Since its start in the 1960s, Deaf Studies has been impacted by the political activism of Deaf communities, significant advancements in technologies and medicine, and broadened knowledge in interdisciplinary disciplines such as Deaf culture, signed languages and deaf bilingual education. Now a developed field of study at many colleges and universities, Deaf Studies is taking its place among other critical disciplines in the social sciences. Dedicated to the scholarship of Deaf people and Deaf communities worldwide, SAGE today announces the launch of The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia. With 350 entries, the three-volume set applies a Deaf-centric perspective on a range of multidisciplinary academic fields and combines research with political and cultural inquiry.
Editors Dr. Genie Gertz and Dr. Patrick Boudreault of Gallaudet University commented, "This new encyclopedia shifts focus away from the medical model that has viewed deaf individuals as needing to be remedied in order to correct so-called hearing and speaking deficiencies for the sole purpose of assimilation into mainstream society. The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia endeavors to carve out a critical perspective on Deaf Studies with a focus on the Deaf as members of a distinct cultural and linguistic group defined by a unique and vibrant history, community and way of being."
Entries in The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia cover a diverse array of topics including education, psychology, linguistics, law, art/media, diversity, religion, and more. Specifically, the reference work aims to
- chronicle the exponential growth in the life-quality of Deaf individuals,
- document the history and stories of Deaf lives that are instrumental to furthering the advancement of Deaf people today,
- clearly document the myriad of ways in which the Deaf experience is enhanced by the scholarship of Deaf Studies and
- locate Deaf Studies as a key field within the broader formalized field of minority studies.
Supplementing the entries is a section on the history of Deaf Studies, which transitioned from grassroots activism in the Deaf community to the development of an established theoretical framework. Another section highlights revolutionary milestones in Deaf communities, such as the 'Deaf President Now!' protest at Gallaudet University in 1988, where students demanded that the Deaf-serving university appoint its first Deaf president and the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA) in 2010, which was designed to ensure that persons with disabilities had access to new and emerging communication technologies.
"The time has come for a compendium of knowledge pertaining exclusively to the scholarship of Deaf people, and we are immensely humbled by the wide range of scholarly contributions and interests from colleagues around the world," the editors commented. "Let us allow the scholarship of Deaf Studies to navigate us through 21st century and beyond and to continue growing an appreciation for and awareness of what it means to be Deaf and, most importantly, to be human."