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Genie Gertz Gallaudet University, USA

Dr. Genie Gertz is currently the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C. An internationally recognized scholar and active political figure in the advancement of sign languages and Deaf people, Dr. Gertz has been responsible for numerous cultural and educational programs aimed to enlighten both deaf and hearing individuals alike to bridge gaps of inequality. Dr. Gertz has served on the governing boards of Deaf Women United and the National Association for the Deaf, as well as been involved in the Deaf community in a variety of ways. Through her teaching, critical discourse and activism, she has been influential in shaping the minds of many individuals with the overarching goal of cultural competence.

After having graduated from Gallaudet University, Dr. Gertz went on to pursue her M.A. degree in Human Resources Management/Organizational Development in Higher Education from New York University, and a Ph.D. from University of California, Los Angeles in Cultural Studies with a concentration in Racial/Ethnic Studies. Her involvement in the field of Deaf Studies has spanned over 20 years. Prior to assuming her current position at Gallaudet, Dr. Gertz served as the Dean of the Deaf Studies Division at Ohlone College in Fremont, California in which she oversaw a wide spectrum of programs. She began her career in Deaf Studies at California State University, Northridge (CSUN) where she played an invaluable role in fostering the growth of the Deaf Studies program, which is now one of the largest Deaf Studies programs in the nation. It was during her tenure at CSUN that Dr. Gertz became involved with the vision for The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia that comes to fruition with the publication of this volume.

Dr. Gertz’s scholarly interests range from exploring the social, cultural, linguistic, and educational features that weaken Deaf individuals’ development of Deaf consciousness that affect the formation of solid identities, to Deaf Critical Race Theory (Deaf Crits), which connects theory to the lives of Deaf people by looking at Deaf experiences from the social construction framework informed by Critical Race Theory. In her dissertation research, she coined the term dysconscious audism, illustrating how a Deaf individual’s consciousness and therefore identity formation is hampered by varying factors; this concept has become a mainstay within the field of Deaf Studies. With an eye toward multicultural and intersectional analysis, Dr. Gertz was also instrumental in establishing and incorporating Deaf Women’s Studies within the Deaf Studies curriculum during her time at CSUN. The establishment of Deaf Women’s Studies is but one avenue through which she has promoted comprehensive and multidimensional analysis within the field writ large.

Born Deaf to hearing parents, Dr. Gertz emigrated to the United States from St. Petersburg, Russia when she was eight years old. As a fluent user of American Sign Language, Russian Sign Language, Russian and English, her upbringing deeply instilled in her the values of diversity in language and culture, which she continues to cherish.