A student raised a hand in class and asked, “Why is this dorm named after Alexander Graham Bell?” On a deaf campus, this was a loaded question. Bell was an oralist, opposed to sign language. He was a eugenicist, opposed to deaf marriages. Indeed, the more I thought about it, the better this question got. Why did the school name a dorm after him? Unfortunately, I hadn't the foggiest idea. With apologies to that student, I offer this article as a belated answer.
Chasing Aleck: The Story of a Dorm
R.A.R. Edwards is an associate professor of history at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where she teaches deaf history and disability history. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, in 1997. Author of “Sound and Fury, Or Much Ado About Nothing? Cochlear Implants in Historical Perspective” (Journal of American History 92, no. 3 [December 2005], 892–920), she is now at work on a manuscript on nineteenth-century Deaf culture.
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R. A. R. EDWARDS; Chasing Aleck: The Story of a Dorm. The Public Historian 1 January 2007; 29 (3): 87–104. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/tph.2007.29.3.87
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