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Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture

Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture

by Carol A. Padden, Tom L. Humphries
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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. Carol Padden and Tom 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780674194243
Publisher: Harvard
Publication date: 09/01/1990
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 144
Sales rank: 342,890
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.38(d)

About 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.

Table of Contents


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



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Deaf in America: Voices from a Culture 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
ovistine on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A perspective on Deaf people and their culture looking at things with Deaf culture as the norm rather than hearing culture as the norm. The only drawback to this book is that I've read many books like this, and most of them give more detail, more history, and are somewhat better-written.
OpheliaAwakens on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a good introduction to different issues with growing up Deaf. It goes deeper into the deaf experience than a lot of the books I've read. This book has lots of anecdotes which makes it a more personal read.
susanssq More than 1 year ago
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!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am taking an ASL cource and this book was very enlightening. It helped me understand the Deaf Community better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Written very well. Really opened my eyes and heart to a culture that has been ignored for so many years.