D/deaf Writing Does: An Investigation of D/deaf Literacy Theory and Narratives

  • Brynn Kairis Rutgers University


How the academic community regards and defines literacy plays a critical role in the inclusion and agency of people from all walks of life. D/deaf voices, historically excluded from such scholarly conversations, re-envision and redefine preconceived notions of what it means to be literate. This two-part essay investigates the multiple methods and modalities that D/deaf writing encompasses by reviewing past and current D/deaf literacy theory, drawing on the works of Ursula Bellugi,
Brenda Jo Brueggeman, Todd Czubek, and others. It then examines the literacy narratives of two D/deaf individuals, applying theory and identifying emergent themes in their literate lives. These themes expose ways in which D/deaf writing rejects exclusion, finds empowerment, and challenges literacy scholars to consider where the boundaries of literacy lie and how blurred these boundaries may become.