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GUPress at Thirty

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In 2010, Gallaudet University Press proudly celebrated its 30th anniversary as a scholarly publishing house within Gallaudet University. The university itself, which will celebrate its 150th anniversary in 2014, had a long history of fostering and publishing scholarly work by its faculty, but it was only with the formal establishment of the Press in 1980 that the university began an organized and extensive effort to seek, encourage, and publish scholarship on all topics relating to deaf people.

During the past three decades, the Press has successfully released more than 400 titles; disseminated more than 1 million books, videotapes, CDs, and DVDs; and generated revenues from sales in excess of $13 million.

The GUPress Publishing Program

Gallaudet University Press brings unmatched experience and knowledge to its publications on deaf people and their language, history, and culture. The Press has introduced and expanded the relevance of Deaf scholarship in a wide spectrum of academic disciplines, the success of which is reflected by the accumulated honors and academic reviews acknowledging its authors and their work. CHOICE magazine, the American Library Association’s journal of reviews for academic libraries, has designated several GUPress titles as “Outstanding Academic Books,” including The Deaf Way: Perspectives from the International Conference on Deaf Culture; Original Signs: Gesture, Sign, and the Sources of Language; Language in Hand: Why Sign Came Before Speech; and Deaf Learners: Developments in Curriculum and Instruction.

The list of other journals that have published highly favorable reviews of GUPress publications includes, Academic Library Book Review, American Historical Review, Booklist, Chronicle of Higher Education, Contemporary Psychology, Contemporary Sociology, Deafness and Education International, Disabilities Studies Quarterly, Education, Exceptional Child Education Resources, Hearing Loss, History of Education Quarterly, History: Reviews of New Books, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Interface, Journal of American History, Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, Journal of Second Language Studies, Journal of Social History, Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, Midwest Book Review, Modern Maturity, New York Times Book Review, Readings, Reference Research and Book News, Review of Disability Studies, San Francisco Chronicle, SIGNews, School Library Journal, Sign Language Studies, Smithsonian, Volta Review, and Wilson Library Bulletin.

American Sign Language

Gallaudet University Press is unequaled in the breadth and depth of its American Sign Language (ASL) program. The Press has published ASL textbooks, reference titles, DVDs, and other resources for teaching ASL as a second language. Taken all together, these books and DVDs provide teachers and students with a comprehensive set of tools for learning the culture, community, and native language of Deaf people.

GUPress ASL texts are thoroughly reviewed by teachers and linguists to ensure accuracy and full, easy comprehension. Drawing upon linguistic research and the methodology developed in the field of second/foreign language instruction, the core GUPress textbooks stress an interactive approach to teaching and evaluating ASL that is supported by numerous activities and techniques. The ongoing popularity of GUPress teacher resources and course texts proves their effectiveness as unique guides to teaching Deaf culture and understanding and signing ASL.

Library Journal awarded The Gallaudet Dictionary of American Sign Language its highest honor, a starred review, stating that “this extraordinary reference (plus DVD) is an excellent vocabulary resource book. For libraries, public and academic alike, this is an essential acquisition.” The American Library Association chose The American Sign Language Handshape Dictionary, the first dictionary that enables users to look up a sign in order to find its English equivalent, as an Outstanding Reference Source, and Library Journal called its companion DVD “a must for every collection. Providing graphical search capabilities is a fabulous aid. In addition, the signing and production quality is first rate.”

Now in its fourth edition, The Linguistics of American Sign Language: An Introduction prompted the following assessment from the journal Study of Second Language Acquisition: “Unrivaled among linguistic works on American Sign Language, exceptionally well written and illustrated, this volume provides an open door for nonsigners to begin to appreciate ASL.”

The Press also publishes a broad array of ASL books for popular audiences of all ages, including the Baby’s First Signs series, The Parents’ Guide to Baby Signs, and Teach Your Tot to Sign for very young children and their parents, Handy Stories to Read and Sign storybook and DVD for elementary-school-age children, Signing Fun for young adults, and The Gallaudet Survival Guide to Signing and 1,000 Signs of Life: Basic ASL for Everyday Conversation for adults.

Gallaudet University Press Academic Series

As part of its mission, GUPress has expanded the reach of Deaf scholarship to other academic fields through the establishment of several distinct series. Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities was the first.

Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities

A pioneer in the discipline of sociolinguistics as it applies to Deaf communities, Gallaudet University Press publishes one volume annually in this series. Titles range from the work of individual scholars to collections of pivotal research articles by well-known authorities. The series has been celebrated by academic reviewers:

“Over the last few years, editor Ceil Lucas has been making sure that data-driven sociolinguistic studies of deaf sign language variation reach an interested audience. The present volume makes an important contribution for at least three reasons: (a) it contains mostly empirical studies; (b) it is internationally based, providing a means for cross-cultural comparison of sign languages; and (c) it provides a forum for even preliminary work.”
                   —Language in Society, Vol. 26, Issue 3
The Sociolinguistics in Deaf Communities series now numbers 15 volumes and counting.

The Gallaudet Classics in Deaf Studies Series

The release of a new edition of Albert Ballin’s remarkable 1930 book The Deaf Mute Howls marked the advent of the Gallaudet Classics in Deaf Studies series. This unique series makes available modern editions of historically critical works that inform a social understanding of the culture and experiences of deaf people. Each author’s style and meaning is preserved, and new introductions place these works in their historical and intellectual contexts to help make the texts accessible to today’s readers.

Gallaudet Classics in Deaf Studies has brought back into print such notable titles as The Deaf Experience: Classics in Language and Education; Galliard in Deaf America: A Portrait of the Deaf Community, 1917; and A Mighty Change: An Anthology of Deaf American Writing, 1816–1864.

GUPress has published many individual titles on Deaf history as well, most notably Through Deaf Eyes: A Photographic History of an American Community, the companion book to the nationally broadcast PBS documentary Through Deaf Eyes. Other notable histories include The Deaf History Reader and A Fair Chance in the Race of Life: The Role of Gallaudet University in Deaf History.

The Studies in Interpretation Series and the Interpreter Education Series

GUPress introduced two series designed to address the burgeoning research into the nature and methodology of interpretation. The Studies in Interpretation series explores the characteristics of interpreting and the challenges that professionals face throughout the world. The seventh volume, Interpreting in Multilingual, Multicultural Contexts, analyzes diverse interpreting situations ranging from ASL-English-Spanish interpreting on the United States–Baja California border to Māori Deaf trilingual contexts in New Zealand.

The Interpreter Education series delves deeply into determining the best practices for developing proficient interpreters. The six volumes in this series to date have garnered excellent notices from scholarly journals. The review in Interpreting of New Approaches to Interpreter Education reported that this volume “provides very stimulating reading for interpreter trainers and planners. One can only hope that the volume will reach a wide readership.”

The Deaf Lives Series

The Deaf Lives series presents the stories of contemporary persons and family members sharing individual experiences about being deaf in a hearing world. In the first volume, Alone in the Mainstream, Gina A. Oliva related her trials as the only deaf student in a public school, a “solitaire.” R. H. Miller’s Deaf Hearing Boy “tells of a young man’s abiding respect for his parents, despite the problems unique to a deaf couple striving to raise hearing children,” reports Midwest Book Review, calling it “a compelling testimony drawn directly from the heart.”

Other volumes explore the deaf experience in different parts of the world, such as Deaf in Delhi and Neither-Nor: A Young Australian’s Experience with Deafness. These books and the other Deaf Lives volumes reveal the many differences in their respective authors’ lives yet strike similar chords derived directly from the collective Deaf experience.

Along with these varied series, the Press will unveil a new series on Deaf education in 2011. GUPress also publishes extensively on Deaf history, Deaf culture, literacy, and other important areas, including parenting and children’s books.

Deaf Literature and Arts

Gallaudet University Press publishes collections of literature and literary commentary that feature celebrated deaf authors and scholars. The Washington Post Book World reviewed No Walls of Stone, the initial GUPress anthology of literature by deaf and hard of hearing people, by saying that “the poetry in this first-of-its-kind anthology shows that rhythm and inspiration can flourish in the absence of hearing.” Since then, Gallaudet University Press has published various books that showcase Deaf authors, poets, and playwrights.

The Deaf Way II Anthology: A Literary Collection by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Writers celebrated the second international Deaf cultural festival with a worldwide cast of contributors. GUPress later released BUG: Deaf Identity and Internal Revolution, a book of essays by Christopher Jon Heuer, whom Publishers Weekly characterized in their review as “an intriguing, dynamic guide. Despite his serious intent, Heuer is always entertaining.” GUPress also has published Deaf American Poetry: An Anthology, which features verse by 35 deaf American poets from 1810 to the present. CHOICE described this singular collection as a “refreshing, rich, vivid anthology, an invaluable volume. Highly recommended.”

Vignettes of the Deaf Character and Other Plays, by Willy Conley, and Whispers of a Savage Sort and Other Plays about the Deaf Experience, by Raymond Luczak, marked the unprecedented publication of the collected plays of two leading Deaf playwrights. The Press also distributes William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night: Performed in American Sign Language and English, a DVD lauded by Library Journal as “essential for any school teaching Shakespeare or ASL and highly recommended for public libraries.”

GUPress Journals

Gallaudet University Press also publishes two critically important journals, American Annals of the Deaf and Sign Language Studies. The leading journal on the education of deaf students for more than 160 years, American Annals of the Deaf presents both cutting-edge research and best practices for the classroom. GUPress began publishing the Annals in 2003 for its two governing organizations, the Convention of American Instructors of the Deaf (CAID) and the Conference of Educational Administrators of Schools and Programs for the Deaf (CEASD).

William C. Stokoe, a professor at Gallaudet University known as the Father of the Linguistics of American Sign Language, published Sign Language Studies from1972 until 1996. GUPress acquired and revived the journal in 1999, and since then, it has regained its status as the world’s preeminent scholarly journal on sign languages and the communities and cultures around the world that use them.

Both American Annals of the Deaf and Sign Language Studies are the only journals on Deaf education and Deaf studies in Project MUSE, the electronic journals collection created by the Johns Hopkins University Press, to which nearly 1,500 academic libraries, including 422 in 54 nations around the world, subscribe.

Future Projects

Gallaudet University Press already has entered the fast-growing electronic book market with the release of six e-books this year, including the bestselling American Sign Language Handshape Starter. The Press will publish The Gallaudet Children’s Sign Language Dictionary, with more than 1,000 sign drawings, glosses, sentences, and full-color, fun illustrations that display the meaning of each sign. The Press also has plans afoot to begin publishing online, multimedia projects to fully optimize the visual advantages of the Internet, including a historical perspective celebrating the 150-year anniversary of Gallaudet University. The editors at GUPress also are exploring options for developing a new American Sign Language curriculum that will take advantage of new technical advances in multimedia presentation. The Press hopes to develop the means to distribute this new curriculum through electronic and Internet channels to disseminate it as widely as possible.

Editorial Offices

To request editorial guidelines and a new catalog, call (202) 651-5488, or write to:

Gallaudet University Press
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Gallaudet University Press
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College Hall, one of the first structures erected on Gallaudet’s campus, was designed by Frederick Clark Withers and built in 1877 to be used for classes, student housing, and the main administration offices. It was completely renovated in 1995. Gallaudet University Press is located on the fourth floor of College Hall.