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Preservation, Revitalization and Validity of Home Movies: Deaf Folklife Films as a Case Study

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dc.creator Matthew Malzkuhn
dc.date.accessioned 2022-01-25T19:12:58Z
dc.date.available 2022-01-25T19:12:58Z
dc.date.issued 2019
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1920/12371
dc.description.abstract PRESERVATION, REVITALIZATION AND VALIDITY OF HOME MOVIES: DEAF FOLKLIFE FILMS AS A CASE STUDY Matthew L. Malzkuhn, Ph.D. George Mason University, 2019 Dissertation Director: Dr. Debra Lattanzi Shutika This research inquiry explored the workings of Home Movies of Deaf families as artifacts of representation. These artifacts informed me plenty about the linguistic, cultural, and self-identifying interests of Deaf people during the advent of home movie making (1925) to the end of its silent era (1970’s). The home movies in my data collection produced plenty of previously untapped information which afforded me a direct frozen in history viewing of the context. I had the opportunity to examine different interconnected parts including themes and values that emerged out of different private family collections in order to make in-depth analysis on the dynamic process of folklife films. These movies functioned as forms of media documenting the performance of deaf people and the motives of the filmmakers for capturing different events and self-representation. Furthermore, I was also afforded the added context of my viewership of these artifacts and this will only increase in value when more deaf people begin to realize the historical and cultural significance of self-documentation. The ability to glean empirical evidence from various collections required analyzing qualitative and quantitative information by focusing on the general metadata of the collections and the cultural meanings that manifested themselves through patterns found across six separate collections. This offered me the opportunity to analyze the relationship between filmmaking and performance of deaf people; on how their activities were documented and shared. The historical narrative on deaf was also examined when I cross analyzed different discourses and my data. Additionally, this project reviewed the similarities and contrasts of how Deaf and Hearing people utilize technology especially in the silent era of home moviemaking. Summarily, my analysis of selected films offers researchers in Cultural Studies and Deaf Studies the untapped threefold opportunities: to analyze sign language as text directly from the source, to understand and further dissect the themes that are consistent across collections, and finally, to discuss the aesthetic and literary qualities of such innovation. The findings from my collection helped construct a list of six home movie unique genres; narratives, travelogues, news, celebrations, activities, and creative. With these genres in place to properly label specific footages, I was able to further uncover key themes that focused on specific community and cultural values for producing these home movies; material ownership, celebrations, presence in places, different sites of performance, career, and performance/literature. It is my belief this will be a useful metadata tool for future and sustained engagement with home movies of any kinds across different eras. Finally, this project was able to spotlight and evaluate the lack of conversation about deafness as disability as integral role in the daily experiences of deaf people. This is a significant undertaking because these films can offer counter perspectives to the historical and scholarship constructs of deaf people and their culture.
dc.title Preservation, Revitalization and Validity of Home Movies: Deaf Folklife Films as a Case Study
thesis.degree.level Ph.D.
thesis.degree.discipline Cultural Studies
thesis.degree.grantor George Mason University


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