Areas of Study


A critical mass of deaf people in urban settings forms a unique cultural and linguistic environment. For example, hundreds of deaf people, mostly Jewish and Italian first-generation Americans, lived within a one-mile radius of the Gravesend section of Brooklyn, N.Y., in the 1950s, 60s, and 70s.

A designated bus to transport children to the nearest school for deaf students in Manhattan served the community. Deaf people lived in concentrated areas that were affordable, close to jobs, and offered an interwoven community.

Very little documentation has been conducted on urban deaf life, with minimal “oral history” interviews on the mid-20th-century city experience. Over 80 people have been identified as potential interviewees, and the SDDC has formed a team of advisors to guide research.

Comparison and contrast with hearing communities is part of this humanities research that examines the way groups wrestle with linguistic, educational, and employment challenges.

Challenge Grant Awarded for Deaf NYC Story Gallaudet’s newly renamed Drs. John S. & Betty J. Schuchman Deaf Documentary Center (formerly the Center for Deaf Documentary Studies) is delighted to announce that it has been awarded a major challenge grant. To read more, click here.

The Deaf NYC project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities and ZVRS.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this Deaf NYC project: ZH-252962 do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.


Contact Us

Deaf NYC

Poorna Kushalnagar, Ph.D., Chief Research Officer

Hall Memorial Building S242

(202) 651-5085

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