The term Deafhood was first coined by Paddy Ladd in 1993, and was developed in greater conceptual depth in Ladd’s 2003 book, Understanding Deaf Culture—In Search of Deafhood. The text and the concept itself have since spread rapidly around the world, aided by translations into Japanese, German, Spanish, Portuguese, and American Sign Language. It is now a set text in numerous Deaf Studies courses and used in a master’s degree in Deafhood Studies, established at the Centre for Deaf Studies at the University of Bristol.

Two features underpin the initial development of the term. The first was the need expressed by Deaf communities (hereafter Sign Language Peoples or SLPs) for a more positive term that would accurately reflect the nature of their collective existence. This could ...

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