Deaf utopias? Reviewing the sociocultural literature on the world's "Martha's Vineyard situations"

Annelies Kusters*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
96 Downloads (Pure)


Martha's Vineyard-an island off the East Coast of the United States-is known as a community where "everyone signed" for several hundred years, a utopia in the eyes of many Deaf people. Currently, there exist around the world a number of small similar "shared signing communities," for example, in Mexico, Bali, Israel, and Ghana. A few studies about these have emerged, which give some information about the social and cultural patterns in such communities. Deaf studies researchers have begun the process of "synthesizing" and theorizing this information, and have developed typologies based on "traditional" Western urban Deaf communities. This article critically reviews the existing literature and raises new questions regarding the study and theorizing of such communities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-16
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Speech and Hearing


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