Forbidden signs [electronic resource] : American culture and the campaign against sign language / Douglas C. Baynton.
By: Baynton, Douglas C.Material type: TextPublisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1996Description: 1 online resource (xi, 228 p.) : ill.ISBN: 9780226039688 (electronic bk.); 0226039684 (electronic bk.).Subject(s): Deaf -- Means of communication -- United States -- History | Sign language -- Study and teaching -- United States -- History | Deaf -- United States -- Social conditions | LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES -- Sign Language | Gebarentaal | Doven | Verboden | Gebärdensprache | American sign language | USAGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: Forbidden signs.DDC classification: 419 LOC classification: HV2471 | .B39 1996ebOnline resources: EBSCOhost
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Includes bibliographical references (p. 164-215) and index.
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.
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 metaphors and images used to describe the deaf - outsiders; beings of silence, innocence, and mystery; users of a language alternately seen as ancient and noble or primitive and animal-like - offer a unique perspective for examining American thought and culture.
The 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 finds 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. Ending with a discussion of recent changes in the images of deafness and sign language and a critique of the current state of deaf education, Forbidden Signs will benefit historians and those interested in the study of gesture and human movement, disability, sign language, and the American deaf community.
Description based on print version record.
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