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BRIEF NOTICE Sherman Wilcox (Ed.). 1989. American Deaf Culture: An Anthology. Silver Spring, MD: Linstok Press. 5.5 X 8.5 in. viii & 202 pages. Paper. ISBN: (0-932139-09-0) $15.95 (Distributed by T. J. Publishers, Inc. 817 Silver Spring Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910, or 1-800-999-1168) How long since you've been aware of Deaf culture as a phenomenon? I mean, when did you first hear the phrase "Deaf culture"? When did you become aware that Deaf people were "different," that they valued different things than hearing people, that their manners were different, that they did things in their own way: that happened for me fairly early in my association with them, some seventeen years ago. But "Deaf culture"? That's fairly new. Certainly, in my conscious mind, it came some time in the '80s. Maybe I'm slow-nothing new in that. But here comes Sherman Wilcox to remind us that Charrow and Wilbur (1975) and Mow (1970) and Meadow (1972) have been talking about "deaf culture" (the big D came to us in 1980, courtesy of Carol Padden) for years! Here is a collection of "old" (Charrow & Wilbur and Mow) and "new" (Wilcox and Bahan) and "in between" (Woodward) articles about American Deaf people and their culture. some of the views come from the "outside" and some from the "inside." Some are academic in their approach and others are more "real." It is hard to imagine a more valuable set of readings than this one for the beginning to intermediate student studying Deaf culture and language as academic topics.. Padden's chapter, "the Deaf Community and the Culture of Deaf People," is a classic. I remember reading it when it first appeared in print and being bowled over by its powerful @ 1990 by Linstok Press, Inc. See note inside front cover. ISSN 0302-1475 Mcintire insights. That was 1980. Nearly ten years later it remains a clear and strong statement about its topic. It also serves as a remarkable preview for the more recent book by Padden and Humphries (1988) on the same topic. Kannapell's chapter is similarly striking. Her comments on the deep connection between American Sign Language and Deaf people's sense of power deriving from it are affecting, to say the least. The fact that her observations still move us is all the more telling. Mow's biting expos6 of a "grass roots" Deaf person still gets me every time I read it (notice that Jacobs gave Mow national exposure in his own landmark work in 1974). Some of the chapters focus on language and language use in their discussions of culture. Humphries, Martin & Coye, Hall, and Wilcox all discuss how language gets used in one or another aspect of the Deaf experience. Woodward, of course, was one of the first researchers to recognize the severe educational injustice being done to deaf children, and he quickly claimed it as an appropriate topic for respectable academics (not in the field of education) to address. His title alone, "How You Gonna Get to Heaven If You Can't Talk with Jesus," announces the lucid and biting insight of his observations. When Woodward first made these public he was castigated by the educational establishment he attacked; sadly we see the same establishment still in control, still fighting the same observations made by Woodward's successors (see Johnson, Liddell & Erting 1989). Alternating throughout the book with the more academic chapters are a series of short essays by Ben Bahan, taken from Deaf Community News. Bahan's views are definitely those of an "insider" and were originally intended for an "insider" audience. What gems of wit and observation! How fortunate we are to have Bahan inside the community, letting us know what he thinks. The academic in me requires that I register my objection to some imprecise editing: incomplete references to the first appearance of the chapters (Where can we find Wilcox's article on STUCK? When was it first published? [In SLS 43, Summer 1984. Ed.]); references in the text with no entry in the bibliography SLS 67 Rev. :American Deaf Culture ("Supalla, in press" p. 114; also Woodward); and where, oh where can...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1533-6263
Print ISSN
0302-1475
Pages
pp. 185-188
Launched on MUSE
2013-10-02
Open Access
No
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