Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education, 2018, 185 doi:10.1093/deafed/enx054 Advance Access publication March 5, 2018 Book Review BOOK REVIEW Friedner, M. and Kusters, A. (Eds). (2015). It’s A Small World: International Deaf Spaces and Encounters. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press. $70.00, hardback. The editors said it best. Michele Friedner and Annelies Kusters, us to pivot from traditional narratives to consider intersectional the editors of It’s A Small World: International Deaf Spaces and and contextualized realities of deaf lives. For example, deaf lives Encounters, characterized the collection of chapters as a “needed are not governed solely by or always dominated by deafness but intervention into understanding how sameness and difference are also shaped by race, gender, disability, class, and the are powerful yet contested categories in deaf worlds” (p. xxvii). nation-state. In this vein, most of the chapters in this volume The goal of this book is to examine the ways deaf people experi- navigate the complexities of globalization, transnationalism, ence the notion of DEAF-SAME, or sameness based on a shared and dichotomies while critiquing the monolithism that has long plagued Deaf Studies where deafness erases other differ- deaf experience, while negotiating differences based on contex- tual realities such as race, gender, class, geography, and mobility. ences among deaf people. Friedner and Kusters argue that the framing concepts of Deaf The book disappoints by ending with Ladd’schapter. Laddre- culture and identity have become problematic ideologies because trenches his assertion of the universalism of deafhood despite they suggest a false sense of deaf universalism. They propose situ- critiques of his earlier work. The beginning of his chapter sug- ating deaf lives in the context of lived reality. In this spirit, 23 chap- gests he heeded the critiques of his use of colonial frameworks, ters, organized into ﬁve parts, Gatherings, Language, Projects, which were problematic for those whose histories and contempo- Networks, and Visions, overlapping at times, interrogate the term rary realities are governed by postcolonial realities. However, the DEAF-SAME, as they consider multiple axes of identity in localized chapter ends as a stout defense of the colonial framework for the and globalized contexts This work joins the recent wave of scho- deaf experience, reminding us of the deep entrenchment of deaf lars challenging earlier claims of Deaf Studies scholarship about universalism. Ladd’s chapter reinforces the editors’ proposal in deaf similitude. The volume attempts to resist dichotomies, chal- the introduction to use the volume as a beginning, not the end, of lenge monolithism, and question one-dimensional frameworks of an interrogation of framing concepts in the Deaf Studies ﬁeld. deaf ways of being. Friedner and Kusters put together a smart interdisciplinary anthology useful for any undergraduate or graduate course on Deaf Contributions come from deaf and nondeaf academics across multiple disciplines and activists. A shortcoming, Studies. Beyond Deaf Studies, this book has relevance across disci- acknowledged by the editors, is the prevalence of authors from plines exploring questions of transnationalism, internationalism, Europe and the United States despite the centrality of the rela- globalization, circulation, and testing the meaning of boundaries, tionship between the global North, countries with control of re- identities, and contexts. Despite its shortcomings, which the editors sources, and the global South, countries that have less control acknowledge in their introduction, It’s a Small World is a welcome of resources. The authors make a concerted effort to be mindful paradigm shift with the promise to serve as a springboard for fur- of their positionality, underscoring the editors’ commitment to ther inquiry on how people transcend, challenge, and redeﬁne ethics and contextualized understanding in recognition of the boundaries. myth of deaf universalism. To reﬂect the tension of sameness and difference in Deaf Note Studies, the volume closes with Chapters 22 and 23 as foils to each other. Chapter 22 is composed by four graduate students 1. The term deaf is used in recognition of the complexities and in response to their Deaf Studies program, taught through tradi- nuances of identities in the deaf sphere, which includes tional frameworks (or ideologies), which includes the notion of Deaf, DeafBlind, DeafDisabled, hard of hearing, late- deafhood deﬁned by Paddy Ladd. Chapter 23 is Ladd’s updated deafened, and people who claim identities as people with take on deafhood. The former chapter argues that universalism hearing loss but do not wish to claim cultural identities as is inadequate in describing the deaf experience whereas the lat- Deaf individuals. ter chapter insists upon universalism as the essence of the deaf experience. Ladd’s chapter represents earlier scholarship in Octavian E. Robinson Deaf Studies centered in whiteness, able-bodiedness/minded- National Technical Institute for the Deaf at the Rochester Institute of ness, masculinity, and U.S.-European values. Chapter 22 urges Technology © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Downloaded from https://academic.oup.com/jdsde/article-abstract/23/2/185/4921153 by Ed 'DeepDyve' Gillespie user on 16 March 2018
The Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education – Oxford University Press
Published: Apr 1, 2018
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