Christopher Krentz, Ph.D.
Dr. Christopher Krentz is associate professor of English and ASL and director of the American Sign Language Program at the University of Virginia. He is author of Writing Deafness: The Hearing Line in Nineteenth-Century American Literature (University of North Carolina Press, 2007) and editor of A Mighty Change: An Anthology of Deaf American Writing, 1816-1864 (Gallaudet University Press, 2000). He has published articles on deafness and disability in literature and culture. Dr. Krentz helped to found the American Sign Language Program at the University of Virginia. Although he began slowly losing his hearing at age nine, Krentz had little contact with the signing Deaf community until age 23, when he got a job at Gallaudet University. There he began learning ASL and proudly identifying with Deaf culture.
Writing Deaf Identity in Nineteenth-Century America
Oct 29, 2009, 7:00pm
Robert F. Panara Theatre at NTID/RIT
Like other minorities, in the early nineteenth century deaf Americans challenged prevailing assumptions about their identities through the written word. Deaf authors like Laurent Clerc, John Carlin, and John J. Flournoy turned to writing to prove their reason and humanity to the hearing majority. They also used written English to communicate with each other when they were separated by time or space. Dr. Krentz's 2009-2010 lecture explored this rich, complex deaf writing and offered insight into the development of deaf consciousness and pride in antebellum America.
What does written English have to do with the advancement of deaf people? What is the relationship between English and ASL, and how is English part of American Deaf culture? This 2009-2010 workshop began with some examples of the power of deaf writing in American history, which led to a discussion of writing, deaf pride, and deaf potential.