iOpen Your Eyes Deaf Studies Talkingi edited by H Dirksen L Bauman University

Iopen your eyes deaf studies talkingi edited by h

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placed in relief through the perspective of a Deaf anthropologist for its difference. <i>Open Your Eyes : Deaf Studies Talking</i>, edited by H-Dirksen L. Bauman, University of Minnesota Press, 2007. ProQuest Ebook Central, . Created from washington on 2019-09-21 14:41:03. Copyright © 2007. University of Minnesota Press. All rights reserved.
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21 I N T R O D U C T I O N When read together, this section advances previously described notions of Deaf Cul- ture by delving into Deaf epistemological orientations as a formative element in com- munity affiliation, which adds new insights into the relations of sensory perception, embodiment, and cultural formation. 116 The following section, Language and Literacy, extends the previous section’s critique of dominant ideas regarding vision, community, and language. While Deaf Studies has long discussed language as the fundamental cultural marker, this section expands the discourse on language to examine the fundamental construction of language in the Western tradition, and therefore of literacy. In his chapter, “On the Disconstruction of (Sign) Language in the Western Tradition: A Deaf Reading of Plato’s Cratylus, ” Bauman critiques the disconstruction of language; that is, the notion that categories of language, being, nature, and human identity have been constructed within a fundamental over- sight: the inability to see language in all its modes. Bauman explores one of the West’s earliest and most influential oversights in Plato’s Cratylus, the only Socratic dialogue to focus on the question of names and language. When read through a Deaf Studies lens, the contradictions in the Cratylus become magnified and the implications on Western thought and the denigration of signed languages made explicit. If the encompassing category of language has been dis constructed, then the impli- cations ripple outward, touching all other aspects of language — including literature and literacy. While the implications of sign literature have been explored elsewhere, 117 the concept of literacy remains entrenched in the common wisdom of meaning “reading and writing.” In this volume, Marlon Kuntze calls for “portraying literacy in a radically new way.” Kuntze illustrates how the essentialized connection between writing and lit- eracy ignores the broader relation of language and cognition in the manual mode that produces characteristics of literate thought. Kuntze shows how studying ways that deaf children acquire the properties of literate thought provides a strong argument for reno- vating literacy’s basic definition. This call exemplifies what Frank Bechter calls for in Deaf Studies, “to penetrate contemporary discourse at its fundamentals, in both con- tent and form.” One of the diffi culties, however, of arguing for literacy in sign language is the pau- city of texts. Lawrence Fleischer’s “Critical Pedagogy and ASL Videobooks” addresses this problem through a case study of one project that sought to create hundreds of ASL texts for children to “read.” Through Fleischer’s argument, we see a case study of the he- gemony of English, even within attempts to create texts in ASL. Fleischer shares his cor-
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