MIKE GULLIVER

Deaf geographies, and other worlds.

Banquets des Sourds-Muets: 2

Please refer to the first post in this series for an original copy of the current chapter.

Perhaps a word of introduction on the banquets and the official banquet accounts before I start the translation.

The Banquets des Sourds-Muets effectively began in 1834, although there was a small meal the year before at which the idea for a more formal banquet germinated. Organised by the Société Centrale des Sourds-Muets, and presided over by Ferdinand Berthier (at least initially), they were the most visible public space produced by (at least some of) the community of those who referred to themselves as ‘sourds-muets’ and were a powerful political presence for that community right through the middle of the 1800’s.

To my knowledge, the official banquet accounts have never been translated… and certainly not by someone prepared to also give an historical analysis of the movement and of its presence in the record. If anyone knows something I don’t, please let me know… it’ll save me lots of time 😉

The first tome, which I’m starting to translate here, was published in 1842… there was a political aim to deciding to publish in tomes, and at certain dates… but I’ll address that when I get to it.

Notes on terminology:

‘Sourds-muets’ is most immediately translated ‘deaf-mutes’ (and this is the convention that I’ve used in the translation, at least at this point).

It’s probably worth noting that the hyphenated addition of ‘mute’ to ‘deaf’ is explained by Berthier in a later document in such a way as to suggest that the most accurate translation for ‘sourd-muet’ is not ‘deaf’, or ‘deaf-mute’… or even ‘Deaf’ (see an array of modern references), but actually as a script equivalent for the sign that appears in BSL as

British Sign Language sign for DEAF

or as the combination sign

Alternative British Sign Language sign for DEAF.

This is a sign that I’ve represented more recently in other work as ‘DEAF’ (following standard approaches to glossing)… and it should be understood to represent the sign, and the identity that it captures rather than an expression of physical or communicative ability.

So to the translation, which is offered below as a progressively growing pdf, hosted at Scribd

View this document on Scribd
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This entry was posted on November 10, 2010 by in DEAF history and tagged , .
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