Deaf Literacy

  • The Deaf Studies fellowship provides the opportunity to learn/develop skills in American Sign Language, to engage with scholarship in the field of Deaf studies, and to participate actively with Deaf Family Literacy Midsouth, Tennessee Hands and Voices, and other local organizations devoted to the deaf and hard of hearing.
  • Through the fellowship’s combination of sign language acquisition, community involvement, and independent research, students gain valuable insights into the interplay of language, culture, and identity. The sustained involvement throughout a full academic year provided by this fellowship allows students to see the world in entirely new ways as they explore the complex interface of hearing and D/deaf culture.
  • The fellowship has three components, requiring a time commitment of approximately 6 hours per week:

  1. Sign Language: All fellows take ASL classes taught by the director of Deaf Family Literacy Midsouth. Classes involve a hybrid format with alternating weeks online and on the Rhodes campus. Classes and any supplemental materials are fully funded through the Fellowship program. (1 hr/week class; at least 1 hr/week practice)
  2. Community Involvement: Fellows help facilitate and supervise activities for deaf and hard of hearing children and their families at a range of events, such as Read with Me Sign with Me at the Memphis Public Library, Deaf Family Literacy presentations for families, and Tennessee Hands and Voices programs. Fellows also collaborate actively with Rhodes American Sign Language and Deaf Culture Club in facilitating awareness of American Sign Language and Deaf culture on the Rhodes campus. Past collaborative activities have included film screenings, a Rites to Play ASL table, and shared involvement with events in the community. (2 hrs/wk on average)
  3. Research: A central aspect of the fellowship involves connections between Deaf studies and students’ academic coursework. During the first semester, fellows will read a series of books and articles introducing various topics integral to Deaf Studies, focusing especially on Deaf culture, literature, and history. The second semester will build from this shared background as fellows develop individual research projects specific to their particular academic interests. This research will culminate in an URCAS presentation or equivalent project. Past student projects have drawn productive connections within the fields of literature, biology, anthropology, sociology, psychology, history, film studies, linguistics, and gender studies, just to name a few. (2 hrs/wk on average)

Begins late August; ends May. Contact Professor Lori Garner to apply. Three fellows may participate per year.