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Deaf Culture Research Guide   Tags: deaf, research guide  

This guide offers some resources and suggestions for researching deaf culture.
Last Updated: Sep 18, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

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Deaf Culture resources


Deaf culture has played an increasingly important role in helping to understand American Sign Language (ASL), as well as in giving insight as to how Deaf people interpret the world around them. Deaf culture has specific aspects, including history, values, jokes, language, education, rules, and social relations.

Remember, this pathfinder will not tell you about all of the materials the Library has about Deaf culture. You must do the basic research yourself. This pathfinder will guide you to the appropriate places to begin your search for information. If you need further assistance, please ask at the Reference Desk.


General encyclopedias, such as World book encyclopedia or Encyclopedia Americana, will have little or no information about Deaf culture. For introductory information about Deaf culture, check the following reference books:

Van Cleve, John, ed. Gallaudet encyclopedia of deaf people and deafness. New York: McGraw-Hill, 1987. (On reserve at the Circulation Desk.)

  • The article by Yerker Andersson, "Culture and subculture", Volume 1, pages 261-264, gives a definition of culture and how it applies to the concept of Deaf culture. Use the index in Volume 3 to find related articles under the following headings:
    • Deaf community
    • Deaf population
    • Education
    • Folklore
    • History

Gannon, Jack. Deaf heritage: a narrative history of deaf America. Silver Spring, Md.: National Association of the Deaf, 1981. (On reserve at the Circulation Desk.)

  • This book is about American Deaf culture as a whole. Suggestions for starting places are: Information about schools in Chapter 1, pages 1-58; examples of humor and folklore in Chapter 8, pages 203-210; general history and important concerns in Chapter 12, pages 255-270.
* * * * * * * * * *
Prepared by Patrick Oberholtzer
Reference and Instruction Librarian
October 1995
Revised by Tom Harrington
Reference and Instruction Librarian
October 2001

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