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Deaf Epistemologies

Multiple Perspectives on the Acquisition of Knowledge

Peter V. Paul and Donald F. Moores, Editors

Publication Year: 2012

Epistemology is the study of how “knowledge” is formed. Standard epistemology isolates the “known” from the “knowers,” thereby defining “knowledge” as objectively constant. Multiple epistemoligies suggest that individuals learn in different ways shaped by life factors such as education, family, ethnicity, history, and regional beliefs. In this groundbreaking volume, editors Peter V. Paul and Donald F. Moores call on ten other noted scholars and researchers to join them in examining the many ways that deaf people see and acquire deaf knowledge. This collection considers three major groups of deaf knowledge perspectives: sociological and anthropological, historical/psychological and literary, and educational and philosophical. The first explores the adoption of a naturalized, critical epistemological stance in evaluating research; the epistemology of a positive deaf identity; how personal epistemologies can help form deaf education policies; and valuing deaf indigenous knowledge in research. The next part considers dueling epistemologies in educating deaf learners; reforms in deaf education; the role of deaf children of hearing parents in creating Deaf epistemologies; and the benefit of reading literature with deaf characters for all studentds. The final part explores the application of the Qualitative-Similarity Hypothesis to deaf students’ acquisition of knowledge; a metaparadigm for literacy instruction in bilingual-bicultural education; collaborative knowledge-building to access academia; and and examination of the benefits and disadvantages of being deaf.

Published by: Gallaudet University Press

Title Page, Copyright

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pp. v-vi


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pp. vii-viii

Part I: Introduction

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1.Toward an Understanding of Epistemology and Deafness

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pp. 3-16

The title of this chapter contains two provocative constructs, epistemology and deafness, which have been the implicit or explicit topics in numerous publications on the social and educational welfare of individuals who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing (d/Dhh) (e.g., Paul & Moores, 2010; Moores & Paul, 2010). What is epistemology? What is deafness? How does the construct of epistemology relate to that of deafness? Are answers to these questions relevant for developing explanatory theories, conducting rigorous...

Part II: Sociological and Anthropological Perspectives

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2. Contributing to an Era of Epistemological Equity: A Critique and an Alternative to the Practice of Science

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pp. 19-44

In July 2010, the Organizing Committee of the International Congress on the Education of the Deaf (ICED) rejected the resolutions of the 1880 ICED conference that excluded sign language in deaf education, apologized for the negative consequences of these resolutions for deaf1 people worldwide, and agreed to work toward “a new era of deaf participation and collaboration” (see Jamieson & Moores, 2011). The promising...

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3. Juggling Two Worlds

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pp. 45-62

Deaf epistemologies constitute a branch of philosophy that investigates the origin, nature, methods, and limits of knowledge that deaf1 individuals acquire while living in a society that relies heavily on audition to navigate life. Many deaf individuals struggle to meet the expectations and demands of a hearing society while balancing those of the Deaf society (e.g., Hauser, O’Hearn, McKee, Steider, & Thew, 2010; Leigh, 2009)...

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4. Diversity and Deaf Identity: Implications for Personal Epistemologies in Deaf Education

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pp. 63-80

In this chapter, the term diversity refers to sociocultural differences among people. The terms race/ethnicity and racial/ethnic refer to diversity related to race and ethnicity; the slash does not make the terms race and ethnicity interchangeable but is used for the sake of brevity. The term deaf people refers to people with significant hearing loss and includes those who are American Sign Language (ASL) signers, users of...

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5. Valuing Deaf Indigenous Knowledge in Research Through Partnership:The Cameroonian Deaf Community and the Challenge of “Serious” Scholarship

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pp. 81-104

Science is a practice developed by human beings in a particular context and a particular time. It can describe diverse perspectives and practices, including deaf knowledge and deaf worldviews. As long as science is a master narrative and deaf knowledge continues to be excluded from science, the concept of deaf epistemologies is necessary.
Parallel to developments in science, master narratives have also developed in deaf studies and deaf education. In Chapter 2, I argued for a descriptive project of...

Part III: Historical/Psychological and Literary Perspectives

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6. Dueling Epistemologies: Between Scylla and Charybdis in the Education of Deaf Learners

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pp. 107-124

In Greek mythology, Scylla and Charybdis were hideous sea monsters occupying two sides of a narrow strait. If a ship sailed too close to Scylla, it might hit the rocks and Scylla would devour the sailors. If the ship sailed too close to Charybdis, it might be sucked into a whirlpool and all would perish. Occasionally, an intrepid leader would navigate the treacherous waters. According to legend, Jason successfully accomplished...

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7. Paving the Way for Reform in Deaf Education

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pp. 125-146

The standard epistemology requires the use of scientific methods to gain knowledge and discover the truth but it is often at the expense of children who are different. For instance, in the case of educational practices, it is obvious that the formulation of educational theories and policies should be data driven. But who is designing the studies? What theories are “driving the data?” Enter the notion of deaf epistemologies...

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8. Deaf Worldviews, Views of the Deaf World, and the Role of Deaf Children of Hearing Parents in Creating a Deaf Epistemology

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pp. 147-157

Epistemology is part of the field of philosophy, which examines what is considered to be knowledge: what we know about something or someone (see also Paul & Moores, Chapter 1). Epistemological studies attempt to determine what is “true” knowledge, which can be verified, what is unknown, and what can be verified as a so-called fact but in actuality has no basis in truth whatsoever. Some scholars try to combine these...

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9. Stories as Mirrors: Encounters With Deaf Heroes and Heroines

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pp. 158-176

Despite being deaf1 all my life, I know little about it other than my own experience of it. Like David Wright, “about deafness, I know everything and nothing” (1969, p. 5). I do not really know the extent to which my deafness has affected my life and the lives of others, in particular the lives of my family. When I left the School for the Deaf as an eight-year-old child to attend a regular school, I also left behind my childhood deaf...

Part IV: Educational and Philosophical Perspectives

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10. The Qualitative-Similarity Hypothesis

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pp. 179-198

In this chapter, I present the underpinnings of the qualitative-similarity hypothesis (QSH) and a synthesis of a sample of research investigations on children and adolescents who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing (dDhh) (Paul 2008, 2009, 2010; Paul & Lee, 2010; Paul & Wang, 2012; Trezek, Wang, & Paul, 2010, 2011). dDhh children are those who have slight to profound hearing losses based on the pure-tone average in the better...

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11. Educators Without Borders: A Metaparadigm for Literacy Instruction in Bilingual–Bicultural Education

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pp. 199-217

In 1981, Sweden became the first country in the world to officially recognize a sign language (i.e., Swedish Sign Language) as a bona fide language and proclaim the need for bilingual–bicultural (BiBi) education among d/Deaf individuals.1 Two years later, special schools for students who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing implemented the first contemporary BiBi curriculum, which established languages of instruction as both...

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12. Collaborative Knowledge Building for Accessibility in Academia

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pp. 218-235

Learning opportunities for students with hearing impairments1 in higher education have increased in recent decades. For an individual Deaf student, the challenge of entering academia is the equivalent of Bruce Lee’s challenges in the film Enter the Dragon. Indeed, scientific thinking, multiple viewpoints, and diversity of the student body in higher education are arduous tasks to every student’s epistemological assumptions...

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13. Can It Be a Good Thing to Be Deaf?

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pp. 236-252

In this chapter, I ask whether it can be a good thing to be deaf. Before the philosophical work begins, a note regarding terminology is necessary. It has become commonplace for writers to distinguish between Deaf people, with a capital D, and deaf people, with a lowercase d. Capital-D Deaf people self-ascribe to Deaf culture, think of themselves as part of the Deaf community, and typically communicate using a sign language...

Part V: Conclusion

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14. Retrospectus and Prospectus

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pp. 255-258

This book is the third step of a journey with no discernable final destination. The journey began over dinner at a national convention in 2008 in which we discussed various worldviews, or epistemologies, related to deafness and the diverse perspectives of professionals in our field. Because we had received our doctoral training at the same institution, the University of Illinois, to a large extent we shared an orientation to the...


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pp. 259-268

E-ISBN-13: 9781563685262
E-ISBN-10: 1563685264
Print-ISBN-13: 9781563685255
Print-ISBN-10: 1563685256

Page Count: 320
Illustrations: 1 table
Publication Year: 2012