Deaf Studies

Degrees and Certificates


DST 101 : Introduction to Deaf Studies

This is the foundation course for Deaf Studies majors. Students survey various discourse communities and key concepts within Deaf Studies, the diversity of membership in the Deaf community, technology supported in the Deaf world, and careers/professions involving ASL and Deaf people. Students develop their professional goals, their perspective on Deaf people as both consumer and expert, and their personal role in the Deaf community as member or ally. The course consists of lectures, projects, professional observations, and community service and/or attendance at Deaf events. Students also develop the critical thinking, reading, and writing and "e-learning skills of a Deaf Studies major. Open to Deaf Studies degree, Deaf Studies certificate, and General Education - Education Studies degree majors, or by permission of program director for non-majors. Four lecture hours per week as well as outside hours. Instructional Support Fee applies. Gen. Ed. Competencies Met: Critical Thinking and Information Literacy.


  1. Readily recall and use the language of Deaf Studies through their survey of discourse communities.
  2. Define Deaf Studies to a layman.
  3. Explain their role as member of ally to the Deaf community.
  4. Discuss a variety of Deaf Studies professions.
  5. Recognize technology used by Deaf people, such as TTY, list-serv, Video Relay, and traditional relay systems.
  6. Seek resources to continue developing academically as Deaf Studies majors and direct other students to key locations on the Fall River Campus.
  7. Identify their learning style, personality type, communication style, work habit, strengths, etc.

DST 110 : Deaf Culture

This course explores the culture of the American Deaf community, focusing on enculturation; values, attitudes and norms; social, political and athletic organizations; the visual and performing arts; folklore and humor; and diversity of membership. The late 19th and 20th century of Deaf experience is studied with specific reference to cultural implications of technology, Deaf education, and (hearing) societal perspectives. Readings, lectures, discussions and videos emphasize the Deaf as a cultural and linguistic minority group. Pre or co-requisite: ENG 101. Gen. Ed. Competencies Met: Critical Thinking, Global and Historic Awareness, and Multicultural and Social Perspectives.


  1. Recognize and defend the Deaf as a cultural/linguistic minority group.
  2. Identify Deaf values, attitudes, norms, and behaviors.
  3. Explain the unique circumstances/process in which the Deaf are enculturated.
  4. Cite examples of social, political, athletic, and arts organizations (and individuals) in the Deaf community.
Upon completion of this course, students will have:
  1. Been exposed to diversity of membership including: Deaf-Black, Deaf-Latino, Deaf-Native American, Deaf-Gay, and Deaf-Blind populations.
  2. Analyzed the effects of technology, Deaf education, and hearing society’s perspectives on Deaf culture.
  3. Explored common myths believed true regarding the Deaf.
  4. Explored the contributions of Deaf Americans.
  5. Explored the perspective and daily life of a “Visual person”.
  6. Explored Deaf human rights, highlighted through civil rights movements, political actions, and present day examples of oppression of various Deaf cultures of the world.

DST 151 : Deaf History

This course examines the social, political, and cultural forces that brought together Deaf people as a cohesive, American co-culture. The course emphasizes the 19th and 20th century experiences, events, and institutions that have shaped the Deaf Community as we know it today. Deaf people are also studied as unique contributors to the heritage of the United States. Prerequisite: DST 110 with a grade of C or better. Three lecture hours per week. Gen. Ed. Competencies Met: Critical Thinking, Global and Historic Awareness, and Information Literacy.


1. Read, interpret and synthesize information from Deaf Studies primary and secondary sources relating to a specific topic or question in Deaf History. 2. Analyze the influence of power, paternalism and oppression on Deaf people as they emerged as an American co-culture in the 19th and 20th centuries. 3. Analyze history to predict contemporary issues (history in the making) that will most impact the Deaf community of the future. 4. Synthesize past and present events in Deaf history to formulate a personal understanding of the Deaf experience and perspective.

DST 251 : Deaf Literature and ASL Folklore

This course surveys the signed and written works of Deaf authors, storytellers, and artists; this course includes both written works (originals and English translations) and American Sign Language works that have been preserved on film or video, often these works defy standard genre classification. Students study and analyze fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, memoirs, anecdotes, and tales. Special attention is given to the tradition of storytelling and storytellers in ASL, folklore (which includes original ASL works such as improvisations), success stories, poetry, handshape poetry, ASL films, humor/jokes, and drum songs. Students broaden their understanding of literature through examination of the Deaf cultures' oral tradition, which transmitted, developed and expanded the literature at residential schools, Deaf Clubs, "literary nights" and festivals. All works are considered in a cultural, historical, and political context to develop an understanding of Deaf people as an American co-culture. Prerequisite: DST 110 with a C or better. Gen. Ed. Competencies Met: Human Expression, Information Literacy, and Multicultural and Social Perspectives.


  1. Compare and contrast orature and traditional literature.
  2. Site and categorize examples of ASL literature and folklore.
  3. Discuss the significance of residential schools, Deaf clubs, literary nights and festivals, and new technology to the propagation of ASL folklore and ASL Lit.
  4. Name and recognize celebrated poets, storytellers and artists, and their works.
5. Identify and discuss Deaf themes and other common elements found in Deaf literature and ASL folklore.
  1. Survey a variety of Deaf Art, poetry, drama, fiction and non-fiction-- ASL and written works done by Deaf authors/poets/artists.
  2. Defend Deaf Literature as a viable minority American Literature.
  3. Contrast Deaf Literature with Deaf writing and deaf image in mainstream literature, challenging the latter as stereotype.

DST 284 : ASL/Deaf Studies Capstone Seminar

This is the capstone course for all Deaf Studies degree options. Students integrate, reflect on, and apply what they have learned in their Deaf Studies program through a variety of real-world projects with authentic audiences, including but not limited to, planning and hosting an awareness event for the college. Students are expected to work individually and collaboratively. Through this approach, students recognize and evaluate how individuals (including self) contribute differently to a goal (through varying perspectives, values, communication styles and work habits) Students also begin goal formation for the community-based learning course. Prerequisites: ASL 201, ASL 181, DST 101, and DST 110. Pre or co-requisites: ASL 202, DST 151 and/or DST 252. Gen. Ed. Competencies Met: Critical Thinking and Information Literacy.


1. Integrate previous knowledge to inform their gathering and analysis of information needed for projects. 2. Create real-world projects with authentic audiences to add value to their own, or the campus, awareness of Deaf people and Deaf Studies. 3. Evaluate one's own academic and (pre) professional abilities/skills. 4. Communicate ideas effectively, ethically and inclusively.