Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)




Hiroshi Kitamura

Committee Member

Andrew Fisher

Committee Member

Simon Middleton


Abstract Corrupting the Mother Tongue: Comparing the Effects of Residential Schools on the Cultures and Languages of Native American and Deaf Students Focusing on the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, this work explores the changes in the goals and approaches to education in residential schools for Native American and deaf students, and how these changes impacted their languages and cultures. This study of residential schools, students, and educational reformers in the United States reveals the pervasive desire to design school systems that would assimilate both Native Americans and deaf students into dominant American culture. Although the residential schools for deaf students developed independently from those for Native Americans, they share similar motivations, practices, and impacts. Despite the paternalistic nature of educating these students, the goal to eradicate Native Americans and deaf students of their cultures and languages and assimilate them into normative, white culture ultimately failed, but nevertheless left a lasting impact upon the identities of Native Americans and members of the Deaf community. Broken Constitutions: Veterans of the American Revolution and the Language of Disability This work focuses on the presence and use of terms such as "disability" in the early nineteenth century as found in Revolutionary War pension records, showing that a shift in the way people perceived disabilities occurred prior to Industrialization. The policies of the Revolutionary War pensions and the cultural representations of veterans indicate that a social concept of disabilities in relation to labor existed before Industrialization. Therefore, rather than supporting the claim that the concept of disability was a symptom of Industrialization, this work argues that the concept had already existed in pre-Industrial American society and further evolved alongside a changing labor system, adhering to the social-construction theory of disabilities.



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