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Increasing awareness of the Deaf experience: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia

November 4, 2015

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.”

For more information, click here.  A FREE 30-day online trial of SAGE Knowledge, including The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia, is available by emailing

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The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia

January 2015                                    1,176 pages

ISBN: 978-1-4522-5956-7                 Print Price: $495.00


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Genie Gertz is the Dean of Gallaudet University College of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Gertz organizes social, educational, and cultural programs to promote interactions between Deaf Studies majors and members of the Greater Los Angeles Deaf community. Her current research focuses on exploring the social, cultural, linguistic and educational features that cause to weaken Deaf individuals’ development of Deaf consciousness and identity. Born deaf, she is fluent in Russian Sign Language, American Sign Language, Russian, and English.

Patrick Boudreault is an assistant professor at Gallaudet University. He was awarded a grant from the National Cancer Institute, where he founded the Deaf Genetics Project ( Dr. Boudreault also formed a sign language consulting and interpreting service to promote bilingual translating services. He is a native signer of Langue des Signes Québécoise and American Sign Language, and is fluent in written French and English.

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SAGE Founded 50 years ago by Sara Miller McCune to support the dissemination of usable knowledge and educate a global community, SAGE publishes more than 850 journals and over 800 new books each year, spanning a wide range of subject areas. A growing selection of library products includes archives, data and video. SAGE remains majority owned by our founder and after her lifetime will become owned by a charitable trust that secures the company’s continued independence. Principal offices are located in Los Angeles, London, New Delhi, Singapore and Washington DC.



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