Gallaudet University Press

15:1 Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Social Hierarchies That Hinder Deaf Students

A New Book Addresses Social Justice Issues About Deafness, Language, Culture, and Education

In Social Constructions of Deafness: Examining Deaf Languacultures in Education, author Thomas P. Horejes notes that “ideas and definitions of deafness are complicated and deeply contested, including the constraints over what ought to be socially constructed as normal, especially for a child. Social institutions such as schools play powerful and exacting roles in the creation and maintenance of social constructions such as language and culture for deaf children. Schools also provide deaf children with a unique opportunity to obtain a valuable education; however, educational outcomes for deaf children are not on par with hearing children. Issues are further complicated because efforts to define appropriate academic, linguistic, and cultural pedagogy for deaf children in deaf schools are contested by divergent ideologies of spoken English and sign language.” Social Constructions of Deafness explores these inquiries.

With a modified framework used to “study history and biography (individual and social problems),” Horejes addresses the following questions: What does it mean to be deaf in today’s society? Where have the constructions of deafness by means of languaculture been framed and reframed in human history? How do some social control institutions such as schools construct meanings and human values by means of languaculture to shape the overall social constructions of a deaf individual? What are some possible strategies, if any, for our society to develop a positive and constructive construction of deafness to “prevail” in today’s society?

Read more in chapter one, “My Journey,” and receive 20% off the regular price with your exclusive subscriber discount. When ordering online, type “JAN2013” in the box labeled “use promo code” next to the checkout button. You may also order by mail.

In Deaf American Prose: 1980–2010, volume one of the Gallaudet Deaf Literature series, editors Kristen Harmon and Jennifer Nelson assemble a remarkable cadre of Deaf writers in a unique anthology. Reference & Research Book News had this to say about the initial entry: “This inaugural volume in the series contains 48 short stories that provide a variety of perspectives on deaf life. Among the titles are The Deaf Conspirators, Looking for the Music in Myself, I Am Not My Ears, Going Native at Ben Bahan’s House, and Burrito Monster. Author profiles and discussion questions are included.” Read a short story here, and order your copy of Deaf American Prose online or by mail today.

This book is not designed for the novice reader or student interested in deaf education,” notes Choice magazine in its December issue. “Rather, it is nearly purely theoretical in that it examines the several aspects/constructs of what is known about ‘deafness.’” In Deaf Epistemologies: Multiple Perspectives on the Acquisition of Knowledge, editors Peter V. Paul and Donald F. Moores, along with 12 noted scholars and researchers, examine the many ways that deaf people see and acquire deaf knowledge. Summing up its review, Choice magazine states: “As with all epistemological scholarship, the editors and contributors make it clear that there is no single best explanation for how deaf people know what they know, or what the hearing population ‘knows’ about what it is like to be deaf. Each perspective is a theory, and a theory must rest on evidence that supports its continued viability and validity.” Read more about this groundbreaking volume in chapter 13, “Can It Be a Good Thing to Be Deaf?”, and order Deaf Epistemologies online or by mail now.

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