Cover

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Title Page

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p. iii

Copyright

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p. iv

Contents

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p. vii

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Acknowledgments

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pp. ix-xi

If writing a book is a kind of solitary journey, it is also true that along the way an author acquires many debts to those people who cared enough to help with research materials and give their moral support. I was indeed very fortunate to have many people who were interested in...

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Introduction

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pp. 1-8

In 2005, the French government officially recognized French Sign Language as “an entirely separate language” in the context of a larger law that gives equal rights to all disabled people in the nation.2 When I began my historical study of the French deaf community in the 1980s, it...

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C H A P T E R 1

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pp. 9-35

During the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the hearing community formed complex social and cultural images of deaf French people that often tell us more about the concerns of the hearing community rather than what was historically accurate about deaf people. These social...

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C H A P T E R 2

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pp. 36-48

The creation of a deaf community in Paris was apparent before the French Revolution. Abbé de l’Epée’s school in Paris was one point of contact among deaf students who began to interact through the use of natural signs.2 At the same time, according to the deaf tradesman Pierre...

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C H A P T E R 3

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pp. 49-67

During the first decades of the nineteenth century, the education of deaf children in Paris and in the provinces continued to be a great experiment in philanthropy, language acquisition, and moral education. Different educators and public officials held a variety of viewpoints...

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C H A P T E R 4

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pp. 68-98

In 1846, Laurent Clerc, who had once studied at the Paris Deaf Institute and then became one of its remarkable teachers, made a trip to France and England. Clerc was now in his early sixties and had lived in the United States for thirty years. His younger son accompanied him on...

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C H A P T E R 5

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pp. 99-138

In 1834, the deaf teacher Claude-Joseph Richardin proposed his vision for a deaf utopia to both hearing and deaf people. He imagined a town created by the French king, Louis-Philippe, that would be reserved exclusively for deaf people. In this ideal town, no one would speak...

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C H A P T E R 6

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pp. 139-192

During the late 1880s, the French deaf community underwent a dramatic evolution from a predominantly Parisian-focused people committed to preserving the memory of Abbé de l’Epée and providing mutual aid inside the community to a more complex network of deaf associations that captured...

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Epilogue: The Road Ahead

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pp. 193-197

At the turn of the twentieth century, the French deaf community was still attempting to promote group solidarity. In 1903, the many different deaf mutualist associations voluntarily joined together to form the National Union of the Societies of the Deaf (Union nationale des soci

Notes

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pp. 198-251

Selected Bibliography

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pp. 252-274

Index

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pp. 275-285