The Deaf Studies Digital Journal (also known as DSDJ) is the world’s first peer-reviewed journal dedicated to advancing the cultural, creative, and critical output of published work in and about sign languages and Deaf culture. Unlike other academic and cultural publications, the DSDJ is a bilingual and bimodal publication primarily presented in both American Sign Language and English. It offered an innovative digital platform for its time. The digital journal also featured academic work in other sign languages, including British, Italian, and international sign languages. It has created a dedicated space for a new alignment of thought regarding signed languages, culture, art, and critical theory. DSDJ offers a broad range of genres, specifically scholarly articles, commentary, literature, visual arts, film/video, interviews, reviews, and archival history footage and commentary.
The founding co-editors, Dr. Dirksen Bauman and Dr. Benjamin Bahan, established DSDJ. The journey began when they attempted to publish educational materials by using Gallaudet’s content management in the year 2006. However, they soon discovered that they would need a sturdier and sign-centric platform. It was apparent that it was necessary to provide adequate features and an equipped platform befitting a groundbreaking movement for publishing in sign language.
The editors secured a grant from the Sorenson Legacy Foundation through Gallaudet University Development Office and the Office of the Provost to be able to implement and provide a capable platform to the community. At that point, they hired an interactive educational software company to develop a customized DSDJ platform. Their goal was to make synchronizing and publishing multiple streams of ASL video possible, along with supporting images and citation texts. With all these pieces as in play, the contributors composed media-rich and academically rigorous presentations befitting scholarly discourse and the co-founders created DSDJ.
The gradual process for development of the platform and of soliciting contributions for the first ever publication culminated in the inaugural issue launched in 2009. Over the course of four issues, DSDJ published 150 entries with 181 contributors. The issues included works of literature, including The Breakdancer by C.J. Jones and articles like Ben Bahan’s Sensory Orientation and Johanna Mesch’s Swedish Sign Language Corpus. Unfortunately, the grant came to an end and, in the summer of 2014, the fourth and final issue was published with the quincentennial celebration of the Gallaudet University.
Nevertheless, the enthusiastic responses to the past issues were ongoing. DSDJ received countless requests of interested viewers to submit scholarly articles and other types of work for the next issue and several individuals expressed interest in becoming an editor of a possible special issue. A few years later, with the responses acquired from the Deaf communities, it was determined that DSDJ need to be brought back. DSDJ presently has a goal to make the only existing Deaf Studies bilingual academic journal more broadly accessible and to open up further scholarly and creative investigation. Dr. Patrick Boudreault has become the current project director and is also the executive editor of the upcoming issues. With his DSDJ team, he acquired a multiple year grant from National Endowment for the Humanities, under Digital Humanities Advancement Grants (#HAA-258756-8). It is now possible to renew the journal and support for four more new issues. They plan to transfer the current website to a sustainable platform with improved features and technology for a better interface experience. DSDJ will begin to gather new and upcoming scholarly articles and anthology work, including sign language literature, visual arts, film/video, interviews, reviews, and history archival footage and commentary.
To learn how to contribute to this innovative movement, contact us for more information about how you can submit your work.
We look forward to publishing new issues and opening up DSDJ once more for the advancement of Sign Language and Deaf culture.