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Inside Deaf Culture

37 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0674022522
ISBN-10: 0674022521
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Editorial Reviews

Review

With writing remarkable for its grace, simplicity, and clarity, Padden and Humphries hold Deaf culture before our eyes for many faceted inspection. This book will be enormously important to ASL teachers, to teachers of Deaf studies, and to Deaf and hearing people who want to understand the Deaf World. (Harlan Lane, author of A Journey into the Deaf-World)

What a bold and courageous book! Carol Padden and Tom Humphries shed light on significant moments in the history of the American Deaf community. They show how struggles for power and dominance have run through their experience for more than a century, from coercive methods of teaching language to efforts of modern science to "correct" and possibly even eliminate deafness--and with it, Deaf culture. (Glenn Anderson, Professor and Director of Training at the University of Arkansas Rehabilitation Research and Training Center for Persons who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing)

Inside Deaf Culture is a valuable addition to the growing collection of historical material about the Deaf community in the United States of America. It will add much to a better understanding of who we Deaf people are. (Jack Gannon, author of Deaf Heritage)

This well-organized and clearly written book provides a fascinating inside look at the development of Deaf culture...Padden and Humphries's presentation of these marvelous insights into the history and development of the language and beliefs of the Deaf should be viewed as a welcome step in the quest to inform the hearing world of the rich and fertile culture of the authors' beloved community. (Susan Waltzman New England Journal of Medicine 2005-07-28)

Inside Deaf Culture is a fascinating account of the rise of group identity among deaf people...Padden and Humphries shed light on the rise of Deaf schools, social clubs and theaters from the mid-19th to the mid-20th centuries--a history that is unknown to many. (Jeremy Funk Christian Century 2006-01-24)

Carol Padden and Tom Humphries have done it again--and readers everywhere should be grateful. Almost twenty years ago, Padden and Humphries helped transform the nascent and promising field of deaf history with their path-breaking and still relevant book, Deaf in America: Voices From a Culture. In their current work, Padden and Humphries further explore formative "cu1tura1 moments" in the deaf community--what they describe as the generative ideas and influences that shape how deaf people identify themselves...This book is a valuable exploration of the deaf community. (Robert M. Buchanon American Historical Review)

Review

With writing remarkable for its grace, simplicity, and clarity, Padden and Humphries hold Deaf culture before our eyes for many faceted inspection. This book will be enormously important to ASL teachers, to teachers of Deaf studies, and to Deaf and hearing people who want to understand the Deaf World. (Harlan Lane, author of A Journey into the Deaf-World) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press (October 31, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674022521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674022522
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,273 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 43 people found the following review helpful By RBoyd VINE VOICE on May 12, 2005
Format: Hardcover
My dad picked this book up since I just underwent a Cochlear Implant. I was born with some hearing and over the years I started to lose more and more of it. And while I was growing up, there were talk about the Deaf Culture and hearing impairment. I have never been a part of the Deaf Culture. I probably never will be. At my dad's urging and recommendation, I read this book.

This book is a compilation of the Deaf Culture history ~~ how sign language came into being, the Deaf Clubs that were so popular till the 1960s, the Deaf Schools, and how they are fighting to perserve their heritage. It is a slim volume packed with interesting facts and observations ~~ I couldn't put the book down.

This book is bound to be controversial among cicles ~~ both hearing and in the Deaf Culture. This is the first I've heard of the authors too ~~ and I may be interested enough to read their other books to get more of an idea of what their philosophies are and so on. It is very well-written, thought-provoking and interesting. It is disturbing in some parts and in other parts, it leaves the reader with more questions than answers.

If you are interested in the history of the Deaf Culture, this book is one of the best places to start. It may have the answers you're looking for or not.

5-12-05
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By M Collier on July 20, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Inside Deaf Culture; Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 224 pages

Inside Deaf Culture is written by two well-known professors of ASL and Deaf Studies. Both authors are Deaf and in the later chapters, discuss their different backgrounds.

I would recommend this book to anyone studying Deaf Culture, ASL, linguistics, anthropology, social change in America, Deaf people, parents of Deaf children, educators and any one else interested in the history and struggles of minority groups. The book can also be used as a Deaf history reference book for Deaf and hard of hearing students.

In the book, the authors describe Deaf life in America from the beginning of the country to the present age. In so doing, they poignantly write about the blight of Deaf in America over the years. The book includes some less than glowing reports about the motives of people who were instrumental establishing some of the earliest schools for the Deaf in the county. The authors tell us of abuses of power and scandals that occurred in some of these early schools. The authors describe how historically, people in positions of authority who made decisions for and about what Deaf people could and could not do at school, work and in communities were usually hearing. Even so, early in the history of Deaf in America, schools for the Deaf played an enormous role in bringing Deaf people together.

The authors also tell us how early United States history, the hearing community practices of segregating Africa Americans was also reflected in early Deaf education and in the Deaf community. The accounts are told with frankness. We learn how Deaf people were often discriminated against as a group. We also learn how this discrimination was even more oppressive for Deaf African-Americans.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Ivan Rosero on March 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
Other reviews here have touched on some of the specific points made in the book, so I would like to share instead my personal reaction to this book. What struck me the most is the tension running through each chapter between community and coercion. The very early history of schools for the deaf in the United States is inseparable from the growing introduction in the early nineteenth century of the expert management of civil society. Like prisons or asylums for the insane, schools for the deaf exercised direct control over student's bodies, starting from the fact that the institution became the legal guardian of the student. This coercive placement, both physical and social, however, represented for many student's their first encounter with other deaf people, with whom they would often form life-long friendships. This was, and continues even today to be, such a strong identity forming process, that many students considered these schools the places they "were from", and not the towns or cities they were born in.

This is something that I have thought about often since reading this book, for it brings me to questions about the ways in which we negotiate our identity with the people and institutions around us, which can provide us with growth and with pain at the same time. This touched me the most in the moving accounts of both suffering and profound connection that the authors are intimately familiar with.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Katrina Boulding on March 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Inside Deaf Culture presents a beautifully well-written, grounded, and historical exploration of Deaf culture. The book is in part about ASL as a medium for cultural expression. It is also about the history of Deaf culture, its struggle for recognition and struggle with questions of what it means to be a culture. Culture cannot be defined by a dictionary nor reduced to theatrical performance. Rather, it is practices in everyday life. How then, the authors ask, does one define culture or declare who is a member of that culture? Where are the boundaries?

Padden and Humphries find that cultures give us spaces of separation and inclusion. They describe the segregation the Deaf community has experienced from without and within by institution, race, teaching methods, how a person became deaf, extent of hearing-loss, and adoption of technology to help hear. As deaf people are constrained through the management of their bodies, these boundaries can also be liberating as ideas and goals are shared, new practices developed, new spaces of belonging created.

The authors also demonstrates through the history of the Deaf community how shifts in physical geographies lead to shifts in social relations from which emerge shifts in language and culture. As physical boundaries disappear (such as a decrease in the number of deaf educational institutions and community gathering spaces), language is used to stake out new edges. Boundaries become mediated through voice and sign, not fences.

The book emphasizes that culture exists within a history made up of individuals, social forces and conflicts.
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