9780226039640

Forbidden Signs: American Culture and the Campaign Against Sign Language, 1847-1920

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780226039640

  • ISBN10:

    0226039641

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1998-06-22
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
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Summary

Forbidden Signsexplores 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 ensuing 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 found 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. "Baynton's brilliant and detailed history,Forbidden Signs, reminds us that debates over the use of dialects or languages are really the linguistic tip of a mostly submerged argument about power, social control, nationalism, who has the right to speak and who has the right to control modes of speech."--Lennard J. Davis,The Nation "Forbidden Signsis replete with good things."--Hugh Kenner,New York Times Book Review

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction
Foreigners in Their Own Land: Community
Savages and Deaf Mutes: Species and Race
Without Voices: Gender
From Refinement to Efficiency: Culture
The Natural Language of Signs: Nature
The Unnatural Language of Signs: Normality
Epilogue: The Trap of Paternalism
Notes
Index
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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