Forbidden Signs: American Culture and the Campaign against Sign Language [NOOK Book]

Overview


Forbidden Signs explores American culture from the mid-nineteenth century to 1920 through the lens of one striking episode: the campaign led by Alexander Graham Bell and other prominent Americans to suppress the use of sign language among deaf people.

The ensuing debate over sign language invoked such fundamental questions as what distinguished Americans from non-Americans, civilized people from "savages," humans from animals, men from ...
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Forbidden Signs: American Culture and the Campaign against Sign Language

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Overview


Forbidden Signs explores American culture from the mid-nineteenth century to 1920 through the lens of one striking episode: the campaign led by Alexander Graham Bell and other prominent Americans to suppress the use of sign language among deaf people.

The ensuing debate over sign language invoked such fundamental questions as what distinguished Americans from non-Americans, civilized people from "savages," humans from animals, men from women, the natural from the unnatural, and the normal from the abnormal. An advocate of the return to sign language, Baynton found that although the grounds of the debate have shifted, educators still base decisions on many of the same metaphors and images that led to the misguided efforts to eradicate sign language.

"Baynton's brilliant and detailed history, Forbidden Signs, reminds us that debates over the use of dialects or languages are really the linguistic tip of a mostly submerged argument about power, social control, nationalism, who has the right to speak and who has the right to control modes of speech."—Lennard J. Davis, The Nation

"Forbidden Signs is replete with good things."—Hugh Kenner, New York Times Book Review
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Baynton (history and American Sign Language, U. of Iowa) narrates the campaign by Alexander Graham Bell and other prominent Americans to suppress the use of sign language among deaf people from the middle of the 19th century to 1920. He finds traits of American culture in the characterizing of the deaf as outsiders, beings of silence, innocent, and mysterious. An advocate of ASL, he looks at how the metaphors and images generated by the debate still influence educators. Annotation c. by Book News, Inc., Portland, Or.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226039688
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 4/22/1998
  • Series: NONE
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 235
  • Sales rank: 973,149
  • File size: 2 MB

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments
Introduction
1: Foreigners in Their Own Land: Community
2: Savages and Deaf Mutes: Species and Race
3: Without Voices: Gender
4: From Refinement to Efficiency: Culture
5: The Natural Language of Signs: Nature
6: The Unnatural Language of Signs: Normality
Epilogue: The Trap of Paternalism
Notes
Index
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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2013

    I dont understand this book

    What is wrong with ASL? I love learning sign language. I dont get why there is problem with deaf people signing. How else will they communicate? Looks weird. I wont be buying this book. I mean it doesnt even explain in the book description.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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