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Deaf History and Culture in Spain

A Reader of Primary Documents

Benjamin Fraser, Editor and Translator

Publication Year: 2009

In this landmark reader, Benjamin Fraser offers in five parts 44 Spanish documents dating from 1417 to the present, translated for the first time to trace the turbulent history of Deaf culture in Spain. Part I: The Birth of Oralism and Deafness as Metaphor illustrates the predominant impression of deafness as isolation, exemplified by Teresa de Cartagena writings in 1455-60 about deafness as an island. Part II: The Return to Deaf Education highlights writers who wished to restore “the Spanish ‘Art’” of educating deaf students. Lorenzo Hervás y Panduro wrote The Spanish School of Deafmutes, or Method of Teaching Them to Write and Speak the Spanish Language in 1795. Yet, Madrid’s Royal School for Deaf-Mutes, which opened in 1805, taught deaf students using methodical signs adopted from France’s Abbé de l’Epée. Readings in Part III :The Contemporary Deaf Experience reveal considerations from the 1970s to the ‘90s of Deaf culture and linguistics similar to those in the United States, typified by the works of Inés Polo and Félix-Jesús Pinedo Peydró. The fourth part, The Recognition of Deaf Language and Culture, marks the expansion of academic research in Spain. María Angeles Rodríguez González spearheaded Spanish Sign Language (LSE) linguistics in 1992 with her publication Sign Language. The final part, A Selection of Deaf Poetry, concludes these documents with verse in Spanish spoken dialects rather than LSE, indicating that the evolution of the Deaf experience in Spain continues on its own path today.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

Title Page

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pp. vii-ix


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pp. xi-xiii

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pp. xv-xxiii

The scope of the discipline of sign language/deaf studies needs greater international perspective, and this collection, edited by Benjamin Fraser, is a critical step toward realizing this goal. Oralism and manualism are polarizing models and need to be replaced with an alternative model in which signed languages used throughout the world are embraced and promoted. Before going further, we must understand how ...

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pp. xxv-xxvi

All of the translations in this volume are my own, with a few exceptions. Sonja Musser Golladay translated two of the selections by Lope de Vega Carpio specifically for this collection. Some of the selections have already appeared in published form in English (Teresa de Cartagena's Grove of the Infirm, Juan Pablo Bonet's Simplification of the Letters of the Alphabet and Method of Teaching Deaf-mutes to Speak, and ...

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pp. xxvii-29

My travel to Madrid was greatly helped by a Tinker Travel Grant for Predissertation Research in 2002 while at the University of Arizona, as well as both a Faculty Development Grant and a Dean's Grant from Christopher Newport University in 2008. In addition to Madrid's Biblioteca Nacional and the archives at the Confederación Nacional de Sordos de España, I also consulted works in the special ...

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pp. xxix-xlv

When I traveled to Madrid, Spain, in 2002 to research Deaf culture—as a Spanish-speaking, hearing researcher and native English speaker interested in the topic—I was immediately informed by a contact that there was, in fact, no "Deaf culture" to be found. This book is the outcome of my struggle to make sense of this statement. The readings it contains are documents of a complex struggle. Understanding the ...

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PART I: The Birth of Oralism and Deafness as Metaphor

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pp. 3-98

Likewise, do not be upset if perchance you are deaf, for thus you are spared the occasion of hearing vain words and evils harmful to you. And thus as the blind man lacks occasion to see evil things and the deaf man to hear them, thus the body is infirm, and the soul is healthy and robust. Likewise, by being deaf, you will hear better through the ears of your soul the words God speaks within you, thus said ...

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PART II: The Return to Deaf Education

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pp. 99-158

The instruction of the mute, whom in this work I will call deaf-mutes, is that which I present and propose to the humanity of civil society and to the charity of the Christian people so that they may flock to the aid of these unfortunate beings, who are certainly deserving of public compassion. This is the goal of the present work, in whose most immediate and felicitous execution I intend to incite the zeal ...

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PART III: The Contemporary Deaf Experience

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pp. 159-220

The reader should not think that I have been searching far and wide to get the necessary information before sitting down to write these pages. In reality, I have never read a book that applied psychology or pedagogy to the world of deaf people, either children or adults. I have avoided reading them, so that they would not taint my manner of viewing and focusing on the problems ...

PART IV: The Recognition of Deaf Language and Culture

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pp. 221-280

PART V: Selection of Deaf Poetry

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pp. 281-294


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pp. 295-299

E-ISBN-13: 9781563684401
E-ISBN-10: 1563684403
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563684197
Print-ISBN-10: 1563684195

Page Count: 346
Illustrations: 10 photographs
Publication Year: 2009