Gallaudet University Press

In Memoriam:
Dr. David A. Stewart

Dr. David Alan Stewart, a member of Gallaudet University’s Board of Trustees since May 1998, died unexpectedly on Monday, June 7, 2004 at his home in Mason, Michigan. He was 50 years old.

Dr. Stewart was Professor and Director of the graduate Deaf Education program at Michigan State University and a prolific author of dozens of journal and research publications, and six books, including Literacy and Your Deaf Child: What Every Parent Should Know, The Signing Family: What Every Parent Should Know about Sign Communication, Language in Motion: Exploring the Nature of Sign, and Deaf Sport: The Impact of Sports Within the Deaf Community. In 2003, Dr. Stewart discussed the importance of literacy as a critical part of a child’s education, the impetus for his latest book co-authored with Bryan R. Clarke, Literacy and Your Deaf Child (see review opposite). Dr. Stewart believed that every child has special strengths and every child can attain their goals and aspirations. He received several scholarly awards in his career, including the David Peikoff Chair of Deafness Studies at University of Alberta, Canada.

Dr. Stewart also directed a number of federal and university funded research projects on American Sign Language (ASL). He researched interactive video and computer applications for deaf children and hearing associates who wished to learn sign communication. He also was a pioneer in creating software on-line and other computer applications for learning ASL. His 1995 software, the Personal Communicator, received the “Computer Software of the Year” award from Discover magazine. He did extensive research and teaching in the use of ASL and English-based forms of sign communication.

Dr. Stewart received his diploma for Deaf Education in 1978, Master of Arts in 1982, and doctorate in Education in 1985, all from the University of British Columbia. He began his career teaching deaf children at Jericho School of the Deaf and worked with families of deaf children for 25 years.

In addition to his deep love of family and vocation, Dr. Stewart was an avid hockey player and coach. He served as Technical Director of ice hockey at four editions of the Winter Deaflympic Games.

Dr. Stewart is survived by his wife Elizabeth (Bazley); children Rachel (19), Rebecca (16), Jennifer (15), and Michael (12); parents Stanley and Elsie Stewart of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada; sisters Diane Little, Sherry Stewart, and Amandah Tanner; many nieces and nephews; sister- and brother-in-law Caroline Bazley and Fredrick Bazley; and parents-in-law Jean Watson and Walter Bazley of Ontario, Canada.

6:7 Friday, July 30, 2004

Alternative View of Literacy Among Deaf People Explored

The Shifts in Deaf Cultural Identity

Dwelling upon deaf students’ literacy in the educational environment defined by the hearing majority is not the best approach, say researchers in a new book Literacy and Deaf People: Cultural and Contextual Perspectives. Edited by Brenda Jo Brueggemann, Associate Professor of English at Ohio State University, this compelling collection advocates for an alternative view of deaf people’s literacy, one that emphasizes recent shifts in Deaf cultural identity.

In her introduction, Brenda Jo Brueggemann, who also edits the new Deaf Lives series for Gallaudet University Press, expounds further on the motivation for this volume stating, “Deaf people’s literacy: This is no new subject. Typically approached as a problem or even a paradox in much of the long-stretching literature, literacy and deaf people have never danced smoothly together. Perhaps because literacy itself is usually defined as (and by) the dominant culture’s literacy, bound to standard spoken and written forms of a language and certain skill levels at those standard forms, literacy studies have most often defined deaf people as lacking. Yet in the past, Deaf studies scholars such as Timothy Reagan, Donald F. Moores, and Kathryn P. Meadow-Orlans have been concerned about the pathological definitions of deafness that are inherent in the English language itself and embedded in our educational systems. They have sought to explore literacy and deafness from contextual and cultural models that look beyond a sometimes simplistic deficit model that leaves deaf people only and always lacking.”

Divided into two parts, Literacy and Deaf People covers a range of topics from how deaf children learn to how literacy can be extended to deaf people beyond the age of 20. Read more about this insightful collection in chapter two, What Does Culture Have to Do with the Education of Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing?. Then, take advantage of your exclusive 20% subscriber discount when you order Literacy and Deaf People.

A recent review from the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education recognized the significance of David A. Stewart and Bryan R. Clarke’s Literacy and Your Deaf Child: What Every Parent Should Know. “All children need substantial help from their parents to enter school ready to read and write. It is not easy to make a complicated topic such as literacy accessible to parents. That is why a book such as Literacy and Your Deaf Child: What Every Parent Should Know has the potential to be beneficial.” This guide equips parents with the information they need to ensure that their deaf or hard of hearing child becomes a proficient reader and writer and develops overall literacy skills that will enable him to function in an increasingly print-oriented world. Read chapter eight, Writing, and order Literacy and Your Deaf Child.

Holocaust and Genocide Studies, published by Oxford University Press, bestowed honors upon both Deaf People in Hitler’s Europe, edited by Donna F. Ryan and John S. Schuchman and Surviving in Silence, by Eleanor C. Dunai. “Individual accounts that conjure up important events are essential, especially for the study of the Holocaust. They are the stuff of history, but only part of the entire tapestry of history per se. Both of these books are necessary for our understanding of the story of deaf people during that Holocaust; they are an excellent starting point for further research and reflection,” was the reaction of the reviewer. Read more on the topic of the Holocaust and deaf experiences in Part III from Deaf People in Hitler’s Europe, chapter eight of Surviving in Silence, and from Horst Biesold’s Crying Hands, chapter one. Also, order a copy of each -- Deaf People, Surviving in Silence, Crying Hands -- today.

Narrating Deaf Lives: Biography, Autobiography, and Documentary, the fourth Gallaudet University Press Institute international conference, will be held on November 3-5, 2004, at the Kellogg Conference Hotel at Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C. Keynote speakers include Sylvia Nasar, author of A Beautiful Mind, Emmanuelle Laborit, actor and author of The Cry of the Gull, and Larry Hott, Director of the documentary film History Through Deaf Eyes. Register on-line now through September 1, 2004, and receive a 10% discount off the regular registration fee of $250. For more information about the conference, go to http://gupress.gallaudet.edu/gupiconference/index.html.

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