Thursday, September 11, 2008

Review of Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking

Metapsychology Online has published this interesting review of Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking (ed. K-Dirksen L. Bauman, University of Minnesota Press, 2008) by Jackie Leach Scully. Here is an excerpt:

Every now and again, something happens that creates a flurry of media interest in deafness. These days it's often to do with biomedical technology and the response to it of the "culturally Deaf" -- people with audiological deafness who consider themselves members of a cultural grouping rather than disabled. So we have the rejection (by some Deaf people but not all) of cochlear implants, or the use (by some Deaf people, but not all) of reproductive technologies to "select for" deafness. The resulting discussions might be described as dialogues of the deaf, if the pun were not so obvious and so bad, and in fact so wrong (most deaf people can dialogue with each other perfectly well. It's dialogue between Deaf and hearing that can get problematic).

Open Your Eyes goes some way towards explaining why deafness may be considered a more-or- less normal form of human variation. Less ambitiously, it also aims to "open eyes" to the value of Deaf Studies as something other than an academic freak show. The collection originated in a 3-day "Think Tank" held in 2002 at Gallaudet University, Washington DC, the world's only university for Deaf people, and reflects the interests and concerns of the assembled scholars.

There's lot's more. Read the whole review here ...

(h/t to Shelley Tremain over at What Sorts of People)