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Deaf History: 1300–1800

  • By: Agnes Villwock
  • In: The SAGE Deaf Studies Encyclopedia
  • Edited by: Genie Gertz & Patrick Boudreault
  • Subject:Physical Disabilities, Otorhinolaryngology (Ears, Nose, & Throat)

For centuries monasteries have played a fundamental role in European culture. They have also been a very important—and sometimes the only—source of education and science. There are remarkable examples of Deaf education in Western Europe. Some deaf children—in particular those from wealthy and aristocratic families—were sent to Christian congregations to receive a good education. In some cases, deaf adults became members of a Christian order and spent their whole lives in monasteries.

During the Middle Ages, the common belief was that deaf people could not be educated. In a time where there was no general education system or obligatory school attendance in Europe, deaf children did not receive any special educational training. Moreover, the jurisdiction divided deaf people in two groups: Those who were born deaf ...

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