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15:4 Friday, April 19, 2013

The Spirit of the Kangaroo

One Woman’s Fascination with the Animals that Changed Her Life

Although she was born deaf and later became blind, Doris Herrmann acknowledges that “these restrictions have in fact been the means whereby I have learned to concentrate on what for me was essential. Although I, like many others, have often been burdened by prejudice, I have nevertheless managed to maintain a sensitivity to and an understanding of the little things in life, which, for a ‘normal’ person without disabilities merely go unheeded.” In her new book My Life with Kangaroos: A Deaf Woman’s Remarkable Story, Herrmann shares her childhood fascination with kangaroos which led her to repeated travels to Australia in her adult years where she eventually became a respected researcher on the behavior of her beloved marsupials.

“It was the kangaroo—or shall I say the spirit of the kangaroo—which so enthralled me in my childhood and later shaped my life into a kind of mental symbiosis,” she explains. “One can say that the kangaroo has in many ways dominated my life. On the other hand, it has provided me with an even keel in difficult situations. As a person with a disability, I am constantly confronted with the challenge of having to get myself under control each day and so face up to life’s demands openly and positively. Precisely because of this, I have been able to appreciate every bit of assistance I have received from this animal. These were always good deeds, so to speak, gifts that my soul comprehended directly and without hindrance.”

Read the exclusive interview Herrmann gave with her co-author and editor Michael Gaida online now. Order My Life with Kangaroos today and receive 20% off the regular price by using your subscriber discount. For online orders, type “APR2013” in the box labeled “use promo code,” or order by mail.


Language Policy and Planning for Sign Languages, volume sixteen in the Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities series, provides both knowledgeable language policymakers and sign language experts the information and means to apply their expertise jointly for future language planning for sign languages. The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education noted the following in a recent review: “Considering all that the book has to offer, Language Policy and Planning for Sign Languages would be meaningful for those in the field of education, psychology, sociology, philosophy, political science, anthropology, linguistic and cultural studies, especially the fields of Deaf Studies and Sign Languages. Reagan concludes the book with insightful candor analyzing language and power in the Deaf-World: ‘Language policy for deaf people, both in the United States and in most parts of the world, does not yet reflect equality or social justice, and this colors language rights everywhere and for everyone.’” Read more in this excerpt from chapter one, and order Language Policy and Planning for Sign Languages either online or by mail now.


A reviewer for Disability Studies Quarterly made this assessment of Deaf and Disability Studies: “Susan Burch and Alison Kafer’s Deaf and Disability Studies: Interdisciplinary Perspectives brings together a series of essays depicting the intersections and divergences between the fields of Deaf Studies and Disability Studies. Because the writers selected come from a wide range of specializations and approaches, the book takes on a vast range of theoretical approaches. Readers who are familiar with the fields of Deaf and Disability Studies will see that the writers’ contributions differ in not only their approaches, but also their standpoints. This will be a useful book for those who want a taste of many different analyses that demonstrate the interdisciplinary nature of Deaf and Disability Studies, revealing the complexities and divergences of both fields while demonstrating their intersections.” Read an essay, and order Deaf and Disability Studies online or by mail.


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