American Deaf Culture: An Anthology Sherman Wilcox, editor Goals for the reading assignment



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American Deaf Culture: An Anthology


ASL 221

American Deaf Culture: An Anthology Sherman Wilcox, editor
Goals for the reading assignment:

  • To explore the Deaf community and Deaf culture

  • To examine one’s own perspectives of deafness and deaf people and to compare them with the views of the author and with your classmates

Assignment: I expect you to participate in the discussions and submit your answers to the questions. While some of the questions ask for information provided in the book, other questions ask you to provide your own opinions or perspectives about the content or episode that you will read. As you answer each question, I expect you to honestly consider your own perspectives and opinions about deafness.

Submitted answers: Please provide concise responses to all questions; consider your words carefully and get to your point. Answers must be typed —no longer than two to three sentences each. Answers are due on the day of the discussion. No late work will be accepted for any reason. If you are absent on the day of the discussion, you can submit your answers via email prior to the beginning of class for credit on the written portion of the assignment.

In-class discussions: During class, we will discuss the book, your responses, and any questions you might have. To receive credit for the in-class discussion, you need to be present and participate. If you are absent on the day of the discussion, you cannot receive in-class discussion credit.
Part 1: Vocabulary and Questions

Chapter 1 The Deaf Community and the Culture of Deaf People by Carol Padden

(pp 1-16)
Part 1 Directions: As you read through pages x – 18, jot down a definition for these terms as related to this book and deafness. Brevity is encouraged:



  • Meaning of culture

  • pathological view

  • cultural view

  • Deaf

  • deaf

  • Deaf community

  • Audiologically deaf

  • Hearing

  • William Stokoe




Part 2 Directions: After reading pages 1 – 16, Respond to the questions below and think about what it means? Be ready to share your thoughts and ideas during the discussion then submit your TYPED answers at the end of class.


  1. What is the difference between community and culture? (p 4)

  2. The author explained the difference between deaf community and Deaf culture. Briefly explain what is meant here and the difference?

  3. What are the cultural values of Deaf people? How is that similar/different from hearing people, Give at least three examples. (pp.8-11)

  4. What kind of conflict do recently assimilated Deaf experience?, give two examples.(p. 11)

  5. What does this quote, “sighted man in a country of the blind” refer to? Give at least two examples. (pp. 14-15)


Chapter 2: A Night of Living Terror” by Ben Bahan pp. 17-20


Directions:
After reading pages 1 – 16, Respond to the questions below and think about what it means? Be ready to share your thoughts and ideas during the discussion then submit your TYPED answers at the end of class via email.


  1. What is meant here when the author wrote about his first terror, “the kid was dressed like a hearing person.” p. 17

  2. Google Signing Exact English, S.E.E. II and give a brief description of this language. How did the author feel about this language and why?

  3. The author’s nightmares were on interpreters for the Deaf; President of Gallaudet University, & cochlear implants. Why these are considered scary for the writer?

  4. Why was his latest nightmare, the scariest of it all for him?

  5. How does this article affect you as a hearing student learning ASL?


Chapter 3: Inside the Deaf Community by Barbara Kannapell pp. 21-28
Directions: After reading pages 21-28, Respond to the questions below and think about what it means? Be ready to share your thoughts and ideas during the discussion then submit your TYPED answers at the end of class via email.


  1. What is meant by fragmentary information or one-way communication?

  2. What are the three explanations the author gave regarding this question, “What makes Deaf people feel at ease in communicating with each other?” pp 22-25

  3. How did the author explain how a deaf person becomes part of the Deaf community, is the ability to hear crucial? p 23-24.

  4. In her third explanation, the author listed three values, what are these and how does that contribute to Deaf people preferring to communicate with other Deaf people?

  5. What did the writer give as an example, a sign that denotes a Deaf person who thinks and/or acts like a hearing person? p.24

  6. What is meant by the quote, Deaf people experience “ASL supremacy” and/or identity choice? In your interaction with Deaf people, do you think this is still true today? p.26-27

  7. The author closed her article with this statement, “we need to respect ourselves as deaf persons and respect our language first before we can share what the deaf world means to us with other deaf and hearing people.” What is meant here and why did she state that?

  8. How does this statement make you feel as a student learning ASL?



Chapter 4: “Notes from a Seeing Person” by Ben Bahan p. 29-32


  1. What was the author’s argument about the problem with the word, deaf?

  2. What is meant by a “pathological view” of deafness? P. 30

  3. Did the writer view himself as a handicapped person who cannot hear? How does he prefer to be viewed as? Do you think other Deaf people share his viewpoint? p. 30-31

  4. What suggestions did the author propose and what did he use as comparisons? p. 31

  5. What word did the author suggest to define people who do not hear? What do you think of this term? p. 32


Chapter 5: “How Do You Dance Without Music” by Shanny Mow p. 33-44


  1. Why did the commentator state being called “Silent Sam” not correct?

  2. What is meant by the quote to Deaf people’s ability to dance is based on “vibrations of life”?

  3. Give three examples of everyday activities “Silent Sam” does and explain why these are also barriers? P. 34-39

  4. What were Sam’s objections to “Doctors doing research on the Deaf?” p. 39-40

  5. The book was written in the early 1970’s, since then, have there been any changes or improvements to the obstacles listed in the book in the Deaf community? If so, give two examples.


Chapter 6: “It’s Our World Too!” by Ben Bahan p. 45-48


  1. What was the author’s thoughts when people comment, “It is a hearing world”?

  2. What did you learn or gain from reading this article?

  3. What was meant here when the author said actually “it is a cockroach world!”


Chapter 7: “Dimensions of Difference: ASL and English Based Cultures”

by William C. Stokoe p. 49-59


  1. The author shared a “map of culture” postulating that abstractions can be defined. Give two examples from the map.

  2. Give two examples of cultural differences between American culture and another culture.

  3. It had been said that a majority of Americans are ethnocentric and we have been labeled by Europeans as “the ugly Americans”, what is meant by that label and the quote? Do you agree or disagree with the terminology?

  4. Give two examples of possible cross-cultural misunderstandings between hearing and Deaf cultures.

  5. Give two examples how in the pursuit of an invention to help a group of people eventually helped others. P. 54-55

  6. Give two examples of differences between Mainstream American culture and Deaf culture.


Chapter 8: “Our Future, Ourselves” by Ben Bahan p. 61-64


  1. Why was the author concerned about the future?

  2. Compare the issues from the article, which was written in the 1970’s, which issues facing the Deaf community still exist and are there any new concerns?

  3. What services that directly impact the Deaf and Hard of Hearing are available in the Deaf community in Pierce County, and/or Washington State? (Check the internet: DeafWebWashington and/or Deaf Northwest News)

  4. Who is Steven Nover and why did the author use him as an example? (use Google)

  5. Did the author believe the Deaf community should focus on our own issues only or also the issues facing the world now? Give two examples happening in American and/or the world we should be concerned about?


Chapter 9: “ Funny in Deaf-Not in Hearing” by Susan Rutherford p. 65-81


  1. In any culture, there are different kinds of humor, what kind of humor is, “PLEASE BUT?”

  2. Compare and contrast the kind of joke between the “PLEASE BUT” with the joke below:

There was a signing King Kong who crashed through a town. Because he was huge and clumsy, he kept stepping and crushing cars, toppling buildings etc. People were running and scattered away in terror when they saw him. King Kong saw a beautiful shapely blonde. He grabbed at her. The blonde was terrified and cowered in fear. With the blonde on the palm of his hand, King Kong signed, “Oh you are so beautiful. I want to marry you! ” Oh no, no more beautiful girl!

  1. To understand a culture, we must understand their humor. What other “Deaf jokes” have you heard that you thought was funny now that you know ASL but did not before learning the language. Give an example of one and the implication of that joke. If you do not know of any, use google.


Chapter 10: “What If…Alexander Graham Bell Had Gotten His Way?”

by Ben Bahan p.83-87


  1. Is this information new to you? What are your thoughts about it?

  2. Is there a concern about this move to eradicate Deaf people, dwindling enrollment and closure of Deaf residential schools, and/or Deaf clubs? What solutions do you propose?

  3. This article was written in the 1970’s, do you believe there is some truth to the author’s concerns now?


Chapter 11: “TRAIN-GONE-SORRY: The Etiquette of Social Conversations in ASL” by Stephanie Hall p. 89-102


  1. This article discusses in length Deaf etiquette in social conversations, give at least three examples from your reading.

  2. What does the title of the article, “TRAIN-GONE-SORRY” mean?

  3. Have you noticed any of the etiquette examples in your interactions with Deaf people?, what are these?

  4. MAC is considered an individualistic culture while DAC is considered a collectivist culture, give at least two examples of DAC’s collectivist mindset.

  5. As a student of ASL, why and how important is it to understand the rules of etiquette?


Chapter 12: “The Deaf Child as a Linguistic Minority” by Veda R. Charrow

& Ronnie Bring Wilbur p. 103-115


  1. From your reading, what were the stated reasons Deaf children struggle to attain the same educational achievements as their hearing peers?

  2. What educational recommendations did the authors propose? Do you agree with it?

  3. What do you think is occurring in education for Deaf students in Washington State?

  4. Are you satisfied with the current educational standards for Deaf students, what solutions if any do you propose?






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