|View Our Catalog||The Deaf Way II Reader|
From the Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education
The “birthdate of the Deaf-Mute nation” was in 1834 at the first Deaf-Mute Banquet in Paris. The eloquence of the signed speeches, toasts, and poems at this first large-scale gathering (which included foreign Deaf and invited hearing people) was well documented (Mottez, 1993). The Banquets became political demonstrations of what is good and right about the Deaf way of being in the world.
The Deaf Way II Conference, 186 years later, occurred over 6 days in Washington, DC, with 9,500 conference registrants from 121 different countries participating and 40,000 attending other Deaf Way II events. Registrants received a 186-page conference program book, a publication of Deaf visual artists, and a literary anthology of Deaf writers. In its aftermath, Gallaudet Press published a “visual anthology” of photographs of the celebration as well as a DVD/video.
In The Deaf Way II Reader, Harvey Goodstein takes on the overwhelming task of collecting and editing essays focusing on the conference presentations. Of approximately 200 papers presented, 75 were chosen from the plenary addresses and samplings from the conference’s main strands: Advocacy and Community Development, Economics, Education, Family, Health a Mental Health, History, Language and Culture, Literature, Recreation, Leisure and Sport, Sign Language and Interpreting, Technology, and Youth. The editorial challenge was in shaping this material given that the papers came from a variety of language/cultural backgrounds and publishing traditions. The essays included research projects, reports of community programs, and transcriptions of panel discussions. While the content of the Reader provides a taste of the diversity of the Deaf experience, readers also can come to appreciate the diversity of essay styles. My only wish was to have more information on the presenters—their contact information and a brief biographical sketch.
Several essays describe unique experiences of Deaf people: a South African Parliamentarian, a Norwegian couple’s adoption of two Deaf Chinese children, a mountain climber, and Filipino workers who pursued a class action suit. Other essays describe Deaf Russian factory towns, the emergence of Israel’s Deaf community, sign language use among Native Americans, and the impact of the concept of karma on Asian people’s beliefs about Deaf children. Panel discussions focused on Deaf Artists, Entrepreneurs, and Leadership Camps for youths in various countries.
Amid these papers arise the challenges of global human rights, the right to equal education access, and the uncertain impact of genetic engineering. With the discovery of “the Deaf gene,” Joseph J. Murray’s paper proposes the need to assert “what is so valuable about being Deaf that is worthy of a place in the future of humanity.” Paddy Ladd, in this volume, suggests an answer which harks back to the Deaf-Mute Banquets in France: Because of the ease of communication among Deaf people of various sign language backgrounds, “Deaf people manifest the potential ability to become the world’s first truly global citizens and thus serve as models for the rest of society.” The Deaf Way II Reader provides invaluable documentation of this potential and offers a contemporary glimpse into the global Deaf nation.
Harvey Goodstein, Professor Emeritus of Mathematics and Computer Science at Gallaudet University, was Chair of Deaf Way II.
ISBN 978-1-56368-294-0, 7 x 10 casebound, 384 pages, photographs, figures, tables, index
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