American Sign Language and Deaf Studies

American Sign Language is the signed language widely used by the members of the Deaf community in the United States and the anglophone parts of Canada. Along with English, it’s also understood by a growing number of Deaf people around the world thanks to social media. ASL, like any spoken language, is a human language used in society, carrying as much information as any spoken language. It has a vocabulary and a grammar allowing the signers to convey any messages through the motions of the whole body in a tridimensional space, and accompanied by head and hand movements, and facial expressions.

The purpose of the Deaf studies courses is to allow the students to get a taste of the life experience of the Deaf people and their place in today’s society. As a side effect, the language courses are an excellent way for the students to get deeper insights into their own languages and cultures.

The ASLD program is hosted at the Fries Center for Global Studies which is located at the Fisk building. The program serves as an anchor for all things related to ASL and Deaf Studies at Wesleyan.

Classes are generally held at the Fisk building. We also may collaborate with other departments at the university on interdisciplinary courses and extracurricular activities in accordance with the critical thinking and practical idealism promoted by Wesleyan University.