42) For more on the nineteenth-century history of Oralism
, see Davis' Enforcing Normalcy; Douglas C.
This was the helplessness to which proponents of oralism
was the focus for Deaf education for around a century.
This description reflected an ideal more than the reality, but it reveals that although oralism
had considerable marketing value, signing continued to be used for practical reasons.
The history of Deaf Education in America supports this explanation as oralism
(the philosophy that promotes educating deaf and hard of hearing through the use of speech only, which swept the world after the World Conference for the Deaf in Milan, Italy, in 1880).
The Congress of Milan set in chain a sequence of events that spread oralism
all around the world, and led to a downgrading and removal of sign language and deaf teachers and professionals.
There will be a debate on signing versus oralism
(lip reading) from 7pm tomorrow at the Henry Fry Centre, Hertford Place, Coventry - one of a number of events being organised during Deaf Awareness Week.
Tarr referred to the oralism
of Pentecostalism as it relates to the oral culture of the early church.
Like Socrates, Jesus proclaimed the intimate realm of the spirit in an ironically oral/non-traditional style -- "an oralist" says Havelock of the Gadfly of Athens, "adhering to the habit of his youth, yet using oralism
in a brand new manner" (5).
While schools for people with mental retardation can be seen, through the retrospectoscope as abysmal institutions tied up with eugenics and ableist notions of normality (although they probably started out as very progressive institutions devoted to the notion that idiocy was not an incurable or irremediable state), it is much harder to characterize schools for the deaf as such, although the easy out is to critique oralism
They explore how women shaped Deaf culture and deafness itself in the example of Marcelina Ruiz Ricote y Fernandez, the dominance of hearing women teachers, and mothering dictated by oralism
, with the concluding papers covering the ways in which Deaf women are perceived in film (The Piano and Children of a Lesser God), religion, gendered signing and even beauty pageants.
The chapter, in fact, encompasses many different issues: evolutionary theory, eugenics, oralism
and the Milan Congress of 1880.