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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.
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.”
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.
Sarah D. Phillips examines the struggles of disabled persons in Ukraine and the other former Soviet states to secure their rights during the tumultuous political, economic, and social reforms of the last two decades. Through participant observation and interviews with disabled Ukrainians across the social spectrum -- rights activists, politicians, students, workers, entrepreneurs, athletes, and others -- Phillips documents the creative strategies used by people on the margins of postsocialist societies to assert claims to "mobile citizenship." She draws on this rich ethnographic material to argue that public storytelling is a powerful means to expand notions of relatedness, kinship, and social responsibility, and which help shape a more tolerant and inclusive society.
Liminal Spaces of Embodied Knowledge
The editors survey the theoretical frameworks of feminism and disability studies, locating the points of overlap crucial to a study of disability and mothering. Organized in five sections, the book engages questions about reproductive technologies; diagnoses and cultural scripts; the ability to rewrite narratives of mothering and disability; political activism; and the tensions formed by the overlapping identities of race, class, nation, and disability. The essays speak to a broad audience—from undergraduate and graduate students in women’s studies and disability studies, to therapeutic and health care professionals, to anyone grappling with issues such as genetic testing and counseling, raising a child with disability, or being disabled and contemplating starting a family.
Blurring the Lines of Identity
Passing—an act usually associated with disguising race—also relates to disability. Whether a person classified as mentally ill struggles to suppress aberrant behavior to appear "normal" or a person falsely claims a disability to gain some advantage, passing is a pervasive and much discussed phenomenon. Nevertheless, Disability and Passing is the first anthology to examine this issue.
The editors and contributors to this volume explore the intersections of disability, race, gender, and sexuality as these various aspects of identity influence each other and make identity fluid. They argue that the line between disability and normality is blurred, discussing disability as an individual identity and as a social category. And they discuss the role of stigma in decisions about whether or not to pass.
Focusing on the United States from the nineteenth century to the present, the essays in Disability and Passing speak to the complexity of individual decisions about passing and open the conversation for broader discussion.
Contributors include: Dea Boster, Allison Carey, Peta Cox, Kristen Harmon, David Linton, Michael Rembis, and the editors.
Prescriptions for Change
In the past decade, the mass media discovered disability. Spurred by the box-office appeal of superstars such as the late Christopher Reeve, Michael J. Fox, Stephen Hawking, and others, and given momentum by the success of Oscar-winning movies, popular television shows, best-selling books, and profitable websites, major media corporations have reversed their earlier course of hiding disability, bringing it instead to center stage.
Yet depictions of disability have remained largely unchanged since the 1920s. Focusing almost exclusively on the medical aspect of injury or illness, the disability profile in fact and fiction leads inevitably to an inspiring moment of "overcoming." According to Riley, this cliche plays well with a general audience, but such narratives, driven by prejudice and pity, highlight the importance of "fixing" the disability and rendering the "sufferer" as normal as possible. These stories are deeply offensive to persons with disabilities. Equally important, misguided coverage has adverse effects on crucial aspects of public policy, such as employment, social services, and health care.
Powerful and influential, the media is complicit in this distortion of disability issues that has proven to be a factor in the economic and social repression of one in five Americans. Newspapers and magazines continue to consign disability stories to the "back of the book" health or human-interest sections, using offensive language that has long been proscribed by activists. Filmmakers compound the problem by featuring angry misfits or poignant heroes of melodramas that pair love and redemption. Publishers churn out self-help titles and memoirs that milk the disability theme for pathos. As Riley points out, all branches of the media are guilty of the same crude distillation of the story to serve their own, usually fiscal, ends.
Riley's lively inside investigation illuminates the extent of the problem while pinpointing how writers, editors, directors, producers, filmmakers, advertisers and the executives who give their marching orders go wrong, or occasionally get it right. Through a close analysis of the technical means of representation, in conjunction with the commentary of leading voices in the disability community, Riley guides future coverage to a more fair and accurate way of putting the disability story on screen or paper. He argues that with the "discovery" by Madison Avenue that the disabled community is a major consumer niche, the economic rationale for more sophisticated coverage is at hand. It is time, says Riley, to cut through the accumulated stereotypes and find an adequate vocabulary that will finally represent the disability community in all its vibrant and fascinating diversity.
The field of disability history continues to evolve rapidly. In this collection, Susan Burch and Michael Rembis present nineteen essays that integrate critical analysis of gender, race, historical context, and other factors to enrich and challenge the traditional modes of interpretation still dominating the field. As the first collection of its kind in over a decade, Disability Histories not only brings readers up to date on scholarship within the field but fosters the process of moving it beyond the U.S. “Western European axis by offering work on Africa, South America, and Asia. The result is a broad range of readings that open new vistas for investigation and study while encouraging scholars at all levels to redraw the boundaries that delineate who and what is considered of historical value. Informed and accessible, Disability Histories is essential for classrooms engaged in all facets of disability studies within and across disciplines. Contributors are Frances Bernstein, Daniel Blackie, Pamela Block, Elsbeth Bosl, Dea Boster, Susan K. Cahn, Alison Carey, Fatima Cavalcante, Jagdish Chander, Audra Jennings, John Kinder, Catherine Kudlick, Paul R. D. Lawrie, Herbert Muyinda, Kim E. Nielsen, Katherine Ott, Stephen Pemberton, Anne Quartararo, and Penny Richards.