Deaf Heritage: A Narrative History of Deaf America
The Seventh Volume in the Gallaudet Classics in Deaf Studies Series
Now, Jack R. Gannon’s original groundbreaking volume on Deaf history and culture is available once again. In Deaf Heritage: A Narrative History of Deaf America, Gannon brought together for the first time the story of the Deaf experience in America from a Deaf perspective. Recognizing the need to document the multifaceted history of this unique minority with its distinctive visual culture, he painstakingly gathered as much material as he could on Deaf American life. The result is a 17-chapter montage of artifacts and information that forms an utterly fascinating record from the early nineteenth century to the time of its original publication in 1981.
Deaf Heritage tracks the development of the Deaf community both chronologically and by significant subjects. The initial chapter treats the critical topics of early attempts at deaf education, the impact of Deaf and Black deaf teachers, the establishment of schools for the deaf, and the founding of Gallaudet College. Individual chapters cover the 1880s through the 1970s, mixing milestones such as the birth of the National Association of the Deaf and the work of important figures, Deaf and hearing, with anecdotes about day-to-day deaf life. Other chapters single out important facets of Deaf culture: American Sign Language, Deaf Sports, Deaf artists, Deaf humor, and Deaf publications. The overall effect of this remarkable record, replete with archival photographs, tables, and lists of Deaf people’s accomplishments, reveals the growth of a vibrant legacy singular in American history.
Jack R. Gannon is former Special Assistant for Advocacy to the president of Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.
ISBN 978-1-56368-514-9, 1-56368-514-0, 8½ x 11 paperback, 520 pages, photographs, tables, index
ISBN 978-1-56368-515-6, 1-56368-515-9
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Metaphor in American Sign Language
Only recently have linguists ceased to regard metaphors as mere frills on the periphery of language and begun to recognize them as cornerstones of discourse. Phyllis Wilcox takes this innovation one step further in her fascinating study of metaphors in American Sign Language (ASL).
Such an inquiry has long been obscured by, as Wilcox calls it, “the shroud of iconicity.” ASL’s iconic nature once discouraged people from recognizing it as a language; more recently it has served to confuse linguists examining its metaphors. Wilcox, however, presents methods for distinguishing between icon and metaphor, allowing the former to clarify, not cloud, the latter. “If the iconic influence that surrounds metaphor is set aside, the results will be greater understanding, and interpretations that are less opaque.”
Wilcox concludes her study with a close analysis of the ASL poem, “The Dogs,” by Ella Mae Lentz. In presenting Deaf Americans’, Deaf Germans’, and Deaf Italians’ reactions to the poem, Wilcox manages not only to demonstrate the influence of culture upon metaphors, but also to illuminate the sources of sociopolitical division within the American Deaf community. Metaphor in American Sign Language proves an engrossing read for those interested in linguistics and Deaf culture alike.
Phyllis Perrin Wilcox is Assistant Professor of Linguistics and Coordinator of the Signed Language Interpreting Program at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, NM.
ISBN 1-56368-099-8, 6 x 9 casebound, 228 pages, sign illustrations, photographs, tables, references, index
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The Human Right to Language: Communication Access for Deaf Children
In 1982, the United States Supreme Court ruled that Amy Rowley, a deaf six-year-old, was not entitled to have a sign language interpreter in her public school classroom. Lawrence M. Siegel wholeheartedly disagrees with this decision in his new book The Human Right to Language: Communication Access for Deaf Children. Instead, he contends that the United States Constitution should protect every deaf and hard of hearing child’s right to communication and language as part of an individual’s right to liberty. Siegel argues that when a deaf or hard of hearing child sits alone in a crowded classroom and is unable to access the rich and varied communication around her, the child is denied any chance of success in life.
In The Human Right to Language, Siegel proposes that the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the Constitution be enforced so that Amy Rowley and her peers can possess that which virtually every other American child takes for granted – the right to receive and express thought in school. He asserts that the common notion of a right to “speech” is too infrequently interpreted in the narrowest sense as the right to “speak” rather than the broader right to receive and transmit information in all ways. Siegel reveals that there are no judicial decisions or laws that recognize this missing right, and offers here a legal and constitutional strategy for change. His well-reasoned hypothesis and many examples of deaf children with inadequate communication access in school combine to make a compelling case for changing the status quo.
Lawrence M. Siegel is the Founder and Director of the National Deaf Education Project and a special education attorney in San Francisco, CA.
ISBN 1-56368-366-0, 978-1-56368-366-4, 6 x 9 casebound, 192 pages, references, index
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Through Deaf Eyes
History Through Deaf Eyes—a landmark photographic exhibition on nearly 200 years of United States deaf history—drew more than 415,000 visitors during a national tour at the Smithsonian and 12 other U.S. cities from 2001 to 2006. Presented by the Smithsonian Institution and drawing heavily on Gallaudet University’s extensive archives, the exhibit showed the experiences of American history from the perspective of deaf citizens. Its popularity prompted the production of the video documentary, Through Deaf Eyes, for national broadcast on the Public Broadcasting System. Now, the photographs, quotes and stories from this remarkable exhibit and documentary have been assembled in a book of stunning beauty and poignant images.
Containing more than 200 color photographs, Through Deaf Eyes: A Photographic History of an American Community depicts the story of Deaf America and affords readers the opportunity to learn about the nation’s broader history. The values and judgments of society have had an impact on the education, employment, and family life of deaf people, while historical eras often can be illuminated by examination through a Deaf lens. Photographs reveal the character of Deaf people in school settings, the workplace, during wartime, and using their cultural signature, American Sign Language. For both deaf and hearing readers, the Deaf community portrayed in Through Deaf Eyes offers a unique and fascinating perspective on the value of human difference. [Douglas C. Baynton, Jack R. Gannon, Jean Lindquist Bergey; (2007) 168 pages; hard cover]
Douglas C. Baynton is Associate Professor, American Cultural History, History of Disabilities, and the American Sign Language Program, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA.
Jack R. Gannon is former Special Assistant for Advocacy to the president of Gallaudet University and is the curator of the History Through Deaf Eyes exhibition.
Jean Lindquist Bergey is the Outreach Liaison and History Through Deaf Eyes Director, College of Professional Studies and Outreach, Gallaudet University, Washington, DC.