Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture

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Overview

Written by authors who are themselves Deaf, this unique book illuminates the life and culture of Deaf people from the inside, through their everyday talk, their shared myths, their art and performances, and the lessons they teach one another. Padden and Humphries employ the capitalized "Deaf" to refer to deaf people who share a natural language--American Sign Language (ASL)--and a complex culture, historically created and actively transmitted across generations.

Signed languages have traditionally been considered to be simply sets of gestures rather than natural languages. This mistaken belief, fostered by hearing people's cultural views, has had tragic consequences for the education of deaf children; generations of children have attended schools in which they were forbidden to use a signed language. For Deaf people, as Padden and Humphries make clear, their signed language is life-giving, and is at the center of a rich cultural heritage.

The tension between Deaf people's views of themselves and the way the hearing world views them finds its way into their stories, which include tales about their origins and the characteristics they consider necessary for their existence and survival. Deaf in America includes folktales, accounts of old home movies, jokes, reminiscences, and translations of signed poems and modern signed performances. The authors introduce new material that has never before been published and also offer translations that capture as closely as possible the richness of the original material in ASL.

Deaf in America will be of great interest to those interested in culture and language as well as to Deaf people and those who work with deaf children and Deaf people.

"Through the use of folklore, apocryphal stories, poetry, jokes, and discussion of split factions and advocacy organizations, Padden and Humphries gracefully explain how deaf culture works, what it means to its members, how they define themselves within it, and how they interact with the world outside."--Booklist. Illustrated.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times Book Review
A fascinating glimpse into a world unfamiliar to most of us.
Washington Post - Paul Berg
To be deaf, it seems obvious, must be to live in a world of silence. That, say the authors of Deaf in America, is where most people get it wrong...[Padden and Humphries] challenge their readers to imagine a world, one with a "different center"--one in which ability or inability to hear is not at the core. The thing that links it all together is sign language, which Deaf in America contemplates, illustrates, and celebrates.
Psychology Today - Beryl Lieff Benderly
A long, painful experience of hearing intolerance has generally kept Deaf culture fairly closed to outsiders, even sympathetic ones. But now Padden and Humphries...have written a charming small book that invites the rest of us at least part way in...A most welcome addition to that very small shelf of books that truly illuminate the experience of being deaf.
Booklist
Through the use of folklore, apocryphal stories, poetry, jokes, and discussion of split factions and advocacy organizations, Padden and Humphries gracefully explain how deaf culture works, what it means to its members, how they define themselves within it, and how they interact with the world outside. Providing rare insight into this universe of silence, this volume conveys the joy and satisfaction that many deaf people have in their lives and shows that being deaf is not a handicap that most hearing people think.
Harlan Lane
In this wonderful book, we see Deaf culture from inside out and from outside in at the same time--a miracle and a delight.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780674194243
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press
  • Publication date: 9/28/1990
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 144
  • Sales rank: 166,146
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.39 (d)

Meet the Author

Carol Padden is a Professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego.

Tom Humphries is associate professor in the Department of Communication and the Teacher Education Program at the University of California, San Diego.

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Table of Contents

Introduction

1. Learning to Be Deaf

2. Images of Being

3. A Different Center

4. Living in Others' World

5. A Changing Consciousness

6. The Meaning of Sound

7. Historically Created Lives

References

Index

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 4 )
Rating Distribution

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(2)

4 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 19, 2012

    good

    Its a difficlt read. But, otherwise the information is interesting once you get into reading it. It tells an interesting view of the Deaf culture!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2009

    Deaf Culture

    I am taking an ASL cource and this book was very enlightening.
    It helped me understand the Deaf Community better.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2001

    An interesting approach for relaying Deaf culture.

    However, this book just reinforces all the ideologies and feelings portrayed in many related books. The format is somewhat boring and the book is not well written.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2000

    Eye Opener

    Written very well. Really opened my eyes and heart to a culture that has been ignored for so many years.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews

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