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Mary E. (Mary Beth) Kitzel

Mary E. (Mary Beth) Kitzel

Visiting Assistant Professor
585) 475-5059 (v)
Historical Human Geography and Deaf Cultural Studies
Ph.D. University of Sussex

Office Hours: Fall or by appointment

Dr Kitzel's research interests lie at the intersection of Historical Human Geography and Deaf Cultural Studies. She writes about how Deaf communities formulate in different locations. Her most recent project focuses on Rochester’s Deaf Community in the nineteenth century. She also studies Early Modern and early Victorian deaf communities in Southern England.

Dr Kitzel is the Founder and Director of the Field School in Deaf Geographies. As a part of the School's mission, Dr Kitzel also coordinates the International Conference in Deaf Geographies (ICDG). This conference serves as an incubator for research in the new and exciting field, as well as providing an opportunity for the School's scholars to share the findings of their projects. In 2016, ICDG was the only conference with a Deaf Studies theme hosted in the United States.

Dr Kitzel received her AAS in Educational Interpreting from the National Technical Institute for the Deaf and her BS in Multidisciplinary Studies from the College of Continuing Education, both at Rochester institute of Technology. Her MSc in Cross Cultural Research Methods (Geography) and her PhD in Human Geography were both completed at the School of Global Studies, the University of Sussex under the supervision of Simon Rycroft and Brian Short. Dr Kitzel's first teaching post was at the Bader International Study Centre of Queen’s University (Canada), Herstmonceux, East Sussex, where she was also Scholar-in-Residence in 2012.

A Rochester native, Dr Kitzel has been a member of the RIT community for more than thirty years - as student, alumnae, staff, and faculty.

Publications and Papers:

Kitzel, ME (2017) Starting in 'The Cellar': Working with the Deaf community, invited lecture, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York. 26 October 2017

Kitzel, ME (2017) Creating a Deaf Place: The development of the Asylum for Deaf and Dumb Poor Children in the early nineteenth century, Journal of Cultural Geography, 34, 2, 149-169

Kitzel, ME (2017) Chasing Ancestors into the 17th C. Weald. Invited Lecture. The College of the Holy Cross, Worchester, Massachusetts. 20 February 2017

Kitzel, ME (2016) Language, Space and History: a case study of sign language people. Invited lecture for One World Week: Sign Language World. University of Sussex, Falmer, East Sussex, 15 March 2016

Gulliver, M & Kitzel, ME (2016) ‘Deaf Geographies’ in Gertz, G. & Boudrealt, P. (eds) The Sage Deaf Studies Encyclopedia. SAGE Publications, Inc. 

Kitzel, ME (2015) On the Cutting Edge: The Field School in Deaf Geographies, in Deaf Space in Education, a session of the International Conference in Deaf Geographies, Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY, 29 June 2015

Kitzel, ME (2015) Panelist, Deaf Geographies: Deaf spaces and the methodological transformation of the academy, a session at the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, Chicago, ILL. 24 April 2015 

Kitzel, ME (2015) A Taxonomy of SLP Spaces: a scalar framework in Deaf Geographies: Theorising and describing Deaf spaces, a session at the American Association of Geographers Annual Meeting, Chicago, ILL. 24 April 2015

Kitzel, ME (2014) Chasing Ancestors: Searching for American Sign Language’s historical origins in the Kentish Weald, 1620-1851, invited lecture, University College London, London, 3 July 2014

Kitzel, ME (2014) ‘Chasing ancestors: searching for the roots of American Sign Language in the Kentish Weald, 1620-1851. PhD, University of Sussex, U.K. (available here:

Gulliver M, Kitzel ME, Walker J (2013) Conference Report: ‘Deaf Geographies’. In Deaf History International Newsletter. No 51. December 2013. pp 8-9.