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Memories of World War II and Afterward
“She’s got no more business there than a pig has with a Bible.” That’s what her father said when Mary Herring announced that she would be moving to Washington, DC, in late 1942. Recently graduated from the North Carolina School for Black Deaf and Blind Students, Mary had been invited to the nation’s capital by a cousin to see a specialist about her hearing loss. Though nothing could be done about her deafness, Mary quickly proved her father wrong by passing the civil service examination with high marks. Far from Home: Memories of World War II and Afterward, the second installment of her autobiography, describes her life from her move to Washington to the present. Mary soon became a valued employee for the Navy, maintaining rosters for the many servicemen in war theaters worldwide. Her remarkable gift for detail depicts Washington in meticulous layers, a sleepy Southern town force-grown into a dynamic geopolitical hub. Life as a young woman amid the capital’s Black middle class could be warm and fun, filled with visits from family and friends, and trips home to Iron Mine for tearful, joyous reunions. But the reality of the times was never far off. On many an idyllic afternoon, she and her friends found somber peace in Arlington Cemetery, next to the grave of the sole Unknown Soldier at that time. During an evening spent at the U.S.O., one hearing woman asked how people like her could dance, and Mary answered, “With our feet.” She became a pen pal to several young servicemen, but did not want to know why some of them suddenly stopped writing.
Special Education in Boston, 1838-1930
In his perceptive study of the education of disabled children during the 19th and early 20th centuries, Robert Osgood focuses upon the Boston school system as both typical and a national leader among urban centers at that time. Osgood points out that a host of significant figures worked in education in the region, including Horace Mann, George Emerson, and John Philbrick, and also Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, Samuel Gridley Howe, Edouard Seguin, Hervey Wilbur, and Walter Fernald, each of the latter group noted for first founding and/or directing institutions for individuals with disabilities. For “Children Who Vary from the Normal Type” describes the growth of Boston and its educational system during this period, then examines closely the emergence of individual programs that catered to students formally identified as having special needs: intermediate schools and ungraded classes; three separate programs for students with children; special classes for mentally retarded children; and other programs established between 1908 and 1913. Osgood describes these programs and their relations with each other, and also the rationales offered for their establishment and support. This detailed examination graphically depicts how patterns of integration and segregation in special education shifted over time in Boston, and provides a foundation for continuing the present-day discussion of the politics and realities of inclusion.
Biographical Sketches of Bébian, Sicard, Massieu, and Clerc
In 1811, deaf student Ferdinand Berthier commenced his education at the National Institute for the Deaf in Paris under its director Abbé Sicard and his teachers Auguste Bébian, Jean Massieu, and Laurent Clerc. Their tutelage eventually led Berthier to join the faculty at the Institute and become a life-long proponent of sign language and Deaf culture. Berthier earned fame for instituting the famous silent banquets in Paris in 1834. He also learned to advance his agenda by writing biographies of important figures who advocated sign over oralism to educate deaf French students. Forging Deaf Education in Nineteenth-Century France offers the first translation of Berthier’s biographical sketches of the four men above who influenced him most. Berthier wrote first about Bébian in 1839, timed to advocate sign language for teaching deaf students after the departure of the pro-oralism Institute Director Désiré Ordinaire. Berthier extolled Bébian’s linguistic acumen and his educational philosophy. In later sketches, however, he described Sicard and Massieu in positive terms but also criticized them for supporting “methodical” signing, which conformed to spoken language conventions. In contrast, he lauded Clerc in his portrayal for using “natural” signing to teach deaf students. The incisiveness of Freeman G. Henry’s introduction and the clarity of his translations will enthrall readers now able to read Berthier’s biographies in English for the first time.
The meaning of any linguistic expression resides not only in the words, but also in the ways that those words are conveyed. In her new study, Miako N. P. Rankin highlights the crucial interrelatedness of form and meaning at all levels in order to consider specific types of American Sign Language (ASL) expression. In particular, Form, Meaning, and Focus in American Sign Language, Miako N. P. Rankin considers how ASL non-agent focus, similar to the meaning of passive voice in English. Rankin’s analyses of the form-meaning correspondences of ASL expressions of non-agent focus reveals an underlying pattern that can be traced across sentence and verb types. This pattern produces meanings with various levels of focus on the agent. Rankin has determined in her meticulous study that the pattern of form-meaning characteristic of non-agent focus in ASL is used prolifically in day-to-day language. The recognition of the frequency of this pattern holds implications regarding the acquisition of ASL, the development of curricula for teaching ASL, and the analysis of ASL discourse in effective interpretation.
As a young, deaf Jewish woman living in a small town in Michigan in 1942, Sandra Horowitz felt deeply frustrated by her limited prospects. Even though she had just graduated from junior college, she knew that she had two strikes against her in fulfilling her dream to become a veterinarian. Better to marry Jacob Winter, her parents urged her, a deaf Jewish man who made a good living. Then, Sandra met Rudy Townsend, a hearing soldier on leave before he shipped out to the war in Europe. In just four days, both Sandra and Rudy’s worlds were turned upside down. Sandra’s parents feared him for being hearing and a Gentile, while Rudy’s parents expressed openly their bias against her ethnic background and her deafness. Even so, Sandra and Rudy soon realized that they had fallen in love, deeply and passionately. As they shared the brief time they had together, they learned about each other’s dreams for the future — Sandra’s desire to be a vet and Rudy’s determination to serve in Congress. Then, Rudy had to leave for the war. Philip Zazove’s novel Four Days in Michigan captures perfectly the power of irrepressible love between two individuals from opposite backgrounds. The struggles they encounter in an era when such differences were never more sharply drawn also reveal great detail about deaf and hearing life. Despite all, their triumph comes ultimately because of their long-lasting individual respect and love.
The Taiwanese Example
In the growing body of research on sign language linguistics, one area of inquiry considers an important component of all sign languages — handshapes — and whether the use of specific kinds increase in direct relation to the ease of their formation. Author Jean Ann provides significant clarification in her book Frequency of Occurrence and Ease of Articulation of Sign Language Handshapes: The Taiwanese Example. Ann employs a straightforward methodology in her examination of the use of Taiwan Sign Language (TSL) handshapes in five succinct chapters. In the first chapter, she discusses the two approaches linguists have taken toward understanding languages, and how these theories have influenced sign language researchers’ consideration of the ease of articulation and frequency of handshapes. In her second chapter, Ann delineates the physiology of hands and explains why certain digits move with greater dexterity than others. Ann applies this physiological information in the third chapter to construct a model for determining the ease of articulation of any logically possible handshape. She divides the handshapes into three categories, ranging from impossible to easy. In the fourth chapter, she applies her model to examine the patterns of TSL, first by describing the 56 handshapes identified in TSL, then determining how often each is used. She then compares the usage data to the handshapes’ ease of formation. The final chapter summarizes her findings and suggests implications of this work that are bound to generate further speculation and study on sign language handshapes in the future.
In 21 essays on communicative gesturing in the first two years of life, this vital collection demonstrates the importance of gesture in a child’s transition to a linguistic system. Introductions preceding each section emphasize the parallels between the findings in these studies and the general body of scholarship devoted to the process of spoken language acquisition. Renowned scholars contributing to this volume include Ursula Bellugi, Judy Snitzer Reilly, Susan Goldwin-Meadow, Andrew Lock, M. Chiara Levorato, and many others.
A History of Special Education in the 20th Century
Since Margret A. Winzer wrote her landmark work The History of Special Education, much has transpired in this field, which she again has captured in a remarkable display of scholarship. Winzer’s new study From Integration to Inclusion: A History of Special Education in the 20th Century focuses chiefly on the significant events of the twentieth and early twenty-first centuries in the United States and Canada. Its key dynamics consist of a retrospective overview of the paradigms that emerged from and shaped special education; a critical assessment of past progress and reform, including failures and disappointments; and an analysis of the theoretical diversity within the discipline. In this stand-alone volume, Winzer juxtaposes the historical study of disability and of special schooling and service provision with reference to broader social systems, protocols, and practices. She documents how prevailing emotional and intellectual climates influence disability and schooling, and also takes into account the social, political, and ideological factors that affect educational theory and practice. Winzer recognizes that reform has been the Zeitgeist of the history of special education. Crucial problems such as defining exceptional conditions and separating them from one another were formulated in contexts organized along moral, theological, legislative, medical, and social dimensions. Many of these reforms failed for various reasons, which Winzer thoroughly explains in her study. Most of these reforms evolved from the long and honorable pedigree that the field of special education has possessed since its earliest antecedents, now admirably brought up to date by this outstanding work.
Growing Up Deaf in the Old South
The antebellum South’s economic dependence on slavery engendered a rigid social order in which a small number of privileged white men dominated African Americans, poor whites, women, and many people with disabilities. From Pity to Pride examines the experiences of a group of wealthy young men raised in the old South who also would have ruled over this closely regimented world had they not been deaf. Instead, the promise of status was gone, replaced by pity, as described by one deaf scion, “I sometimes fancy some people to treat me as they would a child to whom they were kind.” In this unique and fascinating history, Hannah Joyner depicts in striking detail the circumstances of these so-called victims of a terrible “misfortune.” Joyner makes clear that Deaf people in the North also endured prejudice. She also explains how the cultural rhetoric of paternalism and dependency in the South codified a stringent system of oppression and hierarchy that left little room for self-determination for Deaf southerners. From Pity to Pride reveals how some of these elite Deaf people rejected their family’s and society’s belief that being deaf was a permanent liability. Rather, they viewed themselves as competent and complete. As they came to adulthood, they joined together with other Deaf Americans, both southern and northern, to form communities of understanding, self-worth, and independence.
New Research on Interpretation
This new collection examines several facets of signed language interpreting. Claudia Angelelli’s study confirms that conference, courtroom, and medical interpretation can no longer be seen as a two-party conversation with an “invisible” interpreter, but as a three-party conversation in which the interpreter plays an active role. Laura M. Sanheim defines different turn-taking elements in a medical setting as two overlapping conversations, one between the patient and the interpreter and the other between the interpreter and the medical professional. In her analysis of discourse at a Deaf revival service, Mary Ann Richey demonstrates how Deaf presenters and audiences interact even in formal settings, creating special challenges for interpreters. Jemina Napier shares her findings on the nature and occurrence of omissions by interpreters in Australian Sign Language and English exchanges. Elizabeth Winston and Christine Monikowski describe different strategies used by interpreters to indicate topic shifts when interpreting into American Sign Language and when transliterating. The study concludes with Bruce Sofinski’s analysis of nonmanual elements used by interpreters in sign language transliteration.