Areas of Study


The Black Deaf Studies Minor is open to anyone with an existing major who wants to supplement their majors with studies in Black Deaf experience, culture, and language. The minor requires a minimum of 24 credits, including six credits of pre-requisite courses, 15 credits of required courses, and three credits of electives. Courses include DST 401: Black Deaf People Studies, DST 413, Black Deaf History: 1818-1890, and more. They are taught by the faculty, staff, and adjuncts from various departments with scholarly interest in Black Deaf Studies. Students will gain a much broader view, understanding, and appreciation of Black Deaf Studies, which will guide them as they work with Black Deaf people in their careers.

Courses & Requirements

Summary of Requirements

Required Minor Courses 15 credits

This course provides a broad overview of the dialect of ASL known as Black ASL.  Students will learn the historical and social context of the variety and its linguistic features.  Perceptions of Black and mainstreamed Deaf experiences will also be discussed.  Students are expected to develop a course project at the end of the semester.
The movement of Afro-American storytelling, their culture, and their traditions will be introduced in this course by studying the aspects of oral literature and literary artists in the Afro-American community. Then parallel the findings and their perspectives with the Black Deaf community, attempts will be made to study ASL literary tradition in the Black Deaf community by looking at Afro-American Deaf histories, narratives, and poetry performances in the United States of America.

This course primarily examines black deaf people in America including the Caribbean Islands and Africa. The course is organized to focus on the history, education, community and culture, language, and psychosocial forces that influence black deaf people's experience. It will concentrate on the social, political, and cultural development of a unique group of people that is a part of the general deaf community and the black community.

This course examines the presence of Black Deaf people in Deaf history, beginning with the first student to receive a formal education at a school for the deaf until the establishment of the Texas Blind, Deaf, Orphanage or TBDO as it was called. It will begin with a theoretical survey of the condition of being a black person during slavery, Reconstruction era and colonialism, and conclude with a discussion of the Reconstruction era decision to provide education for Black Deaf students in the Southern states.
An introduction to the oral history research approach where students will be engaged in all aspects including but not limited to designing a project, conducting interviews, processing an archive, as well as creating a public presentation using oral histories. This seminar will provide students with the foundations for designing and executing oral history research projects.

Required pre-minor courses 6 credits

This is an introductory survey to the field of Deaf Studies that highlights cutting edge concepts and theories at use in this field. The course will show how deaf people and sign languages are integral aspects of human diversity and how societies have responded to this diversity across different social, temporal, and cultural moments and movements.

This course examines various forms of oppression by looking across different cultures and communities, then examines possible parallels occurring within the deaf community.

Elective minor courses 3 credits

Special topics in the discipline, designed primarily for seniors who are majors or minors. Students may enroll in 495 Special Topics multiple times, as long as the topics differ.

Study of important and representative works of literature and literary forms that make up the African American literary tradition. When offered for 4 credits, this course will be dual listed with GSR 210, 220, 230, or 240 and will address the Student Learning Outcomes of these courses.

Introduction to the study and intensive practice of creative writing. The course will touch on fiction, drama, poetry, and other creative forms. Analysis and critique of students' writings in group and individual conferences. May be repeated for a maximum of nine credit hours if topics differ.

This course provides students with an overview of multicultural literature in conjunction with the historical and contemporary issues facing each culture. The texts discussed in this course may include Hispanic/Chicano/Chicana literature, African American literature, American Indian literature, Deaf literature, Gay/Lesbian literature, English from the former colonies/postcolonial literature, and others. The course will focus on the techniques and strategies implemented by the authors to undermine and question mainstream attitudes and values through an investigation of questions such as these: What is "minority?" How is identity formulated in the margins?

A survey of the history of African civilizations from earliest times to the present. The course emphasizes political, social, economic, and cultural developments within sub-Saharan Africa, particularly during the modern period.

This course will present a detailed examination of the black experience in America from the Civil War to today to provide an understanding of the role African-Americans have played in the history of America and an assessment of why until recently they were excluded from the promise of American democracy. The course will analyze the various political, economic, social, and cultural methods African-Americans have employed to survive in an overwhelmingly hostile environment and analyze their prospects as they make the final frontal assault on the structure of racially discriminatory institutions.

Bioethics is a branch of applied ethics, which in turn is a part of the philosophical field of ethics. Bioethics applies ethical theory to issues in the biological sciences, including scientific research and healthcare. This course introduces major theoretical approaches to bioethics and applies them to topics of interest to the deaf community, including (but not limited to) eugenics, cochlear implant surgery, and genetic technology. Bioethics theories and concepts covered will include informed consent, research ethics, individual and group rights, surrogate decision-making, quality of life, genetic enhancement versus gene therapy, and wrongful life. The potential impact of new and emerging technologies on the deaf community will also be discussed.

This course provides an overview of health-related challenges facing individuals in today's connected and globalized world. Health issues will be approached from both individual and community perspectives with a focus on concepts of wellness and prevention. Emphasis will be placed on individual decision-making and understanding of biological, social, environmental, and other factors affecting health and wellness. We will also study the role of health behaviors and how they contribute to healthier lives.

This course will examine the historical and contemporary cultural expressions of the religions of Black diaspora communities in the Americas. The nature of Africana Religions, their adaptation and expression in North America, South America, and the Caribbean will be discussed. African-American conjure traditions, the emergence and role of African-American led churches and African-American expressions of Islam from the time of enslavement to today will be explored. The course will also examine historical contemporary manifestations of Black spirituality in popular culture and the Deaf community, as part of our practice of listening and learning from Black voices.

A study of racial and ethnic relations in the United States. The course focuses on the characteristics of various American racial and ethnic groups, some of the causes of racial/ethnic group oppression, and racial/ethnic group responses to oppression.

A study of gender and social class inequality. The course emphasizes theoretical and conceptual issues related to inequality, characteristics of various social stratification systems, and minority group responses to social inequality.

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Minor in Black Deaf Studies

Carolyn McCaskill


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