The best books about deaf culture

The Books I Picked & Why

Inside Deaf Culture

By Carol Padden, Tom Humphries

Inside Deaf Culture

Why this book?

This book looks at the history of hearing people’s attitudes toward deaf people and sign languages in America over the past two centuries, and how those attitudes and the social institutions that stem from them have affected the ways deaf people see themselves. Despite the suppression of their language, deaf signers managed to keep American Sign Language alive through clubs and theater. Today, sign languages have achieved recognition of their full status as natural human languages.


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Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood

By Paddy Ladd

Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood

Why this book?

This book gives the British side of things, focusing on the division between viewing deafness as a medical condition (a deficiency) and viewing it as a cultural condition (which leads to the birth of sign languages).  This book asks what a culture is, truly, and shows how cultures grow up around deaf signing communities.


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Deaf Culture: Exploring Deaf Communities in the United States

By Irene Leigh, Jean Andrews, Raychelle Harris, Topher Gonzáles Ávila

Deaf Culture: Exploring Deaf Communities in the United States

Why this book?

The authors explore the complexity of deaf identities, looking at race, sexual behavior/orientation, disability, and the range of different experiences deaf people have, from being born into a family that signs to not even learning about sign languages until they are (nearly) adults.


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Fighting in the Shadows: Untold Stories of Deaf People in the Civil War

By Harry G. Lang

Fighting in the Shadows: Untold Stories of Deaf People in the Civil War

Why this book?

Deaf people served as soldiers, nurses, cooks, even spies during the American Civil War. This book celebrates their bravery and how they applied their skills to fight for what they believed in.


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The Deaf Way II Anthology: A Literary Collection by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Writers

By Tonya M. Stremlau

The Deaf Way II Anthology: A Literary Collection by Deaf and Hard of Hearing Writers

Why this book?

This has poetry, essays, short stories, and a play, all by internationally acclaimed deaf writers.  These give you a starting point. From there, you need to take a sign language course and start watching videos of deaf poems, stories, and jokes. What a grand world of wonder awaits you!


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