Gallaudet University Press

9:11 Wednesday, November 21, 2007

A Profile of the Spanish Deaf School

Author's Research Sheds Light on Deaf People and Their Educators
in Nineteenth-Century Spain

Spanning virtually the entire nineteenth century, author Susan Plann’s research in The Spanish National Deaf School: Portraits from the Nineteenth Century is a collection of biographical essays or “portraits” of nineteenth-century Spanish Deaf people and their educators. The educators are connected in one way or another with the state-sponsored Madrid school, known first as the Royal School for Deaf-Mutes, then as the National School for Deaf-Mutes and the Blind. “The result,” says Plann, “is a mosaic in which stories of individuals illuminate the larger experience of the nineteenth-century Spanish Deaf community. Exploration of these individuals’ lives and circumstances also sheds light on topics such as the nineteenth-century construction of deafness and the history of Spanish Sign Language.”

Plann further explains, “In the larger scheme of things, this research invites us to consider questions like those posed by Catherine J. Kudlick in her insightful essay on disability history: ‘What does it mean to be human? How can we respond ethically to difference? What is the value of a human life? Who decides these questions, and what do the answers reveal?’ Adapting these questions to the subject at hand, we might ask, what does it mean to be a deaf or non-deaf person? How do we respond ethically to deafness? What is the value of a deaf or non-deaf life? Who determines the answers to these questions, and what do the answers reveal? My hope is that, in addition to expanding our knowledge of Spanish Deaf history, this research will also deepen our understanding of these overarching issues and contribute both to scholarship and social change.”

View the table of contents and read the preface. Order The Spanish National Deaf School online and receive your 20% exclusive subscriber discount by typing “NOV0720%” in the “Comments or Special Instructions” box below your credit card information. You may also order by mail.

In a recent issue, Wisconsin Bookwatch, the library newsletter from The Midwest Book Review, highlighted The Deaf Way II Reader: Perspectives from the Second International Conference on Deaf Culture, stating: “The Deaf Way II Reader is an in-depth collection of 65 scholarly papers tied to the second international Deaf gathering in 2002 at Washington, DC. Contributors hail from such diverse nations as Brazil, Cyprus, Denmark, Great Britain, Greece, Iran, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, Spain, and Thailand, and the topics range from ‘Deaf Parents with Teenage Children’ to ‘The Status of Deaf People in Developing Countries’ to ‘The Poetics and Politics of Deaf American Literature’ and much more. A magnificent and varied compendium of the international knowledge, understanding, and insight into Deaf experience and culture, enthusiastically recommended for college libraries.” Read a paper from part one, and order The Deaf Way II Reader.

Wisconsin Bookwatch also published a glowing review of child development instructor Penny Warner’s Signing Fun: American Sign Language Vocabulary, Phrases, Games, and Activities: “Signing Fun is a guide to learning American Sign Language for readers age 11 and up. Each handsign is illustrated with cheerful and cartoony black-and-white pictures. Presenting 441 useful signs for a variety of favorite topics, practice sentences with everyday phrases, games and activities for practicing signs, tips on how to sign or fingerspell, use numbers, and communicate with deaf people, Signing Fun is highly recommended as an excellent beginner’s book and vocabulary builder for learning ASL.” View the table of contents, and add Signing Fun to your collection by ordering now.

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