Department of Cultural and Creative Studies

Overview

The Department of Cultural and Creative Studies is comprised of diverse and talented faculty and staff who are responsible for providing general education instruction to students enrolled in degree programs at NTID. The department offers courses in the broad areas of Deaf cultural studies/ASL; and communication, social, and global awareness.

Deaf Cultural Studies/ASL

RIT offers Deaf Cultural Studies courses to students enrolled in associate and bachelor's degree programs. Courses for associate degree students are offered through the College of NTID, and courses for bachelor's degree students are offered through the RIT College of Liberal Arts. These courses employ a cultural studies framework in which to examine the Deaf experience and social/cultural constructs. As such, the courses do not approach being Deaf as a pathology or disability. In addition to studying Deaf culture, students will develop critical consciousness of power-relationships and social justice as well as an understanding of individual and social identity with specific reference to the Deaf experience. Focusing on the Deaf experience, students will study how meaning is created and shared via the power of cultural institutions and values and how institutions and values impact the formation of identities, social roles and expectations.

The Deaf Cultural Studies minor and immersion offered to students enrolled in bachelor’s degree programs through the RIT College of Liberal Arts provides a unique opportunity for RIT students to pursue and critically analyze integrated scholarly studies related to the historical, anthropological, psychosocial, linguistic, artistic, literary, legal/political and multicultural elements of the Deaf experience. The minor and immersion provide students with opportunities to critically examine social and cultural constructions, especially as they impact individuals and social groups. As a result, students may be empowered as agents of social change.

The Study of Deaf Culture

As with the specialized study of most ethnic and disenfranchised groups, RIT Deaf Cultural Studies approaches the field from a cultural perspective. For disenfranchised groups, this means one must study their culture in relation to the more general cultural context. Courses in literary and artistic expressions of members of these groups, for example, must be analyzed in light of the broader context of the experiences of oppression and resistance.

The field of cultural studies focuses on how meaning is created and shared via the power of cultural institutions and values as they impact the formation of identities, social roles and expectations. Cultural studies allows us to examine our social constructions of reality and question subsequent inequalities. In particular, the field of Deaf Cultural Studies crosses many disciplines and includes American Sign Language as a core construct.

Selected Resources

Deaf Cultural Studies/ASL Certificate

The Certificate in Deaf Cultural Studies/ASL is offered to students enrolled in degree programs at NTID and the other colleges of RIT as an enhancement to their portfolio of general academic, career, and technical skills. It is not a stand-alone certification. The certificate offers an opportunity to learn about historical, anthropological, linguistic, literary, artistic, and multicultural aspects of deaf people’s lives. Courses expose students to a breadth and depth of topics in Deaf Cultural Studies and ASL, and address NTID General Education goals for critical thinking, writing, and public presentations.

The overall program goals of the Deaf Cultural Studies/ASL Certificate are to:

  • study the Deaf experience from the perspective of a disenfranchised minority group  
  • understand and appreciate Deaf culture 
  • promote the development of English and ASL literacy  
  • promote the development of critical thinking skills 
  • promote the development of communication skills

For the Deaf Cultural Studies/ASL Certificate, you choose three (3) of the elective courses listed below. The courses may be taken any semester in  a student's program of study.

  • NHSS-159 Deaf Community in the Modern World
  • NHSS-251 Deaf Culture and Contemporary Civilization
  • NHSS-260 Deaf People and Civil Rights
  • NHSS-270 Multiculturalism in the Deaf Community
  • NASL-275 Structure of ASL
  • NHSS-275 Visual Expressions of Deaf Culture
  • NHSS-279 Seminar in Deaf Cultural Studies

Patti Durr, Program Contact
paddhd@rit.edu

Deaf Cultural Studies Minor and Immersion

Overview of Minor

The American Sign Language-Deaf Cultural Studies minor prepares students in the multi-disciplinary study of American Sign Language (ASL) and Deaf Cultural Studies (DCS). Courses are open to deaf and hearing students enrolled in bachelor's degree programs. Students enrolled in the ASL-English interpretation program, however, must follow Option 2 as described below to satisfy the language requirement. This minor requires students to achieve a minimal level of competence in ASL (MLAS-202 or equivalent skills) and complete at least one course in DCS. The minor is very flexible, and allows students to satisfy requirements in a variety of ways. Specifically, students may pursue the minor with an emphasis in ASL by completing four language courses and one DCS course, or students may pursue the minor with an emphasis in DCS by completing one language course and four DCS courses. Alternatively, students may pursue the minor by completing any combination of courses satisfying the requirements stated below.

To complete the minor, students take 15 semester credit hours distributed over five courses as follows:

Prerequisite

Language course(s): One or two courses in American Sign Language are required, depending on a student's proficiency in ASL

Option 1: If a student is not proficient in ASL, the student must complete the following two courses (or demonstrate equivalent skills) (8 credit hours)

  • MLAS-201 Beginning American Sign Language I
  • MLAS-202 Beginning American Sign Language II

Option 2: If a student is proficient in ASL, the student must complete one of the following courses (3 credit hours). This includes students enrolled in the American Sign Language-English Interpretation program.

  • MLAS-351 Linguistics of American Sign Language, or
  • MLAS-352 American Sign Language Literature

Courses

Elective courses: three or four courses from the following lists are required (9 or 12 credit hours), depending on your proficiency in ASL. At least one course must be a DCS elective.

  • If a student wants to focus studies on ASL, the student should choose two or three language courses and one DCS course
  • If a student wants to emphasize DCS, the student should choose three or four DCS courses depending on the student's proficiency in ASL
  • If  a student prefers a balance of ASL and DCS courses, the student may freely distribute electives across ASL and DCS in a manner consistent with the student's ASL proficiency and course prerequisites.
American Sign Language courses
  • MLAS-301 Intermediate American Sign Language I
  • MLAS-302 Intermediate American Sign Language II
  • MLAS-351 Linguistics of American Sign Language
  • MLAS-352 American Sign Language Literature
  • MLAS-401 Advanced American Sign Language I
  • MLAS-402 Advanced American Sign Language II
Deaf Cultural Studies courses
  • ENGL-343 Global Deaf Literature
  • ENGL-417 Deaf Literature
  • FNRT-440 Deaf Art & Cinema
  • HIST-230 American Deaf History
  • HIST-231 Deaf People in Global Perspective
  • HIST-330 Deaf People and Technology
  • HIST-333 Diversity in the Deaf Community
  • HIST-334 Oppression in the Lives of Deaf People
  • HIST-335 Women and the Deaf Community
  • HIST-430 Deaf Spaces
  • NHSS-251 Deaf Culture and Contemporary Civilization
  • NHSS-275 Visual Expressions of Deaf Culture
  • SOCI-240 Deaf Culture in America

Faculty Minor Advisors

Sandra Bradley, American Sign Language (ASL) Minor Advisor
(585) 286-4551, Email

Patti Durr, Minor Advisor
(585) 475-6069 Email

Overview of Immersion

The American Sign Language-Deaf Cultural Studies immersion introduces students to the multi-disciplinary study of American Sign Language and Deaf Culture. Courses are open to deaf and hearing students enrolled in bachelor's degree programs and can complement majors in fields such as business, imaging arts and sciences, health sciences, policy studies, communication, psychology, and numerous scientific and technical fields.

The immersion introduces students to the language, customs, and cultural aspects (history, art, literature) of the deaf community. For example, if a student is not fluent in ASL, the student can complete two language courses and one DCS course. Or if a student is fluent in ASL, the student can complete two cultural studies courses and one ASL course.

If a student has little or no knowledge of ASL, the student should enroll in MLAS-201 Beginning ASL I. If a student has some ASL proficiency, the student should contact the ASL immersion advisor to set up a placement interview to determine appropriate course placement. MLAS 201 and 202 Beginning ASL I and II are closed to native ASL signers, evening students and students in the ASL-English interpretation program; however, these students can take the DCS courses. Students in the ASL-English interpretation program should confer with their advisor concerning the program-specific restrictions on ASL and DCS courses applied towards the immersion.

Prerequisite

None

Courses

Choose one to three of the following courses:

Language Courses
  • MLAS-201 Beginning ASL I
  • MLAS-202 Beginning ASL II
  • MLAS-301 Intermediate ASL I
  • MLAS-302 Intermediate ASL II
  • MLAS-401 Advanced ASL I
  • MLAS-402 Advanced ASL II
Deaf Cultural Studies Courses
  • ENG1-343 Global Deaf Literature
  • ENGL-417 Deaf Literature
  • FNRT-440 Deaf Art and Cinema
  • HIST-230 American Deaf History
  • HIST-231 Deaf People in Global Perspective
  • HIST-330 Deaf People and Technology
  • HIST-333 Diversity in the Deaf Community
  • HIST-334 Oppression in the Lives of Deaf People
  • HIST-335 Women and the Deaf Community
  • HIST-430 Deaf Spaces
  • MLAS-351 Linguistics of American Sign Language
  • MLAS-352 American Sign Language Literature
  • NHSS-251 Deaf Culture and Contemporary Civilization
  • NHSS-275 Visual Expressions of Deaf Culture
  • SOCI-240 Deaf Culture in America

Faculty Immersion Advisors

Patti Durr, Minor Advisor
(585) 475-6069, Email

Sandra Bradley, American Sign Language (ASL) Minor Advisor
(585) 286-4551, Email

Communication, Social, and Global Awareness

Courses in the Communication, Social, and Global Awareness Perspective address a range of contemporary topics, concepts and principles through the study of personal, social, cultural, and technological issues. In addition to content area knowledge, these courses emphasize skills in the areas of communication, literacy and critical thinking. 

  • NHSS-110 Perspectives on Literature and the Arts
  • NHSS-111 The Changing American Family
  • NHSS-159 Deaf Community in the Modern World
  • NHSS-180 Introduction to Social Sciences
  • NHSS-219 Understanding Human Interaction Through Dramatic Literature
  • NHSS-251 Deaf Culture and Contemporary Civilization
  • NHSS-260 Deaf People and Civil Rights
  • NHSS-270 Multiculturalism in the Deaf Community
  • NHSS-275 Visual Expressions of Deaf Culture
  • NHSS-281 Civic Engagement