HomePage
Gallaudet University Press

13:11 Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Last of the Fingerspelling Deaf Mexicans

A New Study Explores the Lives of Mexicans Who Attended the National School for the Deaf

“When I began this project,” shares author Claire L. Ramsey, “I had already felt the pull of life stories. My final paper for my MA in linguistics told the life story and post-retirement reflections of Henry Stack, a Deaf man from Vancouver, Washington, who was raised in Missouri in a large family of Deaf siblings, parents, aunts, and uncles. I was taken with Hank’s responses through his life as a Deaf American to the expectations generated by the American frontier myth of rugged individualism. Hank’s narrative nudged me toward considering the reality that ASL signers in the United States are both culturally Deaf and culturally American. I began to think about American culture, a move that surprised me. It took me a long time to comprehend that swimming in an American Anglo-Saxon and Northern-European watery heritage was just as much a cultural phenomenon as being Japanese in Japanese water or French in French water. It was only a short step to speculate that Deaf people in other countries, who may or may not identify themselves as culturally Deaf, probably also share something with the other people of their nationality, even the hearing people. The Escuela Nacional para Sordomudos (ENS), [translated as the Mexican National School for the Deaf], signers and their life stories offered me a chance to consider what it might mean to be both Deaf and Mexican.”

In The People Who Spell: The Last Students from the Mexican National School for the Deaf, Ramsey focused her research on Deaf Mexicans in Mexico City who had either attended the ENS or were married to someone who attended. “The elderly signers whose life stories I describe here,” notes Ramsey, “truly are the remaining members of an undocumented ENS-rooted group of Deaf people in Mexico City that had a life span of about 100 years. Students who came from other parts of the country to attend ENS tended to remain in or near Mexico City, so it is likely that the group I describe in this book represents a portion of the last group of Deaf Mexicans who were educated with other Deaf signers in the school setting provided by ENS, and who had first contact with Lengua de Señas Mexicana (LSM) from other Deaf signers in a school context. By relating the stories of Mexican Deaf people I hope not only to describe ways of life that contrast with those of U.S. Deaf people, but also to push readers to consider what it means to be both Deaf and American, Deaf and Canadian, or Deaf and Mexican. If we are to take culture as a rich and explanatory account of Deaf communities, then we cannot avoid taking culture as a rich and key account of the larger national communities of which Deaf communities are a part.”

Read more about this intriguing study in chapter one, Somos Sordos Mexicanos: We Are Deaf Mexicans.” Order The People Who Spell online and receive 20% off the regular price by typing “NOV2011” in the box labeled “use promo code” next to the checkout button. You may also order by mail.


Reference and Research Book News published this notice about The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL: Its History and Structure in its summer issue: “[Carolyn] McCaskill, Ceil Lucas, Robert Bayley, and Joseph Hill present a book and video disk exploring Black American Sign Language (ASL). They describe the socio-historical reality that made a separate variety of ASL possible, and the features of what is called Black ASL. They also investigate whether Black ASL displays the same kinds of features that have been identified for African American English. Finally, they look for unique features of the variety and analyze the linguistic and social factors that condition their use.” This new volume and its accompanying DVD present the first empirical study that begins to fill in the linguistic gaps about Black ASL. You can read more about this one-of-a-kind study in chapter one. Order your copy of The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL today.


Interpreting in Legal Settings, the fourth volume in the Studies in Interpretation series, “endeavors to bring [forth] evidence-based practices from both signed and spoken language interpreter researchers with a particular focus on the work that occurs in legal settings,” explains editors Debra Russell and Sandra Hale. Interpreting, the international journal of research and practice in interpreting, praised this collection in a recent review, stating: “This edited volume is an excellent collection of empirically grounded studies. It would be a useful text for any scholar who does research in this field and ideal for graduate or advanced undergraduate level courses. With its wide variety of research methodologies and abundance of important findings, this is a book very much worth reading.” The full review is available online. Read chapter two, Interpreting in Asylum Appeal Hearings: Roles and Norms Revisited, and order Interpreting in Legal Settings here.


Just visiting? Subscribe now to the Gallaudet University Press E-newsletter and receive exclusive updates, book excerpts, and discounts...absolutely free.

Read previous Gallaudet University Press E-newsletters:

August 2002
September 2002
October 2002
November 2002
December 2002
January 2003
February 2003
March 2003
April 2003
May 2003
June 2003
July 2003
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005

September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
March 2007
April 2007
May 2007
June 2007
July 2007
August 2007
September 2007
October 2007
November 2007
December 2007
January 2008
February 2008
March 2008
April 2008
May 2008
June 2008
July 2008
August 2008
September 2008

October 2008
November 2008
December 2008
January 2009
February 2009
March 2009
April 2009
May 2009
June 2009
July 2009
August 2009
September 2009
October 2009
November 2009
December 2009
January 2010
February 2010
March 2010
April 2010
May 2010
June 2010
July 2010
August 2010
September 2010
October 2010
November 2010
December 2010
January 2011
February 2011
March 2011
April 2011
May 2011
June 2011
July 2011
August 2011
September 2011
October 2011

Fall 2011 Catalog


HomePage

Contact the webmaster at gupress@gallaudet.edu

Copyright 1999-2011 Gallaudet University. All rights reserved.