Emancipation Processes in the Ugandan Deaf Community
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Book release: Deaf epistemologies, identity, and learning

In this pioneering volume, Dr De Clerck presents an unprecedented array of cross-cultural comparative research that documents where deaf flourishing occurs and how it can be advanced, by critically applying an empowerment paradigm to real-life scenarios whilst examining identity and wellbeing through a unique interdisciplinary lens.

Deaf epistemologies, identity, and learning: A comparative perspective argues for an inclusive approach to human diversity in society, education, and scholarship, and shows how emotions of hope, frustration, and humiliation work together to construct our identities and communities. Dr De Clerck also considers global-local dynamics in deaf identity, deaf culture, deaf education, and deaf empowerment, and her empirical research is explained through case studies of deaf emancipation in Flanders, Cameroon, and Uganda, and at Gallaudet University. These varied settings illuminate different phases of emancipation. The findings are integrated with literature and theoretical reflections, drawing especially on the sociocultural approach of Lev Vygotsky, which forms a thread throughout the book and informs its conceptualisation of deaf signers’ identity dynamics, learning processes, and blossoming.

The book also describes previously undocumented practices of signed storytelling as it imparts the notion that learning is the primary pathway to culture, identity, values, and change. Dr De Clerck reveals how awakening is a change in the learning process through which the deaf community can gain hope, empowerment, and full citizenship. In this way, deaf people are allowed to shape their histories, and the result is the elevation of all aspects of deaf lives around the world.

De Clerck, G. (2016). Deaf epistemologies, identity, and learning: A comparative perspective. Washington, DC: Gallaudet University Press.