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An Ethnographic Study of a Village in Ghana
Shared signing communities consist of a relatively high number of hereditarily deaf people living together with hearing people in relative isolation. In the United States, Martha’s Vineyard gained mythical fame as a paradise for deaf people where everyone signed up until the 19th century. That community disappeared when deaf people left the island, newcomers moved in, married locals, and changed the gene pool. These unique communities still exist, however, one being the Akan village in Ghana called Adamorobe. Annalies Kuster traveled to Adamorobe to conduct an ethnographic study of both the deaf and hearing populations in the village. In her new book, Kusters reveals how deaf people in Adamorobe did not live in a social paradise and how they created their own “Deaf Space” by seeking each other out to form a society of their own. Deaf Space in Adamorobe reveals considerable variation in shared signing communities regarding rates of sign language proficiency and use, deaf people’s marriage rates, deaf people’s participation in village economies and politics, and the role deaf education. Kusters describes spaces produced by both deaf and hearing people as cohesive communities where deaf and hearing people living together is an integral fact of their sociocultural environments. At the same time, Kusters identifies tension points between deaf and hearing perspectives and also between outside perspectives and discourses that originated within the community. Because of these differences and the relatively high number of deaf people in the community, Kusters concludes it is natural that they form deaf relationships within the shared space of the village community.
The Impact of Sports Within the Deaf Community
Deaf Sport describes the full ramifications of athletics for Deaf people, from the meaning of individual participation to the cultural bonding resulting from their organization. Deaf Sport profiles noted deaf sports figures and the differences particular to Deaf sports, such as the use of sign language for score keeping, officiating, and other communication. This important book analyzes the governing and business aspects of Deaf sport, both local deaf groups and the American Athletic Association of the Deaf and the World Games for the Deaf. It shows the positive psychological and educational impact of Deaf sport, and how it serves to socialize further the geographically dispersed members of the Deaf community. David A. Stewart was Professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology, and Special Education at Michigan State University in East Lansing, MI.
Understanding Language and Literacy Development
Sign language interpreters often offer the primary avenue of access for deaf and hard of hearing students in public schools. More than 80% of all deaf children today are mainstreamed, and few of their teachers sign well enough to provide them with full access. As a result, many K-12 interpreters perform multiple roles beyond interpreting. Yet, very little is known about what they actually do and what factors inform their moment-to-moment decisions. This volume presents the range of activities and responsibilities performed by educational interpreters, and illuminates what they consider when making decisions. To learn about the roles of K–12 interpreters, author Melissa B. Smith conducted in-depth analyses at three different schools. She learned that in response to what interpreters feel that their deaf students need, many focus on three key areas: 1) visual access, 2) language and learning, and 3) social and academic participation/inclusion. To best serve their deaf students in these contexts, they perform five critical functions: they assess and respond to the needs and abilities of deaf students; they interpret with or without modification as they deem appropriate; they capitalize on available resources; they rely on interactions with teachers and students to inform their choices; and they take on additional responsibilities as the need arises.
A Literary Collection by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Writers
In July 2002, the second Deaf Way Conference and Festival took place at Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., attracting more than 5,000 people worldwide. Researchers, artists, performers, and others converged to create a singular blend of scholarship and social interaction, which inspired The Deaf Way II Anthology. The Deaf Way II Anthology brings together stellar contributions by 16 international writers who are deaf or hard of hearing. This remarkable collection features poetry, essays, short stories, and one play, all of which offer thought-provoking perspectives on elements from the personal universes of these gifted authors. Many are United States writers well-known for their past publications, such as Douglas Bullard, Willy Conley, Christopher Heuer, and Raymond Luczak, while the outstanding work of John Lee Clark, volume editor Tonya Stremlau, Melissa Whalen, and several others have been collected for the first time in this volume. The international contributions further distinguish this anthology, ranging from poetry by Romanian Carmen Cristiu, verse by Sibylle Gurtner May from Switzerland, to a play by Nigerian Sotonwa Opeoluwa. All of the writers showcased in The Deaf Way II Anthology portray the Deaf experience with unmatched authenticity, presenting a perfect introduction to the Deaf world. Simultaneously, their work demonstrates that deaf and hard of hearing people can write at the highest aesthetic level and offer invaluable insights on the complete human spectrum.
Perspectives from the Second International Conference on Deaf Culture
This extraordinary volume features the very best of the scholarship presented at the Deaf Way II, the second international Deaf gathering in 2002 in Washington, DC. More than 100 contributors from countries as far afield as Brazil, Cyprus, Denmark, Great Britain, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and Thailand share their research on a broad spectrum of disciplines joined together by the common Deaf experience. The Deaf Way II Reader addresses every facet of the human condition from a Deaf World perspective in 65 unique studies, including all plenary addresses. Editor Harvey Goodstein has organized these articles in 12 parts: Advocacy and Community Development; Economics; Education; Family; Health and Mental Health; History; Language and Culture; Literature; Recreation, Leisure, and Sports; Sign Language and Interpreting; Technology; and Youth. Each treatise examines one aspect of the deaf experience within a particular community or country. Together, they reveal how deaf people throughout the world live, study, work, and play, as well as how they relate to their families and the dominant hearing societies in which most of them reside. The Deaf Way II Reader provides a fascinating compendium of current knowledge that can, in the words of Deaf Way II host I. King Jordan, “help make the world a better place for deaf people.”
Perspectives from the International Conference on Deaf Culture
The Deaf Way documents the vast scholarly and artistic endeavors that took place in July 1989 when more than 6,000 deaf people from around the world met at Gallaudet University to celebrate Deaf culture. More than 150 articles by world-renowned experts examine every aspect of Deaf life in societies across the globe. This outstanding volume is divided into ten distinct sections: Deaf Culture Around the World, Deaf History, The Study of Sign Language in Society, Diversity in the Deaf Community, Deaf Clubs and Sports, The Deaf Child in the Family, Education, Deaf/Hearing Interaction, Deaf People and the Arts, and Deaf People and Human Rights Issues.
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.
Power, Politics, and Deaf Education
Traditionally, deaf education has been treated as the domain of special educators who strive to overcome the difficulties associated with hearing loss. Recently, the sociocultural view of deafness has prompted research and academic study of Deaf culture, sign language linguistics, and bilingual education. Linda Komesaroff exposes the power of the entrenched dominant groups and their influence on the politics of educational policy and practice in Disabling Pedagogy: Power, Politics, and Deaf Education. Komesaroff suggests a reconstruction of deaf education based on educational and social theory. First, she establishes a deep and situated account of deaf education in Australia through interviews with teachers, Deaf leaders, parents, and other stakeholders. Komesaroff then documents a shift to bilingual education by one school community as part of her ethnographic study of language practices in deaf education. She also reports on the experiences of deaf students in teacher education. Her study provides an analytical account of legal cases and discrimination suits brought by deaf parents for lack of access to native sign language in the classroom. Komesaroff confronts the issue of cochlear implantation, locating it within the broader context of gene technology and bioethics, and advocates linguistic rights and self-determination for deaf people on the international level. Disabling Pedagogy concludes with a realistic assessment of the political challenge and the potential of the “Deaf Resurgence” movement to enfranchise deaf people in the politics of their own education.
Contentious Politics, 1970-1999
Part and parcel to the civil rights movements of the past 30 years has been a sustained, coordinated effort among disabled Americans to secure equal rights and equal access to that of non-disabled people. Beyond merely providing a history of this movement, Sharon Barnartt and Richard Scotch’s Disability Protests: Contentious Politics, 1970–1999 offers an incisive, sociological analysis of 30 years of protests, organization, and legislative victories within the deaf and disabled populations. The authors begin with a thoughtful consideration of what constitutes “contentious” politics and what distinguishes a sustained social movement from isolated acts of protest. The numbers of disability rights protests are meticulously catalogued over the course of 30 years, revealing significant increases in both cross-disability actions as well as disability-specific actions. Political rancor within disability communities is addressed as well. Chapter four, “A Profile of Contentious Actions” confronts the thorny question of who is “deaf enough” or “disabled enough” to adequately represent their constituencies. Barnartt and Scotch conclude by giving special attention to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, the 1988 Deaf President Now protest, and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, focusing on how these landmark events affected their proponents. Disability Protests offers an entirely original sociological perspective on the emerging movement for deaf and disability rights.
In this volume, editor Cynthia B. Roy presents a stellar cast of cognitive linguists, sociolinguists, and discourse analysts to discover and demonstrate how sign language users make sense of what is going on within their social and cultural contexts in face-to-face interactions. In the first chapter, Paul Dudis presents an innovative perspective on depiction in discourse. Mary Thumann follows with her observations on constructed dialogue and constructed action. Jack Hoza delineates the discourse and politeness functions of HEY and WELL in ASL as examples of discourse markers in the third chapter. Laurie Swabey investigates reference in ASL discourse in the fourth chapter. In Chapter 5, Christopher Stone offers insights on register related to genre in British Sign Language discourse, and Daniel Roush addresses in Chapter 6 the “conduit” metaphor in English and ASL. Jeffrey Davis completes this collection by mapping out the nature of discourse in Plains Indian Sign Language, a previously unstudied language. The major thread that ties together the work of these varying linguists is their common focus on the forms and functions of sign languages used by people in actual situations. They each provide new keys to answering how thoughts expressed in one setting with one term or one utterance may mean something totally different when expressed in a different setting with different participants and different purposes.