Hearing the Wisdom of the Ages...

"Dazzling and Courageous"

I have no doubt that this book will become required reading in the field of Deaf Studies and Disability Studies. The book is excellently written and wide-ranging, and that many rhetoricians and non-disability scholars will find the work first rate and compelling. The range of reference is dazzling and courageous. And, while this work takes its force and centrality from the Deaf, its significance is really for the hearing.
-- Professor Lennard J. Davis, Binghamton University

"An Authoritative
and Necessary Reference"

Lend Me Your Ear is a forceful, forthright, innovative treatment of a number of significant (and controversial) issues in deaf education, audiology, and Deaf culture. The research is powerful and generative; this book will be an authoritative and necessary reference for teachers and researchers in composition studies, Deaf culture, ethnography, poetics, and autobiography.
--Professor Lynn Z. Bloom, University of Connecticut

"A Signifcant Contribution"

Lend Me Your Ear should make a significant contribution on several fronts: to those with an interest in deafness and Deaf culture (including parents, family members, and friends); to those responsible for the education of deaf students. The real contribution of Brueggemann's book is the way it turns specifically to the literacy issues related to deafness.
--Professor David Bartholomae, University of Pittsburgh

From the outset of her investigation into the rhetoric surrounding deafness and deaf people, Brenda Jo Brueggemann cites the educator Quintilian's ideal of the vir bonus dicendi peritus, the good man speaking well. She highlights the equal importance in this model of the person being good and the "problems" that deafness poses for a culture that wonders how a deaf person can be taught to be good if he or she cannot "hear the wisdom of the ages." In Lend Me Your Ear she assesses the consequences of this age-old attitude that has resulted in a myriad of ongoing rhetorical constructions that are inextricably linked to the concept of speaking well and the following presumptions that denigrate deaf people.

Brueggemann ranges wide to underscore the salient points in her work, which she has divided into three areas: Deafness as Disability, Deafness as Pathology, and Deafness as Culture. In considering the term disability, she notes that it is not the absolute opposite of ability, yet in matters of education and science, the rhetoric is significant regarding the construction of selves and societies in relation to deaf people. Lawyers, judges, teachers, administrators, and school psychologists construct what they think is the "least restrictive environment" for deaf students.

Terms such as oral, manual, inclusion, mainstreaming, equal access, bilingual-bicultural, whole language, remedial, at-risk, and second language learners create a vision of deafness as disability with striking implications for deaf individuals.

Lend Me Your Ear rests upon a solid foundation of impeccable scholarship, but this original book also introduces vital personal experiences of deaf persons, including the author's own poems and reflections, which she calls "interludes." These passages add a dimension of knowledge to her contention that is unavailable to most rhetoricians. Brueggemann's discussion of literacy for communication or for language brings home the cost in human terms when she recounts the story of a middle-age deaf student at Gallaudet University who failed English 12 times before passing, only to find later that he was dyslexic. Not one of the student's English instructors recommended testing for a learning disability, suggesting their assumption that his poor English literacy stemmed from his deafness.

Ultimately, Lend Me Your Ear works as a powerful manifesto that asserts the need for rhetorical models that recognize contributions from different cultures, including those people who move back and forth among them, such as the author herself.

from the inside cover

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