Literacy and Deaf People

Cultural and Contextual Perspectives

By Brenda Jo Brueggemann

Imprint: Gallaudet University Press
Ebook : 9781563682339, 212 pages, October 2009
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Table of contents

Introduction: Reframing Deaf People’s Literacy
Part I: “Modernizing” Deaf Selves and Deaf Education: Histories and Habits
The Modern Deaf Self: Indigenous Practices and Educational Imperatives
What Does Culture Have to Do with the Education of Students Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing?
Double Jeopardy: Women, Deafness, and Deaf Education
Deaf, She Wrote: Mapping Deaf Women’s Autobiography
Part II: Multicultural and Bilingual Perspectives
The Relationship between Language Experience and Language Development: A Report from Norway
Deaf Immigrant and Refugee Children: Institutional and Cultural Clash
Cultural and Linguistic Voice in the Deaf Bilingual Experience
Struggling for a Voice: An Interactionist View of Language and Literacy in Deaf Education
English Literacy in the Life Stories of Deaf College Undergraduates



This compelling collection advocates for an alternative view of deaf people’s literacy, one that emphasizes recent shifts in Deaf cultural identity rather than a student’s past educational context as determined by the dominant hearing society. Divided into two parts, the book opens with four chapters by leading scholars Tom Humphries, Claire Ramsey, Susan Burch, and volume editor Brenda Jo Brueggemann. These scholars use diverse disciplines to reveal how schools where deaf children are taught are the product of ideologies about teaching, about how deaf children learn, and about the relationship of ASL and English.
Part Two features works by Elizabeth Engen and Trygg Engen; Tane Akamatsu and Ester Cole; Lillian Buffalo Tompkins; Sherman Wilcox and BoMee Corwin; and Kathleen M. Wood. The five chapters contributed by these noteworthy researchers offer various views on multicultural and bilingual literacy instruction for deaf students. Subjects range from a study of literacy in Norway, where Norwegian Sign Language recently became the first language of instruction for deaf pupils, to the difficulties faced by deaf immigrant and refugee children who confront institutional and cultural clashes. Other topics include the experiences of deaf adults who became bilingual in ASL and English, and the interaction of the pathological versus the cultural view of deafness. The final study examines literacy among Deaf college undergraduates as a way of determining how the current social institution of literacy translates for Deaf adults and how literacy can be extended to deaf people beyond the age of 20.


Brenda Jo Brueggemann is Associate Professor of English at Ohio State University in Columbus, OH.