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  • Season 1

Reading and teaching 'El Deafo' with Dr. Sara Kersten Parrish

Updated: Mar 2

Season 1 Episode 2

Note: The following transcript has been edited for coherence. Excessive "ums", unnecessary "likes”, and the like have been removed for your convenience. Fragmented sentences and missing words have been edited to make the podcast transcript more readable.


[Opening Music]


Sara Kersten Parrish

University of Nevada, Reno

Website: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Sara_Kersten_Parrish

I have never read a book that just so perfectly encapsulated my own experiences. I'd never seen myself so clearly in a book.


Laura Jiménez

Is this book representing the Deaf community?


Sara

It was interesting to me that [the students] chose to connect to the book on areas that had nothing to do with the deafness.

[00:32]


Dani

Hi everyone. Welcome to Reading in the Gutter, a podcast that bridges the gap between comics and education. I'm Dani Kachorsky.


Ashley

And I am Ashley Dallacqua.


Laura

And I'm Laura Jiménez.


Ashley

And we are here today with a dear friend of mine who is also a comics scholar, among many other things, Dr. Sara Kersten Parrish. She currently is working at the University of Nevada, Reno, and she's got a lot of expertise, not only around comics but specifically, with the graphic novel El Deafo, which we're going to be talking about today. So, Sara, we're so excited to have you here.


Sara

Oh, I'm glad to be here. Thank you.


Dani

Alrighty. Well, Sara, would you mind just telling us a little bit about your scholarship around El Deafo, and then, I know Laura has had some recent experiences with her students and the graphic novel that might be interesting in contrast to what you're doing.


[01:39]


Sara

Um, sorry. I just got tired.


I got introduced to the book when I was at Ohio State doing my graduate work and I was actually in the middle of my candidacy exams. So, my advisor got an early copy and she gave it to me and she said to me, "Wait to read this when you're done with your exam." [laughter]


I ignored her. [laughter] And I read it in one sitting.


And I have never read a book that just so perfectly sort of encapsulated my own experiences. Just, I never--I'd never seen myself so clearly in a book until I read El Deafo. So, I immediately reached out to the author, which I've never done before. And was just like, "Wow." And she reached back out. And so, we've been able to form a friendship from that, which is pretty amazing.


But when I read it, I wasn't thinking of it with a critical lens, but I mean, who does that with books that you're really invested in, right, to begin with? So, it was just something I just really, really enjoyed.


And I knew I wanted to talk to my students about it. And I think--I just very naively was like, “Okay, I'm going to read this, you're going to read this, and we're just going to enjoy this together.” [laughter] “Because I just loved it and therefore, you will.” You know? Versus thinking about the fact that my college students, at the time, were all hearing; they were possibly coming in with different conceptions. They didn't understand my experiences, her experiences, and I had to—


I stumbled through it a little bit when I taught it because, I think I--my initial lesson would just be like, "Okay, let's just talk about how much we just enjoyed this book. [laughter] I mean, don't you all enjoy it like I do?”


Laura

Sara, I'm just going to interrupt you. I actually don't teach books that I really, really love for a little while because of that issue.


Sara

Because that makes sense. Right? They become personal to you.

[03:39]


Laura

Yeah, like, “Wait. You didn't love this?"


Ashley

"What's wrong with you?"


Sara

Yeah, exactly. And I realized, with that first class, not only was-- I realized just how personal that book was to me, just how-- not only did I really love it--


Laura

Right.


Sara

I was almost doing it as my own memoir in a way.


Dani

Oh.


Sara

There were similarities in a lot of our experiences were just so strong. I mean, sure, you know, move the timeline up or down 10 years or so, and we would pretty much have almost the same story in a sense.


So, I realized that. And then I realized, okay, I needed to be giving them better tools to not--I want to say, “To help them realize how great the book is.” [laughter]--better tools and knowing how to read the book. And to understand the message beyond, "Oh, it's about a girl who lost her hearing; she's deaf; she gets lonely. Okay, great."

And then, kind of the problem with that is, you're not going into…your own thought process is not changing. You're not looking at this book as a means of broadening your understanding or thinking about things you possibly have never thought about. And I had students [who said], "I don't think about deaf people." Well, why would they? I mean, that's not a bad thing necessarily, or a good thing. But because of that lack of thinking about, they have unknowingly filled that lack with, when they are confronted with deaf/hard of hearing people, with conceptions, whether they believe it or not. So, I realized I needed to give them those tools.

So, fortunately, because of my work with Ashley with graphic novels and watching her and what she has done, I was able to go into my second class having taught it and go, "Okay, we need--I need to help prepare you for this book. I want you to be able to look at the nuances of this book and doing so what will happen?"

And that is what sort of opened up my research and into El Deafo specifically with the graphic novel. Just spending time (several class sessions) and going over graphic novel format: “What does it mean? What is the panel? You know? What is the gutter? What is the speech bubble?”


And then, for them, "Oh, that's interesting." Like they just didn't-- "Okay, it's a speech bubble. It tells you information."


“What happens when the speech bubble is blank like in El Deafo?”


"Oh, okay."


“What happened when there's space between the panels?”


So, when I started really studying that, then when I gave them the book that was, "Oh."


They were able to pinpoint it. It became sort of a scavenger hunt, for lack of a better--sort of, "Oh, this is interesting."


And then, also, I had to spend time with them going over representations of people with disabilities in children's books.


[06:26]


Laura

Right. [inaudible-crosstalk]


Sara

There aren't many to begin with. [inaudible-crosstalk]


Laura

Which is problematic. Most of the representations in children's books, especially if you look across, you know, picturebooks and elementary school books, right, they're basically just a trope fest of--[laughter]


Sara

That's a great way of saying it, yeah.


Laura

Thank you. Thank you.


Dani

I feel like Laura has just coined a new term today. [laughter]


Laura

"Trope fest" (Jimenez, in conversation). Right.


And I think--I love a couple of things that you said. You said, first of all, you had to do the work of giving them the tools of how to read comics and graphic novels.


Ashley

Yeah.


Sara

Yeah.


Laura

Right. I think—


Ashley

[Be]cause I found too, like that same thing of it's... You can just read it and enjoy it, but if you're thinking about comics in the context of education, if you treat it in the same way that you treat any other text, then you're missing so much of it and the work that it can--that it's doing.


Sara

Yeah. That's a great way to describe it. Yeah.

So, and then going back with what I was saying, just about representations, I just had to find books--picturebooks. I tried to focus on picturebooks. And I tried to focus on hard of hearing and deaf representations, which they weren't many. And, just, "Okay, so let’s read these." And then, it was interesting. Okay, at first, it's not a problem, but then we had a… I forget what exact activity I did, but like, "Okay, what did you learn about deaf people from them?" And they had to make a chart.


Laura

Right. Oh, I would love to see that chart.


Sara

Yeah. “Okay. So, anything from that chart, anything that's possibly problematic?”


"Oh."


So, when they started being able to like look at it more critically, they're like, "Interesting. So, this book is positioning deaf people as this way."


Or, “What are the ways that the author uses to describe deaf people?”


So, "Okay, they have a button in their ear."


That's my personal pet peeve.


“So, they have a button—”


It's not a button. It's a hearing aid. It's not a button. It's a hearing aid. A button would make your ear ache.


So, I had to go over the terminology. So why? Because for instance--


[08:38]


Laura

I'm going to interrupt you. I just want to say if children are listening to this, do not put buttons in your ears. [laughter] Right?


Sara

Right.


Laura

Just Don't.


Sara

Pushed down in there.


Laura

Just bad idea. I'm the mother of two boys and they put lots of things in all of their orifices. So, I could imagine them deciding to put a button in their ear.


Sara

"I want to be like that." Yeah, exactly.


So, we had to get—So, doing both of those activities, the graphic novel exploration and then just really looking at the picturebooks.


And I will say, the picturebook activity was interesting in the sense that I didn't completely like change their minds. There were some books that they were like, "This is fine", that I may have had a little more issue about. But I knew for me, that's a whole semester worth of a class is getting into disability studies. And I might--that necessarily wasn't the point. There's much more I could've done, but I wanted them to begin to understand what are these typically alphanumeric, text-based books doing.


“Okay. So now that you have that and you see the words that they're using and that you're learning...”


I think the overall consensus was, "I'm learning these like facts." So, whether they're correct or incorrect, you know? All deaf kids go to the same school together, you know? All deaf kids go to this type of concert or they wear buttons in their ears or their family members are sad that their deaf. I mean [inaudible] these are the facts, you know?


Then, we went to El Deafo. Yes, we learn the facts, but then they were able to, because of the graphic novel, getting into the feelings and get into the emotion and get into the underlying part of like being ostracized and being lonely which is what disability scholars say in relation to children's literature is largely missing. They're focusing on like the surface level.


Laura

Right.


Sara

So, um, that's some of the background. I don't know if I'm giving too much yet.


Dani

No.


[10:32]


Laura

I think some of the disability studies that I've read especially around physical disabilities also talks about, right? It's a lot like the magical black man trope. It's the magical disabled trope, so that, you know, a disabled character is there to enlighten or encourage or make better--[inaudible]--right?--everyone around them.


Sara

Yeah.


Laura

Right. And I think a lot of, especially the picturebooks that feature deaf and hard of hearing characters do that same kind of messaging. Again, objectifying a deaf or hard of hearing person in service of hearing people.


Sara

I suppose. Yeah, I would agree with that. Yeah. Just there's—So hearing people would know, okay, they're always happy.


“They're happy with where they are in life. Good. That appeases my conscious.” Right?


Laura

Exactly.


Sara

It's like, "No."


And that's what I love about El Deafo. She does not shy away from the fact that she is not happy. She was upset at the time. She felt lonely. I mean, and she--There were situations she was placed in that were hard and uncomfortable, but she also doesn't shy away from the fact that, yes, maybe some hearing people treated her in a way that made her upset and sad, but she also treated people--


Laura

Right.


Sara

--[inaudible-crosstalk] either. Right?


And she did a few things that because of her own hurt and insecurity and where she was in the classroom, that she didn't know how to react. And I appreciated that well-rounded—She didn't--she refused to be in that one trope or that one idea.

And so, that's what I began to do my own analysis, outside of that class--to do something that I just continued to look at. I don't know if that's um…


[12:30]


Dani

Alright, um, before going into something else, can you tell us what some of the picturebooks were that you guys looked at?


Sara

One of them is Dad and Me in the Morning.



Dani

Okay.


Sara

Which is--I actually like that one. The only thing that's mentioned in it is the little boy has a vibrating alarm clock.


Dani

Mmm, okay.


Sara

They're awful, right? They shake the bed. So, that's almost the only mentioning of it though. They're the worst invention, but they work. So, that's like the only mention really. So, I remember, we talked about that, and the rest of the story was a little boy and his dad going on the beach. That was a big one.


Um, A Button in Her Ear.



Laura

Yup. Yup.


Sara

[inaudible-crosstalk] That's the other one. I'm sorry. I apologize to the author, but--[laughter]


And then, the Moses series. I think it's a very popular series. [inaudible--cross talk] It focuses more on capital Deaf--"D"--Deaf culture. So, we talked about that versus what about the people who are like me so to speak that are classified deaf, but we don't--We usually participate solely in the hearing world.


So, and then, there's one other book title I'm trying to remember what it was but if it comes back to me, I'll let you know or after the study, after the second...


Dani

Yeah, you can--


Sara

Yeah, I can see the cover. I can't, yeah, so there is...there weren't many, obviously. There was only like about four or five that I could find on that weren't nonfiction books.


Dani

Mmm. Mmmhmm. [affirmative noise]


Sara

I think--I'm sorry. I think I actually pulled a few of children's nonfiction books about deaf people just so they could see. But it was incredibly factual. And I think [the books] just sort of reinforced my point of, “Just see how it is just factual information.”


Yeah. So, there's one other one. Yeah.


Dani

So, if you think of it, just let us know.


Laura

So, Sara, you mentioned--you used a phrase that I think a lot of people aren't familiar with. You mentioned big "D" Deaf community, right? So, in other words, right? And I think a lot of listeners are not going to know the difference between the idea of deaf and hard of hearing and big “D” Deaf community.


[14:45]


Sara

Okay. Big "D" Deaf community is--it's like the word Deaf but spelled with a capital D--is typically used [in] distinction with the word deaf with a lower case "d".


So, with the lower case "d", it is more describing the hearing loss. So, you have this degree of hearing loss because there's a range. So, you can have a minor hearing loss, but you are not deaf, right? You just have a minor to moderate hearing loss. I am deaf, so my hearing loss is [a severely profound bilateral loss which is deafness] so…


But to be capital "D" Deaf is you typically...is typically describing the culture of the community of people who are deaf who are part of this cultural group. And typically, they use and communicate solely with American Sign Language.


Laura

Or if they're in other countries--


Sara

Or if they're in other countries, yes, thank you.


Laura

There's Australian Sign Language and British Sign Language and there's Spanish Sign Language and now, there's Mexican Sign Language.


Sara

Oh, really? Huh?


Laura

Yeah. Yeah. They basically--They developed a Spanglish.


Ashley

Ha!


Dani

Why not?


Sara

That's a really good point. That's true. I never even thought of that. That's actually a very good point.


But anyways. Yeah. So, that's sort of the difference. So, I do not consider myself part of the big "D", capital "D" Deaf community because I grew up solely in the hearing world. I learned how to communicate orally and I can pretty much participate in the hearing world. I know two other women who are deaf and they are--One of them is the author, CeCe Bell, so I don't know that many people and they happen to be part of the hearing world as well.


So, yeah. So, it's an interesting--There is definitely much a distinction, so...


[16:31]


Laura

Right. And I think that's really, really important when we're talking about the representation in El Deafo because CeCe Bell is incredibly clear every time she talks about this that it is not a representation of capital "D" Deaf culture.


Sara

Correct.


Laura

Right. It is a memoir of her experience of hearing loss and the aftermath and continued reality of being deaf. I think, and correct--Sara, correct me if I'm wrong. I don't think she's an ASL user, is she?


Sara

She does not what? I'm sorry.


Laura

I'm sorry. An ASL?


Sara

No, she does not.


Laura

Yeah, I didn't think so. I didn't want to assume that, but I didn't think so.


Sara

I don't either. So, I know she really wanted to make it distinct because there had been tensions between the capital "D" Deaf community and those who are not.


And just tensions within and out and, you know? How to raise children who are deaf. Should you immediately try sign language? So, there's like a new, different conversation.


But I do appreciate how CeCe wrote and, in her many interviews, is like, "No, this is my own experience." [inaudible--crosstalk]


Laura

Exactly.


Sara

And you know, "I am not putting my experience above or below any other deaf experience. This is my own experience." So, and yeah, so that's what--[be]cause I could definitely relate to that. So, that is where--


Laura

Right.


Ashley

Well, that's one of the reasons I love El Deafo so much too is that when you think about representation in texts, and especially like a visual text, to be able to give such a focused perspective that I think can disrupt some of the bigger and more...bigger and yet still narrow perspectives on deafness and Deaf culture or other types of representation. It's--I think that's one of the reasons I was really drawn to it too is the personal telling but then, the ways in which it can disrupt kind of those big assumptions that everybody comes in--or that many people come into--around what it means to be deaf or part of the Deaf culture or not, and big “D” Deaf culture.


[18:56]


Sara

Yeah. Yeah. I mean, when I—I don't know if you—

In that one article I wrote, the students said point-blank, “I had no idea it was like this.”


It was great. Versus the students, when I had done the book earlier, "Oh, this is nice." You know?


It's like I finally—


Because of that exploration they had into this supporting lesson [in] graphic novel and picturebook, they were able to go, "Oh, I had no idea it was like this." You know?


"I had no idea this is how people communicated. I had no idea the loneliness. I had--"


And I mean, just so for them to point-blank say that was encouraging on my part. You know?


[Be]cause I did try very hard to sort of step back. I didn't want them to feel like they had to have a certain type of reading or it had to say certain things in the discussion because the teacher was part of that same group that was represented in the book. So, I remember not even really telling them anything about my connection with the book. So, I just really tried to keep that a little more separate until the actual discussion.


But um, yeah. So, and then with subsequent research studies that I've done with like smaller--smaller? Sorry, with younger children. [laughter]


Laura

Right.


Sara

--smaller, um, younger children, right? They got that big.

I

was just wanting to make sure I'm sort of removed from it. So, yeah. If that makes sense, to have that space for them to say what they want to say.


Laura

Right. I think one of the issues with El Deafo, and I think you alluded to it a little bit, is that there is a tension within the Deaf community and within people who are deaf and hard of hearing about the fact that--Is this book representing the Deaf community? Right?


Because hearing people, because we are the worst, right? We're going to be like, "Look, here's a book about a deaf girl. This is all we need to be." Right? We're terrible about that. Right? We're, you know, we'll pick up the one book and say, "This is it. This is The Bible. This is the, you know, the Go-To." You know?


And so I think what's happened is, her book--not the way she wrote it, not the way the publishers put it out there, not the way, right? Not the way she has ever intended it to be. But the way we, as educators, have taken it up as a representation of big “D” deaf community.


[21:25]


Sara

Ah, yeah. Obviously, that would definitely be problematic.


Laura

Yeah.


Sara

I mean, but I think in a way, I dunno. I think I could argue that it's sort of a starting point. It's definitely not a representation, but it's definitely a starting point. It's definitely a beginning book, a beginning--but just, there are definitely commonalities there, I would argue in the book, amongst the many different types of deafness that you see and the different communities, that at least [it] can be a beginning step into, "Okay."


And then, encouraging our students, our readers to--Okay, so this book could maybe open that door to that conversation. Now, ask further questions about that particular person or that particular community that differ from how it's represented in this book, so they can understand there are many different ways to be deaf.


Laura

Right.


Ashley

Right. It's not a single story.


Laura

Exactly. Right.


Ashley

This is a single story within many, many, many more.


Sara

Perfect, yeah.


Laura

Right, but the problem is, Sara, and you ran across it. How many stories are there?


Ashley

Yeah.


Dani

Right, right, right.


Laura

So, I've been doing a study on the representation of ASL--


Sara

Oh, okay.


Laura

--in comics.


Sara

Hmm. Interesting.


Dani

What are you finding, Laura? [laughter]


Laura

Oh, it's a train wreck. [laughter] It's awful.


Sara

Yeah. Just you mentioned. It's tough.


Laura

Oh yeah. So, I—


For full disclosure, I do not speak ASL. I am not an ASL user. I have--we have a very robust Deaf Studies--


Sara

Oh, okay.


Laura

--Department at Boston University. And so, I have colleagues that are deaf. That doesn't make me deaf. It doesn't make me part of the community. I'm not saying like, "I have a deaf friend." Right? I'm not doing that. Okay? But over the years of working with them, I have become more familiar with the deaf community.


[23:24]


Sara

Okay.


Laura

And so, right? So, when I started looking at, you know...


I looked at El Deafo. I'm like, "This is super interesting."


And I shared it with my colleagues. And we had some really great conversations about that tension within the community, right?


And then I was like, "Okay."


So, and I had a student. Her name is Gretchen Struble and she came and she took a graphic novel class with me and her final paper was on the representation of deafness in comics. And I was like, "Well, I don't know if this is deafness, but it's definitely ASL."

And so, we looked at El Deafo. We looked at Daredevil, but it's the one with the young woman* and I can't remember her name all of a sudden. Of course, I can't remember the name.


*Refers to Maya Lopez aka Echo aka Ronin, a Marvel character, who first appeared in Daredevil #9 in 1999.


Dani

We can always add that in later.


Laura

Okay. And then Hawkeye. If you remember Hawkeye, he's deaf as a child, and then, he's injured again as an adult. Hawkeye, he gets a couple of arrows in his ear. That's not good.


Dani

[Be]cause that's a normal thing that happens to people.


Laura

Totally. I don't know if I go by a day without getting some arrows stuck in my ear. [laughter]


And then, No Mercy, which is a fabulous, fabulous book--a graphic novel.


And I looked across these to look at how ASL was represented. And it's interesting the way CeCe Bell decided to represent ASL when in the middle of the book when her mom takes her to the classes, right? She doesn't translate the ASL.


Sara

Hm. That's interesting.


Laura

Right? She doesn't. In El Deafo, she doesn't do that weird thing where you have to like the little box.


I'm drawing a box with my finger and this is a podcast. So that's effective. [laughter] Right? Right?


But you know? She doesn't have the little box for what it really means. Right? She starts with phrases and letters instead of whole sentences. Right? And it's a really interesting way of looking at ASL [from] a beginning learner point of view versus somebody who is proficient in ASL. You know?


And I think with Daredevil and Hawkeye, it's... I don't understand how... you can represent a visual sequential language in a visual sequential media so poorly.[laughter]


[26:04]


Ashley

Really?


Laura

Oh yeah. It's, yeah, it's horrible.


Sara

Huh. I want to look this book up now.


Laura

Oh, yeah. You should look at it.


Yeah. I'm dealing with copyrights right now and it's not going well.


But you know--But I think, again, I think El Deafo is unique in the ways that she chose to represent ASL as a beginning ASL learner who did not want to be there.


Ashley

UmmMmm. [affirmative noise]


Sara

No.


Laura

Right?


Sara

I understood that [be]cause that was me for a while. I mean, I knew--I don't know ASL, but I knew it because, in the school I was in, the teacher did a combination of ASL and oral for all of her students, recognizing that not all of her students were going to possibly adopt oral language. So, I just naturally got it.

But when I got mainstreamed, I completely forgot how to use it. I mean, so the year of being mainstreamed, I just stopped.


So… But then it became--I don't know what it was. Back high school or middle school, I don't know when exactly, but it's when it became—

But I, you know, was trying to distance myself. You know? "I'm not deaf." You know? “I'm hearing [impaired]. I want be like you and I'm gonna operate like you even though I'm not.” And I wasn't. And I was trying so hard, you know? You know? We're talking about a whole…


But by doing so, I tried to like remove myself away from, sort of like that identity. So, I remember being, at first, one of those like, "Okay, I don't know ASL and like don't expect me to know." I would get offended if people would come up and immediately start speaking to me in ASL I'm like, "Well, I don't want to know ASL."


And now, I look back at that Sara, I feel… I just want to sort of give her a hug. [laughter] But, you know? It's just—


Yeah. I don't think I really understood because I also know, like when I was really young, another thing that was happening was like at church or like other like community events sometimes, the organizers, right? [Be]cause people love seeing ASL done for music [be]cause it's-- [inaudible-crosstalk]


[28:14]


Laura

What's that about?


Sara

Right? Guess who they would always ask to do it. Me. Well, they'd always pick me. And it drove my mom up the wall. Until finally, I remember one time she actually went and she said, "I need you to stop asking my daughter to be the token person for this. You can ask someone else to do it. Just because my daughter has a hearing loss does not mean she has to do it." So... which I sort of appreciate my mom doing that.


Laura

Yeah, go mom.


Sara

Right? Like don't let me become this token deaf [signer], you know, child person.

But, yeah, but looking back now, I do wish I'd known it. I wish I'd been more open to, and I wish I had recognized that when people would try to talk to me in, you know, in sign language, it was just their, "Oh, a point of connection."


Laura

Right.


Sara

"Oh, I can--I can speak in your language. I can--" You know? And it wasn't... I think I was looking at it as a negative thing. And which it isn't. So, I appreciate it-- And I had very complicated feelings about that.


And I really appreciated that CeCe addressed that in the book. Just that complicated nature, especially for people like her and me who do have severe enough hearing loss, who most people would probably assume would know and use ASL but don't.


But when confronted with the language, just how, unfortunately, how whether it's hearing people, whether it's society...has somehow made it as if you know ASL, you're less than which is so not true. It's an incredibly complex language.


And yeah, so... And I had bought into that. And then, I also remember understanding that. I realized, "Okay, wait a second. As a deaf woman, how am I conceptualizing Deaf people?"


Laura

Your own identity. Right?


Sara

Right? My own identity. And it was--it was hard.


I remember reading that part in the book and I remember being crying. Like, "Yes, I have seen Deaf people, my people in that manner." And I had also created my own prejudices. Right? So, it was really good. I really appreciated how she really complicated that and I thought [inaudible-crosstalk]


And I know some people might have taken issue with that section, which I can see, but as someone who understands that, I appreciated the complex nature of her exploring someone with deafness trying to understand when you want to use ASL and not using ASL, you know, so, um, yeah.


[30:34]


Ashley

[Be]cause she brings, I think, adolescence into it too and like that social nature. How to be social with other[s], you know? Like trying to navigate that as a young person. Like, such intersections of identities there.


Sara

Oh yeah. That's a great, yeah, definitely the age, the angst.


Laura

It's so hard. 13, 12, 11... That whole age. It's just...


Sara

Yeah, it's hard. [laughter]


Dani

So, Laura, you're saying you don't want to have that experience where you, like, body swap with a teenager?


Laura

No, I'm all good.


Dani

Like in all the 80's movies?


Laura

I'm all [good]. Thank you very much. [laughter] I am 52 and I got aches and pains and I am fine with that. There is no way I want that whole--that tsunami of hormones. Right? I think, you know, and...


Dani

Hard pass.


Laura

Yeah, you know? And again, I think, because... And I'm not putting this on Bell. I'm not putting this on CeCe Bell. I'm saying, because there are not enough representations of deafness, right, in literature, I think she has been unfairly put out there to be the story.


Ashley

Yeah.


Dani

Like the spokesperson.


Laura

The spokesperson.


Sara

Hmm. Yeah.


Laura

Right.


Ashley

It's the token sign at church lady. [laughter]


[32:07]


Laura

Exactly. Exactly. Right? And I think, and I sort of wonder if...


So, you know, for people who are deaf and who are ASL users, right? Literacy--traditional English literacy is often quite difficult, right? It's like any other bilingual experience. Right? And I often wondered if there's not a lot of deaf authors because, you know, there's not a lot of bilingual authors, right? It's hard to think about writing in another language. Right?


[Closing Music]


And if we think about this, they're writing in a language that not only isn't--like has different vocabulary and linguistics, but it literally has a different modality.


Dani

Totally different sign system.


Laura

Yeah.


Dani

That concludes part one of our interview with Dr. Sara Kersten Parrish about the graphic novel El Deafo and representations of deaf and hard of hearing in comics and graphic novels. We will pick up with this discussion in episode three where Sara will continue to share her insights and offer teachers advice for using El Deafo in the classroom.

[Ending Credits]


For more information about Reading in the Gutter and resources related to comics and education, visit our website www.readinginthegutter.com or follow us on Twitter at RITGPodcast. Special thanks to Dr. Sara Kersten Parrish for her contributions to this episode. For information about or to contact our guests and contributors, please visit the episode transcript on our website.


Reading in the Gutter is a podcast that is produced in a personal capacity. The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed are solely those of the individuals involved and do not represent those of their affiliated institutions.

Post-production for this podcast is provided by Dan Perrine. Our intro and outro music is provided by the Alibi Music Library and licensed through PodcastMusic.com.


#eldeafo #cecebell #teachingeldeafo #fifthgraders #collegestudents #deaf #Deaf #deafness #hardofhearing #singlestory #nosinglestory #perceptionsofdisability #teachingcomicsstructure #picturebooks #deafpicturebooks #picturebooksintroduction #deafrepresentation #daredevil #echo #nomercycomics

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