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Deaf World: A Historical Reader and Primary Sourcebookby Lois Bragg
Synopses & Reviews
In a world increasingly beset by ethnocultural conflicts, the pursuit of cultural rights has taken on new urgency. Claims for cultural justice affect economic distribution as much as they do address demands for recognition from marginalized groups. It is this vital connection between economic life and cultural expression that Andrew Ross, one of our preeminent social critics, explores in Real Love. From the consequences of cyberspace for work and play to the uses and abuses of genetics in the O.J. trial, from world scarcity to world music, Ross interrogates the cultural forms through which economic forces take their daily toll upon our labor, communities, and environment.
In its relentless pursuit of cultural justice - an ideal comprised, in part, of doing justice to culture, pursuing justice through cultural means, and seeking justice for cultural claims - Real Love continues and expands the main concern of Ross's thought, namely the demonstration that, through rigorous research, the cultural critic can elucidate the complexity of everyday life. But even more than in his earlier work, Ross here examines the effects of debates about race, technology, ecology, and the arts on social and legal change. In particular, he focuses on how demands for certain forms of cultural justice often go hand in hand with injustices of other sorts and at other levels of social existence.
Through close attention to the concrete details of daily life, strong argumentation, and a marvelous sense of the anecdotal, Ross shows why cultural politics are a real and inescapable part of any advocacy for social change.
Book News Annotation:
Bragg (English, Gallaudet U.) has collected a selection of sources including political writings and personal memoirs covering topics such as eugenics, speech and lip-reading, the right to work, and the controversy over separation or integration. This book offers a glimpse into an often overlooked but significant minority in American culture, and one which many of the articles asserts is more like an internal colony than simply a minority group.
Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
To many who hear, the deaf world is as foreign as a country never visited.
Deaf World thus concerns itself less with the perspectives of the hearing and more with what Deaf people themselves think and do. Editor Lois Bragg asserts that English is for many signing people a second, infrequently used language and that Deaf culture is the socially transmitted pattern of behavior, values, beliefs, and expression of those who use American Sign Language. She has assembled an astonishing array of historical sources, political writings, and personal memoirs, from classic 19th-century manifestos to contemporary policy papers, on everything from eugenics to speech and lipreading, the right to work and marry, and the never-ending controversy over separation vs. social integration. At the heart of many of the selections lies the belief that Deaf Americans have long constituted an internal colony of sorts in the United States.
While not attempting to speak for Deaf people en masse, this ambitious platform anthology places the Deaf on center stage, offering them an opportunity to represent the world--theirs as well as the hearing world--from a Deaf perspective. For Deaf readers, the book will be welcomed as a gift, both a companion to be savored and, as often, an opponent to be engaged and debated. And for the hearing, it serves as an unprecedented guide to a world and a culture so often overlooked.
Comprising a judicious mix of published pieces and original essays solicited specifically for this volume, Deaf World marks a major contribution.
About the Author
Lois Bragg is Professor of English at Gallaudet University.
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