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The Circle of Knowledge: Radical Commensurability and the Deaf Textbook

  • Hansun HsiungEmail author
Chapter
Part of the New Directions in Book History book series (NDBH)

Abstract

From England through China and into Japan, Hsiung’s chapter traces the peregrinations of a textbook for the deaf – the Circle of Knowledge – in order to understand the logic of global genres. In particular, Hsiung contends that the study of such genres must move beyond models of global book history that give precedence to empire as a motor of textual circulation. To this end, the chapter develops a concept of ‘radical commensurability’ to describe both the Circle’s educational method, and its ability to resonate unexpectedly with transnational audiences, linking ideas of deafness to missionary theories of translation and the development of non-Western science. Ultimately, the chapter concludes with the ironic suggestion that textbooks become global only insofar as their pedagogical content fails to be universal.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department II (Ideals and Practices of Rationality)Max Planck Institute for the History of ScienceBerlinGermany

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