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Placement, Context, and Consequences
Peters connects ASL literature to the literary canon with the archetypal notion of carnival as “the counterculture of the dominated.” Throughout history, carnivals have been opportunities for the “low,” disenfranchised elements of society to displace their “high” counterparts. Citing the Deaf community’s long tradition of “literary nights” and festivals like the Deaf Way, Peters recognizes similar forces at work in the propagation of ASL literature. The agents of this movement, Deaf artists and ASL performers—“Tricksters,” as Peters calls them—jump between the two cultures and languages. Through this process, they create a synthesis of English literary content reinterpreted in sign language, which raises the profile of ASL as a distinct art form in itself.
Multiple Perspectives on the Acquisition of Knowledge
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.
Local Lives, Transnational Connections
In his revolutionary new book, Jan-Kåre Breivik profiles ten Norwegian Deaf people and their life stories within a translocal/transnational framework. Breivik notes that, unlike hearing people, who form their identities from familial roots and local senses of place, deaf individuals often find themselves distanced from their own families and akin to other deaf people in far locations. His study records emerging deaf identities, which he observes are always in the making, and if settled, only temporarily so. To capture the identification processes involved, he relies upon a narrative perspective to trace identity as temporarily produced through autobiographical accounts or capsule life stories. As a result, he has produced striking, in-depth accounts of how core questions of identity are approached from different deaf points of view. The ten stories in Deaf Identities in the Making reveal deaf people who would like a stronger link to the Deaf world. Each story sheds different light on the overriding, empowering master narrative that has become an integral feature of the Deaf community. Like success stories from other minorities, the Deaf life story reinforces the collective empowerment process in a Deaf social milieu. Because of these revelations, Breivik’s findings easily reverberate globally in conjunction to the striking similarities of deaf lives around the world, particularly those connected with the experiences of being translocal signers who have struggled for identity in an overwhelmingly hearing context.
In his first memoir, Madan Vasishta described being a deaf boy in his homeland India, where “deaf” meant someone who is not human. After rising from herding cattle to being a respected photographer in Delhi, his first memoir concluded with his acceptance at Gallaudet College far away in America. Vasishta’s new memoir begins with his arrival in Washington, DC in 1967 with $40.00 in his pocket and very little knowledge of the new worlds he was entering. Vasishta faced myriad challenges from the outset—he knew no American Sign Language and could not speech read, yet he found himself thrust into classes at Gallaudet two weeks into the semester. Cultural differences mystified him, such as how all American car accidents were someone else’s fault even when one’s car hits a stationary object. He was amazed that his fellow students did not deride him for his mistakes, unlike in India where he would have been scorned for his weakness. After five years, he returned home to India for a visit and was stunned to learn that he no longer fit in, that “even if you do not have an American Dream, the American Dream will have you.” Deaf in DC follows Vasishta through half a century living in America. He witnessed the transformation from facing bias as a deaf, foreign man of color who could not get a job despite having a Ph.D., to receiving five offers as a school superintendent in the wake of the Civil Rights movement and Deaf President Now. His new memoir reflects a genuine worldview informed by the sage perceptions of a person who has lived widely in many worlds.
Now, for the first time, a collection featuring 17 widely respected scholars depicts the everyday practices of deaf interpreters in their respective nations. Deaf Interpreters at Work: International Insights presents the history of Deaf translators and interpreters and details the development of testing and accreditation to raise their professional profiles. Other chapters delineate the cognitive processes of Deaf interpreting; Deaf-Deaf interpreter teams; Deaf and hearing team preparation; the use of Tactile American Sign Language by those interpreting for the Deaf Blind community; and conference interpreting and interpreting teams. Along with volume coeditors Christopher Stone, Robert Adam, and Steven D. Collins, contributors include Markus Aro, Karen Bontempo, Juan Carlos Druetta, Senan Dunne, Eileen Forestal, Della Goswell, Juli af Klintberg, Patricia Levitzke-Gray, Jemina Napier, Brenda Nicodemus, Debra Russell, Stephanie Sforza, Marty Taylor, and Linda Warby. The scope of their research spans the world, including many unique facets of interpreting by deaf people in Argentina, Australia, Canada, England, Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and the United States, establishing this work as the standard in this burgeoning discipline.
Development in Curriculum and Instruction
Quartararo begins by describing how Abbé de l’Epée promoted the education of deaf students with sign language, an approach supported by the French revolutionary government, which formally established the Paris Deaf Institute in 1791. In the early part of the nineteenth century, the school’s hearing director, Roch-Ambroise-Auguste Bébian, advocated the use of sign language even while the institute’s physician Dr. Jean-Marc-Gaspard Itard worked to discredit signing.
Deaf Sharks, Hearing Jets, and a Classic American Musical
This telling book reveals the critical role played by a little-known group called the “Ducks,” a tight-knit band of six alumni determined to see a deaf president at Gallaudet. Deaf President Now! details how they urged the student leaders to ultimate success, including an analysis of the reasons for their achievement in light of the failure of many other student movements. This fascinating study also scrutinizes the lasting effects of this remarkable episode in “the civil rights movement of the deaf.” Deaf President Now! tells the full story of the insurrection at Gallaudet University, an exciting study of how deaf people won social change for themselves and all disabled people everywhere through a peaceful revolution.
Three Self Portraits
Three deaf women with widely varying stories share their experiences in this unique collection, revealing not only the vast differences in the circumstances of their lives, but also the striking similarities. In Bainy Cyrus’s All Eyes, she vividly describes her life as a young child who was taught using the oral method at the Clarke School for the Deaf in Northampton, MA. Her account of the methods used (for example, repeating the same word over and over again, as many as 35 times), animates the extraordinary amount of work performed by deaf children to learn to read and speak. Cyrus also relates the importance of her lifelong friendships with two girls she met at Clarke, and how the different paths that they took influenced her as an adult. Eileen Katz’s story, as told to Celeste Cheyney, offers a glimpse into a deaf girl’s life a generation before Cyrus. In Making Sense of It All: The Battle of Britain Through a Jewish Deaf Girl’s Eyes, Katz juxtaposes the gradual learning of the words who, what, where, and why with the confusing events of 1938 to 1941. As she and her fellow students grasped the meanings of these questions, they also realized the threat from the Nazi air attacks upon England. Katz also understood the compound jeopardy that she and her classmates faced by being both deaf and Jewish. In contrast to the predominantly oral orientation of Cyrus and Katz, Frances M. Parsons writes of a year-long journey overseas in 1976 to lecture about Total Communication. Parsons traveled to Iran, India, Ceylon, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Australia, and seven countries in Africa to teach administrators, teachers, and deaf students to communicate using sign, speechreading, writing, and any other means available. Her harrowing and fascinating anecdotes detail visits to ministries of education, schools, hospitals, clinics, palaces, hovels for the poorest of the poor, and all kinds of residential homes and apartments. Taken together, her travels testify to the aptness of her title I Dared! The combined effect of these three Deaf women’s stories, despite the variation in their experiences, reveals the common thread that weaves through the lives of all deaf individuals.