sign Languages in Europe, students will have a full overview of Italian Sign Language and Culture in Italy upon completing this course.

Instructor's contact
Office Hours: By appointment via skype: sala.rita


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