Visualizing Spain’s enlightenment: The marginal universality of deafness

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Deaf people and the visual practices used in their education became more visible during Spain’s eighteenth century and may have benefited enormously from a more widespread emphasis on visuality common to Enlightenment discourse elsewhere in Europe. This chapter considers Hervas y Panduro’s Spanish School of Deaf Mutes, focusing on the connection between language and sociability. His work on deafness was an attempt not merely to argue for the socialization and inclusion of a marginalized and misunderstood group, but simultaneously to grapple with questions of language, sociability and the essential unity of all human beings, it is at once attentive to the philosophical and practical aspects of deafness. Moreover, his interest in the instruction of the deaf went beyond purely national concerns and was itself implicitly a call for a cosmopolitan (as per Sclereth) European approach to educational history. Hervas appealed to the rhetoric of universal benevolence, sympathy and compassion in attempting to uproot long-standing misunderstandings of deaf people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationSociability and Cosmopolitanism
Subtitle of host publicationSocial Bonds on the Fringes of the Enlightenment
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781317321675
ISBN (Print)9781848932623
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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