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The story of how American Sign Language (ASL) came to be is almost mythic. In the early 19th century, a hearing American reverend, Thomas Hopkins Gallaudet, met a Deaf French educator, Laurent Clerc, who agreed to come to the United States and help establish the first school in America to use sign language to teach deaf children. The trail of ASL’s development meanders at this point. No documentation of early ASL was published until the late 19th century, almost seven decades after the school’s founding. While there are many missing pieces in the history of America’s sign language, plenty of data exist regarding ASL etymology. This book is the first to collect all known texts featuring illustrations of early ASL and historical images of French Sign Language―langue des signes française (LSF)―and link them with contemporary signs. Through rigorous study of historical texts, field research in communities throughout France and the U.S., and in-depth analysis of the cultural groups responsible for the lexicon, authors Emily Shaw and Yves Delaporte present a compelling and detailed account of the origins of over 500 ASL signs, including regional variations. Organized alphabetically by equivalent English glosses, each sign is accompanied by a succinct description of its origin and an LSF sign where appropriate. Featuring an introductory chapter on the history of the development of ASL and the etymological methodology used by the authors, this reference resource breaks new ground in the study of America’s sign language.
150 Years of a Deaf American Institution
On April 4,1864, President Abraham Lincoln and the United States Congress put into effect legislation authorizing the granting of collegiate degrees by the Columbia Institution for the Instruction of the Deaf and Dumb and the Blind. At this moment, what became Gallaudet University began a century and a half of offering a collegiate liberal arts education to deaf and hard of hearing students. David F. Armstrong’s The History of Gallaudet University: 150 Years of a Deaf American Institution chronicles its development into a modern, comprehensive American university through more than 250 photographs and illustrations. At first a tiny college of fewer than 200 students, Gallaudet’s growth paralleled the emergence of the American Deaf Community and the history of the nation in general. In the same way that the country’s land-grant universities brought higher education to more American students than ever before, Gallaudet offered the same opportunities to deaf students for the first time. Gallaudet mirrored other institutions in addressing major issues of the time, from legislated segregation to the Civil Rights movement that inspired the struggle by deaf people to gain control of the governance of their university. Most critically, this volume details poignantly the evolution of a signed language, American Sign Language, as a language of scholarship at Gallaudet during a time when its use in educational institutions was largely discouraged or prohibited. Through story and image, it traces the historic path that Gallaudet traveled to be recognized as the finest institution of higher education for deaf people throughout the world.
As a significant term, inclusion came into use relatively recently in the long history of special education in the United States. Since the 1800s, when children with disabilities first were segregated for instruction in public schools, professionals and parents have called for more equitable, “normal” treatment of these students, and for closer contact with their nondisabled peers. Through the years, the central issues of the discussions between educators and parents have focused on who should be considered disabled and who should bear responsibility for planning and providing for their education. The History of Inclusion in the United States traces the antecedents of this ongoing debate to answer questions about what inclusion is, how it came to be, and where it might go. In this comprehensive study, author Robert L. Osgood reveals how the idea of inclusion has evolved into broader realms of thought and practice. In its earliest manifestations, educators dwelled upon the classroom setting itself, wondering whether “disabled” children belonged there; if not, why not; and if so, how this could be accomplished? By the late 1960s, the scope of the discussion had shifted to assess the comprehensive structures of special education and its relationship with general education. The History of Inclusion seamlessly follows this progression into the present decade, in which current educational policy questions the need for any sort of separate “special education” in principle and structure.
From Isolation to Integration
This comprehensive volume examines the facts, characters, and events that shaped this field in Western Europe, Canada, and the United States. From the first efforts to teach disabled people in early Christian and Medieval eras to such current mandates as Public Law 94-142, this study breaks new ground in assessing the development of special education as a formal discipline. The History of Special Education presents a four-part narrative that traces its emergence in fascinating detail from 16th-century Spain through the Age of Enlightenment in 17th-century France and England to 18th-century issues in Europe and North America of placement, curriculum, and early intervention. The status of teachers in the 19th century and social trends and the movement toward integration in 20th century programs are considered as well.
Deaf Americans in School and Factory, 1850-1950
The working lives of Deaf Americans from the mid-1850s to the post-World War II era depended upon strategies created by Deaf community leaders to win and keep jobs through periods of low national employment as well as high. Deaf people typically sought to de-emphasize their identity as sign language users to be better integrated into the workforce. But in his absorbing new book Illusions of Equality, Robert Buchanan shows that events during the next century would thwart these efforts. The residential schools for deaf students established in the 19th century favored a bilingual approach to education that stressed the use of American Sign Language while also recognizing the value of learning English. But the success of this system was disrupted by the rise of oralism, with its commitment to teaching deaf children speech and its ban of sign language. Buchanan depicts the subsequent ramifications in sobering terms: most deaf students left school with limited educations and abilities that qualified them for only marginal jobs. He also describes the insistence of the male hierarchy in the Deaf community on defending the tactics of individual responsibility through the end of World War II, a policy that continually failed to earn job security for Deaf workers. Illusions of Equality is an original, edifying work that will be appreciated by scholars and students for years to come.
Fiction and Stereotypes on the Spectrum
A disorder that is only just beginning to find a place in disability studies and activism, autism remains in large part a mystery, giving rise to both fear and fascination. Sonya Freeman Loftis’s groundbreaking study examines literary representations of autism or autistic behavior to discover what impact they have had on cultural stereotypes, autistic culture, and the identity politics of autism. Imagining Autism looks at fictional characters (and an author or two) widely understood as autistic, ranging from Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and Harper Lee’s Boo Radley to Mark Haddon’s boy detective Christopher Boone and Steig Larsson’s Lisbeth Salander. The silent figure trapped inside himself, the savant made famous by his other-worldly intellect, the brilliant detective linked to the criminal mastermind by their common neurology—these characters become protean symbols, stand-ins for the chaotic forces of inspiration, contagion, and disorder. They are also part of the imagined lives of the autistic, argues Loftis, sometimes for good, sometimes threatening to undermine self-identity and the activism of the autistic community.
Growing Up Hearing in a Deaf World
At last, Ruth Sidranksy’s groundbreaking book In Silence: Growing Up Hearing in a Deaf World is back in print. Her account of growing up as the hearing daughter of deaf Jewish parents in the Bronx and Brooklyn during the 1930s and1940s reveals the challenges deaf people faced during the Depression and afterward. Inside her family’s apartment, Sidransky knew a warm, secure place. She recalls her earliest memories of seeing words fall from her parents’ hands. She remembers her father entertaining the family endlessly with his stories, and her mother’s story of tying a red ribbon to herself and her infant daughter to know when she needed anything in the night. Outside the apartment, the cacophonous hearing world greeted Sidransky’s family with stark stares of curiosity as though they were “freaks.” Always upbeat, her proud father still found it hard to earn a living. When Sidransky started school, she was placed in a class for special needs children until the principal realized that she could hear and speak. Sidransky portrays her family with deep affection and honesty, and her frank account provides a living narrative of the Deaf experience in pre- and post-World War II America. In Silence has become an invaluable chronicle of a special time and place that will affect all who read it for years to come.
Interviews and Analysis
While many researchers focus on the educational development of deaf children, precious little time has been devoted to studying the child’s social development and “self-concept.” Conducting interviews with seven deaf children between the ages of 7 and 10, author Martha Sheridan offers a fresh look at the private thoughts and feelings of deaf children in Inner Lives of Deaf Children: Interviews and Analysis. “What does it mean to be a child who is deaf or hard of hearing?” Sheridan asks in the beginning of her study. She turns to Danny, Angie, Joe, Alex, Lisa, Mary, and Pat for the answer. The author selected the children based on their unique cultural background and conversed with each child in his or her preferred method of communication. Her procedure remained consistent with each: in addition to standard questions, Sheridan asked each child to draw a picture based on their life and then tell a story about it; next, she showed them pictures clipped from a magazine and asked them to describe what they saw. The results proved to be as varied as they are engaging. Angie, an adopted, profoundly deaf, ten-year-old girl who communicates in Signed English, expressed a desire to attend a hearing college when she grows up, while also stating she hopes her own children will be deaf. Joe, an African-American, ten-year-old, hard-of-hearing boy, drew pictures of deaf people who are teased in public school, reflecting his own difficult experiences. Sheridan draws upon her tenure as a social worker as well as her own experience as a deaf child growing up in a hearing family in analyzing her study's results. “From listening to the voices of these children we learn that they do not always see themselves, their lifeworlds, and their experiences as researchers have traditionally described them,” she writes. “These children have strengths, they have positive experiences, and they enjoy positive relationships.” With evident devotion to her subjects, Sheridan renders Inner Lives of Deaf Children an enlightening read for parents and scholars alike.
The work of interpreters in legal settings, whether they are spoken or signed language interpreters, is filled with enormous complexity and challenges. This engrossing volume presents six, data-based studies from both signed and spoken language interpreter researchers on a diverse range of topics, theoretical underpinnings, and research methodologies. In the first chapter, Ruth Morris analyzes the 1987 trial of Ivan (John) Demjanjuk in Jerusalem, and reveals that what might appear to be ethical breaches often were no more than courtroom dynamics, such as noise and overlapping conversation. Waltraud Kolb and Franz Pöchhacker studied 14 asylum appeals in Austria and found that interpreters frequently aligned themselves with the adjudicators. Bente Jacobsen presents a case study of a Danish-English interpreter whose discourse practices expose her attempts to maintain, mitigate, or enhance face among the participants. In the fourth chapter, Jemina Napier and David Spencer investigate the effectiveness of interpreting in an Australian courtroom to determine if deaf citizens should participate as jurors. Debra Russell analyzed the effectiveness of preparing sign language interpreter teams for trials in Canada and found mixed results. The final chapter presents Zubaidah Ibrahim-Bell’s research on the inadequate legal services in Malaysia due to the fact that only seven sign interpreters are available. Taken together, these studies point to a “coming of age” of the field of legal interpreting as a research discipline, making Interpreting in Legal Settings an invaluable, one-of-a-kind acquisition.
New Perspectives on Language and Deaf Education
Of the more than 400 studies presented at the 18th International Congress on Education of the Deaf, the 20 most incisive papers were selected, rewritten, and edited to construct the trenchant volume Issues Unresolved: New Perspectives on Language and Deaf Education. The resulting book provocatively challenges the invested reader in four critical areas of deaf education worldwide. Part 1, Communication: Signed and Spoken Languages, addresses matters that range from considering critical periods for language acquisition, researched by Susan D. Fischer, to assessing the impact of immigration policies on the ethnic composition of Australia’s deaf community, intriguing work by Jan Branson and Don Miller. Part 2, Communication: Accessibility to Speech, continues the debate with works on the perception of speech by deaf and hard of hearing children, contributed by Arthur Boothroyd, and automatic speech recognition and its applications, delineated by Harry Levitt. Educational issues are brought to the forefront in Part 3 in such engrossing studies as Lea Lurie and Alex Kozulin’s discourse on the application of an instrumental-enrichment cognitive intervention program with deaf immigrant children from Ethiopia. Stephen Powers offers another perspective in this section with his retrospective evaluation of a distance education training course for teachers of the deaf. Part 4, Psychological and Social Adjustment reviews progress in this area, with Anne de Klerk’s exposition on the Rotterdam Deaf Awareness Program, and Corinne J. Lewkowitz and Lynn S. Liben’s research on the development of deaf and hearing children’s sex-role attitudes and self-endorsements. These and the many other contributions by renowned international scholars in the field make Issues Unresolved a compelling new standard for all involved in deaf education.