Center Papers

Deaf Epistemology: Deafhood And Deafness

Hauser, P.C., O' Hearn, A., Mckee, M., Steider, A., & Thew, D. (2011). Deaf epistemology: Deafhood and deafness. American Annals of the Deaf, 154(5), 486-492.

Deaf epistemology constitutes the nature and extent of the knowledge that deaf individuals acquire growing up in a society that relies primarily on audition to navigate life. Deafness creates beings who are more visually oriented compared to their auditorily oriented peers. How hearing individuals interact with deaf individuals shapes how deaf individuals acquire knowledge and how they learn. Aspects of the Deaf episteme, not caused by deafness but by Deafhood, have a positive impact on how deaf individuals learn, resist audism, stay healthy, and navigate the world. Research on psychology, health, and education are reviewed to illustrate how visually oriented beings think and view the world differently from the majority. The article provides support to the theory of multiple epistemologies, and has implications for families, teachers, and researchers.