Areas of Study
MAY 02, 2019

Author: Andrew Greenman

Pictured, from left: Dr. Brian Greenwald, President Roberta J. Cordano, Harry G. Lang, and Provost Carol Erting. Photo by Zhee Chatmon.

Pictured, from left: Dr. Brian Greenwald, President Roberta J. Cordano, Harry G. Lang, and Provost Carol Erting. Photo by Zhee Chatmon.

Gallaudet University is pleased to announce that Dr. Harry G. Lang, H-’13, is the second recipient of the Dr. John S. and Dr. Betty J. Schuchman Deaf History Award. First established in 2014, this award is given every five years to recognize significant scholarship in the field of Deaf history. The inaugural award went to Deaf History International in April 2014.

Dr. Harry G. Lang grew up in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and became deaf when he was 15 years old. After graduating from the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, he went on to earn a B.S. degree in physics from Bethany College, an M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Rochester Institute of Technology, and a doctorate in science education from the University of Rochester. He is Professor Emeritus, National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology.

“Dr. Lang’s many years of research shows how Deaf people claimed agency while living and working within the larger context of United States history,” said Gallaudet University President Roberta J. Cordano. “His detailed analysis and insightful commentary has expanded our understanding of Deaf contributions, creativity, and perseverance.”

Lang has written dozens of book chapters and is the author or co-author of at least eight books: Silence of the Spheres: The Deaf Experience in the History of Science (1994), Deaf Persons in the Arts and Sciences: A Biographical Dictionary (1995), A Phone of Our Own: The Deaf Insurrection Against Ma Bell (2000), Educating Deaf Students: From Research to Practice (2002), Edmund Booth: Deaf Pioneer (2004), Teaching from the Heart and Soul: The Robert F. Panara Story (2007), Moments of Truth: Robert R. Davila, The Story of a Deaf Leader (2008), and most recently Fighting in the Shadows: Untold Stories of Deaf People in the Civil War.

Fighting in the Shadows: Untold Stories of Deaf People in the Civil War (Gallaudet University Press, 2017) chronicles the overlooked role of deaf people’s participation in America’s bloodiest war. Using extensive primary source material, Lang shows that some southern residential schools for deaf students participated in the war effort by printing Confederate dollars and assembling bullets. He details how Sherman’s March to the Sea impacted teachers and superintendents who left their teaching positions out of duty for the southern cause. The book chronicles the experiences of soldiers who became deaf during the war, and how deaf people used the pen to push political agendas. This book moves deaf people from the periphery of the Civil War and shows a more active role in the war than previously studied.

“Dr. Lang has enlightened us all with revealing research and an impressive list of publications. It is fitting that he receive the Dr. John S. and Dr. Betty J. Schuchman Deaf History Award,” stated Provost Carol J. Erting. “We congratulate Dr. Lang for excellence in the field of Deaf history and inspiring others to engage in significant historical scholarship.”

Dr. John S. Schuchman was a long-time faculty member, dean, and vice president at Gallaudet University. He passed away in 2017. He and his wife, Dr. Betty J. Schuchman, established the  Deaf History Award to encourage new research on the lives and experiences of deaf people and their communities. They also endowed a Deaf Documentary Center named in their honor at Gallaudet, which aims to educate students in the documentary arts, explore the lives of deaf people, and cultivate awareness of human diversity.

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