Areas of Study

Why Black Deaf Studies Matters:
A Defining Moment

  • March 29-April 2, 2023

  • Gallaudet University, Washington, D.C.

The Center for Black Deaf Studies (CBDS) is pleased to host the first-ever symposium intended to introduce the emerging field of Black Deaf Studies. This symposium will also introduce an emerging cadre of Black Deaf scholars and offer scholars in Black Studies and Deaf Studies the opportunity to examine the spaces Black Deaf Studies will occupy within these established disciplines.

Join us for what is sure to be a captivating experience

The theme of this symposium is “Why Black Deaf Studies Matters: A Defining Moment.” Discussions in the form of speakers and panels will interrogate the various aspects of this emerging discipline, such as education, language, history and the arts.

  • Black Studies scholars will use a Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) lens to address the urgency for scholars to engage in the scholarly study of Black Deaf people to further advance the knowledge base of the field.

    Deaf white scholars in the field of Deaf Studies to discuss the challenges that historically kept Black Deaf people on the fringes of academia.

It is expected that this symposium will ultimately stimulate increased academic curiosity in the lived experiences, culture and the Black Deaf Way of being throughout the African Diaspora and the Motherland.

Register before January 31, 2023 for the early bird rate

Our themes and speakers

Perspectives from Deaf Studies and Black/Africana Studies

Dr. Glenn Anderson

University of Arkansas at Little Rock

Dr. Tom Humphries

University of California at San Diego

Dr. Michael Ralph

Howard University

Dr. Ben Bahan

Gallaudet University

Dr. Sandra Jowers

University of the District of Columbia Community College

Why Black American Sign Language Matters

Dr. Joseph Hill


Dr. Laurene Simms

Gallaudet University

Dr. Rezenet Moges

University of California at Long Beach

Dr. Carolyn McCaskill

Gallaudet University

Why Black Deaf Studies Matters: Global Perspectives

Dr. Jenelle Rouse


Dr. Sam Lutalo Kiingi


Lydia Mendes


Nia Lazarus


Why Black Deaf Studies Matters in Deaf Education

Akilah English

University of Maryland

Glennis Matthews

Supt Learning Center for the Deaf

Dr. Gloshanda Lawyer

University of Tennessee

Andrea Sonnier Babin

Critical Consciousness School, Founder


Paragons of Black Deaf Resilience

Hosted by Ms. Kristi Merriweather


Wednesday, March 29, 2023

6 – 8 p.m.
Welcome Reception, sponsored by Gallaudet University

Kellogg Conference Hotel
Ballroom | First floor lobby and terrace

Wine, cheese and hors d’oeuvres

Thursday, March 30, 2023

7:30 – 8:45 a.m.
Welcome and Greetings | Continental Breakfast

Swindell Auditorium

Click below to view the schedule

9:00 a.m. | Dr. Glenn Anderson

9:30 a.m. | Dr. Tom Humphries

10:00 a.m. | Dr. Michael Ralph

11:00 a.m. | Break

11:10 a.m. | Panel Discussion | Moderated by Dr. Elizabeth Moore

  • Dr. Glenn Anderson
  • Dr. Tom Humphries
  • Dr. Michael Ralph

Noon - 1:30 p.m. | Luncheon

1:30 p.m. | Dr. Joseph Hill

2:00 p.m. | Dr. Rezenet Morges

2:30 p.m. | Dr. Laurene Simms

3:00 p.m. | Dr. Carolyn McCaskill

3:30 p.m. | Break

3:40 p.m. | Panel Discussion | Moderated by Mary Perrodin Singh

  • Dr. Joseph Hill
  • Dr. Laurene Simms 
  • Dr. Rezenet Morges 
  • Dr. Carolyn McCaskill

4:00 – 4:30 p.m.

5:00 – 6:45 p.m.
Black Deaf Greatness Happy Hour

Peikoff Alumni House (“Ole Jim”)

7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
Paragons of Black Deaf Resilience

Hosted by Ms. Kristi Merriweather
Swindell Auditorium

Friday, March 31, 2023

7:30 – 8:45 a.m.
Welcome and Greetings

Swindell Auditorium
Continental Breakfast
Marketplace SAC

Click below to view the schedule

9:00 a.m. | Dr. Jenelle Rouse - Canada

9:30 a.m. | Nia Lazarus - Uganda

10:00 a.m. | Lydia Gratis - Ireland

10:30 a.m. | Dr. Sam Lutalo Kiingi - Germany

11 a.m. | Break

11:10 a.m. | Panel Discussion | Moderated by Lindsay Dunn

  • Dr. Jenelle Rouse - Canada
  • Nia Lazarus - Uganda
  • Lydia Gratis - Ireland
  • Dr. Sam Lutalo Kiingi - Germany

Noon -- Lunch with Distinguished Senator Umar Tanko Al-Makura (Nigeria) and Honorable James Lalu (Nigeria)

1:30 p.m. | Akilah English Head

2:00 p.m. | Glennis Matthews

2:30 p.m. | Andrea Sonnier

3:00 p.m. | Dr. Gloshanda Lawyer

3:30 p.m. | Break

3:40 p.m. | Panel Discussion | Moderated by Reginald Bess

  • Akilah English Head
  • Glennis Matthews
  • Andrea Sonnier
  • Dr. Gloshanda Lawyer

4:00 p.m.

Dr. Carolyn McCaskill

6:00 p.m.
Entertainment by Visionaries of the Creative Arts (VOCA)

Swindell Auditorium | Michelle Banks
Ticket purchase required to attend the event
Purchase Tickets Here

Saturday, April 1, 2023

9:00 – 11:00 a.m.
Symposium wrap-up

Swindell Auditorium

11:00 a.m.
Smithsonian National Museum of African-American History and Culture

6:00 p.m.
Center for Black Deaf Studies Gala

Kellogg Conference Hotel Ballroom

Sunday, April 2, 2023

12:00 p.m.
Check Out

Vendor Booth


Contact Us

Black Deaf Studies Symposium

Nicole Bradford

Hall Memorial Building S400


(202) 651-5000

** By Appointment Only **
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