The People Who Spell
The Last Students from the Mexican National School for the Deaf
Publication Year: 2011
Published by: Gallaudet University Press
Title Page, Copyright
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I have many people and institutions to thank for making this book possible. The project upon which it is based required many visits to the field while I was living in Lincoln, Nebraska, and San Diego, California, so travel and logistics required a great deal of attention. I am grateful to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) Department of ...
1. Somos Sordos Mexicanos: We Are Deaf Mexicans
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In December 2007, a group of about 80 Deaf and hearing Mexican signers of Lengua de Señas Mexicana (LSM) met in Mexico City. The purpose of this small conference was to disseminate the outcomes of several investigations of LSM to the key informants who had provided the raw data for the research. A second purpose was to hold a discussion ...
2. The Research in Mexico City
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I did not visit the interior of Mexico until 1996, but my sentimental visits to an imagined Mexico began many years earlier, when I was in the third grade. That year my school district, outside Seattle, Washington, sent an English- and Spanish-speaking museum docent to visit my classroom with a trunkful of objects from Mexico. Soon thereafter, Mrs. Morris, our ...
3. Deaf Lives and Research on Deaf Lives in Mexico
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The ENS signers’ narratives could easily stand alone, and any reader interested in Mexico, in Deaf people, or in sign languages, would be able to engage with them. Ultimately, though, the narratives have value beyond their charms as life stories from a barely known group. They are individual autobiographical narratives, as well as expressions of the collective ...
4. The History of Deaf Education in Mexico and the ENS Signers
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As Juárez’s 1861 decree to establish a school for Deaf Mexicans was being published, forces more overwhelming than declarations about Deaf education swept into Mexico. Mexico gained independence from Spain in a long war (1810–1821), but for the rest of the 19th century Mexico was unstable and vulnerable. In July 1861, President Juárez suspended debt repayments to England, Spain, and France. ...
5. Childhood and School Years
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As I watched the videotaped interviews with the ENS signers, I was particularly interested in their stories about the reasons they are Deaf and their sense of the kind of children they were, especially before they encountered signing and other Deaf children. I also noted that they all talked about their parents’ search for schooling for their Deaf child. ...
6. The Differing Lives of Deaf Women and Men
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Although it is reasonable to think that students leave school once they have completed all grades, in Mexico, in the past as well as in contemporary times hearing and Deaf students leave school for a variety of reasons, only one of which is because they have finished all of the grades offered. Some of the ENS signers decided on their own simply to ...
7. Social and Married Lives
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When the ENS signers began to marry and have their own families, their hearing parents’ sometimes irrational fears about having Deaf people in the family revealed themselves. And for most of the ENS signers, becoming parents created completely new relationships with hearing people in the form of their own children. ...
8. The Collective Remembering of the ENS Signers
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Beyond telling the chronologies and the events of their lives, some of the ENS signers also focused their attention on LSM, its sociolinguistic context, and Deaf people who fit in two contrasting categories: ignorantes (roughly, unschooled or without knowledge) or inteligentes (schooled). They told, and retold, the story of the founding of ENS ...
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Page Count: 232
Illustrations: 10 photographs
Publication Year: 2011