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Title: Educational experiences of deaf children in Wales : the Cambrian Institution for the deaf and dumb, 1847-1914
Author: Mantin, Michael Roman
Awarding Body: Swansea University
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis is an extensive analysis of the records of the Cambrian Institution for the Deaf and Dumb, Wales' first institution for boarding and educating deaf children, from 1847 to 1914. The Institution opened in Aberystwyth in 1847, moving to Swansea in 1850. The study explores the institutional sources, asking what can they can show the historian about public attitudes to disability and deafness, and what can be learned about the everyday lives of those who attended the Institution. The thesis will examine the major discourses in special education such as the rise of oralism and the increasing role of the state through the 1893 Elementary Education (Blind and Deaf Children) Act, arguing that the Institution's response illustrates the complexity of their application in Wales and Britain. However, equal emphasis will be played on the routines, backgrounds and leisure lives of the pupils themselves. It will be suggested that the melodramatic and tragic imagery projected in public by the Institution differed greatly from daily life. The work is placed firmly in its historical and social context. It challenges historical frameworks which rightly explain the construction of attitudes to disability and deafness, but leave little room for individual variation between pupils and institutions. Likewise, the problematic notion of experience will be explored, questioning the extent to which the voice of the pupils can be found using sources almost exclusively written by the Institution's staff. Finally, the thesis will argue that wider contemporary issues are reflected in the Institution's records, not those exclusive to deaf children. These include the spread of Victorian philanthropy, the changing social role of education, and the impact of family lives and leisure time for children. It is argued that disabled and deaf children in institutions were not passive victims but active agents, participating in all of these discourses.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available