Dr. Joseph C. Hill, G-’04 & PhD ’11, has been named the second director of the Center for Black Deaf Studies, following the retirement of founding director Dr. Carolyn D. McCaskill, ’77, G-’79, & PhD ’05.  

Dr. Hill was previously an Associate Professor in the Department of American Sign Language and Interpreting Education, Associate Director of the Center on Culture and Language, and Assistant Dean for Faculty Recruitment and Retention at the National Technical Institute for the Deaf at Rochester Institute of Technology. 

A person with short black hair, glasses, is wearing a black shirt with a light blue button down shirt over it. The person is looking at camera, smiling.
Dr. Joseph C. Hill, G-’04 & PhD ’11

Dr. Hill was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, to a family of deaf and hard of hearing siblings, a hard of hearing mother, and a hearing father. Like his siblings, he, as a deaf student, was placed in both a self-contained classroom and a mainstream setting within the Cincinnati public school system. In 2001, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in systems analysis from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He studied linguistics at 91 and earned his master’s and doctoral degrees in linguistics in 2004 and 2011, respectively.  

His research interests are the sociohistorical and sociolinguistic aspects of Black American Sign Language and the American Deaf community’s attitudes and ideologies about existing signing varieties. His research has been published by 91 Press and includes The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL: Its History and Structure (2011) which he co-authored with Carolyn McCaskill, Ceil Lucas, and Robert Bayley. and Language Attitudes in the American Deaf Community (2012). He was also one of the associate producers for the documentary Signing Black in America (2020) produced by the Language and Life Project at North Carolina State University.  

In addition to his linguistic background, Dr. Hill has been a faculty member of ASL and interpreting education at two different universities, the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Rochester Institute of Technology. He has co-authored and published two book chapters on interpreting with 91 Press: “The Heart of Interpreting from Deaf Perspectives” in Deaf Eyes on Interpreting (2018), edited by Thomas K. Holcomb, ’80 and David H. Smith, and “Infusing Social Justice in Interpreting Education in Signed Language Interpreting Pedagogy: Insights and Innovations from the Conference of Interpreter Trainers (2022).  

Center for Black Deaf Studies Office

As a scholar with different academic interests, Dr. Hill naturally fits into the interdisciplinary nature of Deaf Studies. He plans to emphasize the intersectional framework of Black Deaf experiences across multiple domains. As CBDS director, he envisions expansion of a research program to produce more scholarly and mainstream publications, an implementation of a pipeline of Black Deaf scholars, and a cross-disciplinary collaboration with internal and external institutional partners to expand the academic network with similar interests. 

Dr. Hill recognizes the historical importance of the Center for Black Deaf Studies, which he feels is beyond the wildest dreams of his Black Deaf ancestors and contemporaries. He sees it as his solemn duty to elevate the center as a culturally safe space for the Gallaudet community and beyond to be their authentic selves and to learn from one another. 

Dr. Hill will assume his new role in August. We look forward to welcoming him! 

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