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Date of Award

9-1998

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Anthropology

Supervisor

Edward Glanville

Language

English

Abstract

For the first time the equivalent of Blind sight has been demonstrated in the deaf This phenomenon of 'deaf hearing' was observed in a proportion of profoundly deaf 18-22 year olds. The implications for deaf education are discussed.

Appreciating a confluence of factors including biology, the cultural construction of knowledge, and relations of power facilitates an understanding of how hearing society's impressions of the deaf affect their education. Deaf culture, although believed to be constructed by the deaf, may be sub served by hearing society's misconceptions of deaf capabilities. Deaf acceptance of their disability (possibly a form of complacency) in the form of a distinct culture, is justified in the literature as appropriate adaptation to illness. The present research suggests that those deaf educated with some oral/aural instruction, contra mainstream society's and Deaf culture's beliefs, are better adapted to meet their expressed needs, reaching higher educational standards in reading/comprehension versus those educated with sign language only. Anatomical considerations of subcortical processing in some deaf individuals may aid in providing insight concerning deaf capability. It is suggested that Deaf cultural postulates should come to include other 'natural' communication and educational modalities, other than American Sign Language (ASL) alone. Multi-disciplinary considerations counter the position that anthropologists should be wary of causal analysis, and concentrate only on meaning and interpretation.

McMaster University Library

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