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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.”
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.
Living the Life
Most stories about disabled people are written for the sake of being inspirational. These stories tend to focus on some achievement, such as a sports or academics, but rarely do they give a true and complete view of the challenges individuals must deal with on a daily basis. For example: How does a deaf-blind person interact with hearing-sighted people at a family reunion? How does she shop for groceries? What goes through his mind when he enters a classroom full of non-handicapped peers? These aren’t questions you are likely to find answers to while reading that incredible tale of success. They are, however, issues that a deaf-blind person wishes others understood. Deaf–Blind Reality: Living the Life explores what life is really like for persons with a combination of vision and hearing loss, and in a few cases, other disabilities as well. Editor Scott M. Stoffel presents extensive interviews with 12 deaf-blind individuals, including himself, who live around the world, from Missouri to New Zealand, Louisiana to South Africa, and Ohio to England. These contributors each describe their families’ reactions and the support they received; their experiences in school and entering adulthood; and how they coped with degeneration, ineffective treatments, and rehabilitation. Each discusses their personal education related to careers, relationships, and communication, including those with cochlear implants. Deaf–Blind Reality offers genuine understanding of the unspectacular, but altogether daunting challenges of daily life for deaf-blind people.
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.
Edmund Booth was born in 1810 and died in 1905, and during the 94 years of his life, he epitomized virtually everything that characterized an American legend of that century. In his prime, Booth stood 6 feet, 3 inches tall, weighed in at 210 pounds, and wore a long, full beard. He taught school in Hartford, CT, then followed his wife-to-be Mary Ann Walworth west to Anamosa, Iowa, where in 1840, he built the area’s first frame house. He pulled up stakes nine years later to travel the Overland Trail on his way to join the California Gold Rush. After he returned to Iowa in 1854, he became the editor of the Anamosa Eureka, the local newspaper. Edmund Booth fit perfectly the mold of the ingenious pioneer of 19th-century America, except for one unusual difference — he was deaf. Edmund Booth: Deaf Pioneer follows the amazing career of this American original and his equally amazing wife in fascinating detail. Author Harry G. Lang vividly portrays Booth and his wife by drawing from a remarkable array of original material. A prolific writer, Booth corresponded with his fiancé from the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, and he kept a journal during his days on the California trail, parts of which have been reproduced here. He also wrote an autobiographical essay when he was 75, and his many newspaper articles through the years bore first-hand witness to the history of his times, from the Civil War to the advent of the 20th century. Edmund Booth depicts a larger-than-life man in larger-than-life times, but perhaps its greatest contribution derives from its narrative about pioneer days as seen through Deaf eyes. Booth became a respected senior statesman of the American Deaf community, and blended with his stories of the era’s events are anecdotes and issues vital to Deaf people and their families. His story proves again that extraordinary people vary in many ways, but they often possess a common motive in acting to enhance their own communities.
The 19th International Congress on Education of the Deaf (ICED) in 2000, held in Sydney, Australia, brought together 1,067 teachers, administrators and researchers from 46 countries to address an extremely wide selection of topics. Experts from around the world discussed inclusion of deaf students in regular educational environments, literacy, audiology, auditory development and listening programs, hearing aids, programming for children with cochlear implants, signed communication in education, bilingual education, early intervention (including the rapidly emerging area of newborn hearing screening), education in developing countries, deaf students with multiple disabilities, and deaf students in postsecondary school education. The 19 chapters of Educating Deaf Students: Global Perspectives present a select cross-section of the issues addressed at the 19th ICED. Divided into four distinct parts — Contemporary Issues for all Learners, The Early Years, The School Years, and Contemporary Issues in Postsecondary Education — the themes considered here span the entire student age range. Authored by 27 different researchers and practitioners from six different countries, this book can be seen as a valuable description of the zeitgeist in the field of education of the deaf at the turn of the 21st century and the millennium.
"With Sign Language You Can Learn So Much"
The sudden discovery of Nicaraguan Sign Language (NSL) enthralled scholars worldwide who hoped to witness the evolution of a new language. But controversy erupted regarding the validity of NSL as a genuinely spontaneous language created by young children. Laura Polich’s fascinating book recounts her nine-year study of the Deaf community in Nicaragua and her findings about its formation and that of NSL in its wake. Polich crafted The Emergence of the Deaf Community in Nicaragua from her copious research in Nicaragua’s National Archives, field observations of deaf pupils in 20 special education schools, polls of the teachers for deaf children about their education and knowledge of deafness, a survey of 225 deaf individuals about their backgrounds and living conditions, and interviews with the oldest members of the National Nicaraguan Association of the Deaf. Polich found that the use of a “standardized” sign language in Nicaragua did not emerge until there was a community of users meeting on a regular basis, especially beyond childhood. The adoption of NSL did not happen suddenly, but took many years and was fed by multiple influences. She also discovered the process that deaf adolescents used to attain their social agency, which gained them recognition by the larger Nicaraguan hearing society. Her book illustrates tremendous changes during the past 60 years, and the truth in one Deaf Nicaraguan’s declaration, “With sign language you can learn so much.”