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August 2016 Vol. 53 No. 12

Gallaudet University Press


The following review appeared in the August 2016 issue of CHOICE:

Social & Behavioral Sciences
53-5293
HV2380
2015-26307 CIP
It's a small world: international deaf spaces and encounters, ed. by Michele Friedner and Annelies Kusters. Gallaudet, 2015. 306p bibl index afp ISBN 9781563686528, $70.00; ISBN 9781563686535 ebook, $70.00.

In this thought-provoking collection of essays, contributing scholars analyze enduring questions of sameness and difference between non-hearing and hearing communities.  By examining the concept of DEAF-SAME, they capture the book's central trope of “it’s a small world”—the idea that “there is sameness across difference.”  The book's 23 chapters are organized into five sections—"Gatherings,"  "Language," "Projects," "Networks," "Visions."  These essays illustrate how deaf worlds are “created, enacted, and experienced” through the lenses of differing national boundaries, historical periods, and languages.  One of the book’s greatest strengths is its juxtaposition of local events with global diasporas, which allows for discussion of the complexity and varied nature of deaf worlds.  With themes ranging from “small spaces” such as festivals and youth camps to the creation of global communities among individuals who identify as Deaf Jews, the volume succeeds in illuminating the significant role of the deaf in the global community while not overlooking the importance of fleeting experiences.  More discussion of the historical antecedents to many of these contemporary movements would have enriched the text, but overall this is a welcome addition to existing scholarship on deaf communities.

--H. Caldwell, Chestnut Hill College

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.