Areas of Study

Through Deaf Eyes is a two-hour documentary that explores almost 200 years of Deaf life in America and presents a broad range of perspectives on what it means to be deaf.

The film is propelled by the stories of people, both eminent and ordinary, and sheds light on events that have shaped Deaf lives. The film includes interviews with prominent members of the Deaf community, including actress Marlee Matlin and Gallaudet University president emeritus I. King Jordan.

Interwoven throughout the film are six short documentaries produced by Deaf media artists and filmmakers. Poignant, sometimes humorous, these commissioned stories bring a personalized sense of Deaf life in America to the film.

Through first person accounts and the film as a whole, Through Deaf Eyes tells the story of conflicts, prejudice and affirmation that ultimately reaches the heart of what it means to be human.

Through Deaf Eyes is a production of WETA Washington, D.C. and Florentine Films/Hott Productions, in association with Gallaudet University. Courtesy of Gallaudet University Press.

Content Warning

Through Deaf Eyes references the 1927 film, The Jazz Singer, because it was the first movie to incorporate synchronized music and speech, and its release heralded the end of the silent film era. For deaf audiences, the film was significant because it represented the end of access to Hollywood movies.

Through Deaf Eyes contains a clip from The Jazz Singer that features an actor in blackface. The timestamp in which this clip appears is 32:57–33:06.

The use of blackface was racist and offensive in 1927, and it is racist and offensive now. Gallaudet University Press does not condone the use of blackface or any other acts of anti-Black behavior.

Read transcript