Professor Plann’s earliest research was in field of Spanish linguistics and generative grammar. Her interest in language and linguistics led to investigation of the history of the Spanish Deaf community; her publications in this area form part of a growing body of work on Disability Studies, Cultural Studies, and Marginality. Deaf people have been virtually ignored by traditional historians, their history, like that of women, gays, and many other minorities, deemed unworthy of consideration. But with the realization that Deaf communities have a language and a culture of their own has come a new interest in their history. Prof. Plann’s work, the first in-depth examination of the history of Deaf people in Spain, complements existing studies of Deaf communities in other nations and provides a more complete vision of Deaf History, underscoring Spain’s unique contributions to.
Professor Plann’s research activities dovetail with her teaching interests; her work with the Latino community of Los Angeles, including undocumented Latino youth; and her passion for service learning.
Professor Plann is at present writing an oral history of Moroccan youth who migrated to Spain as unaccompanied minors. Child migration, a recent and little-studied phenomenon, is on the rise the world over, and Prof. Plann’s research sheds new light on this little-researched subject. Focusing on issues of language, identity, integration, and assimilation, she documents the stories of Moroccan youth who went to Spain when they were between the ages of 9-17, crossing the Strait of Gibraltar in rickety boats, rafts, or inner tubes or as stowaways on ships bound from Morocco to Spain. Related research interests include the Arabic/Berber speaking population of Spain and the status of their respective languages in that country.
- A Silent Minority
- Deaf Education in Spain, 1550-1835
- University of California Press, 1997
- “Arabic: another ‘other Spanish language’?” in International Journal of Multilingualism 2009, 6:4, pp. 369-385.
- The Spanish National Deaf School: Portraits from the Nineteenth Century, Washington D.C.: Gallaudet University Press 2007.
- “’Bad Things’: Child Abuse and the Nineteenth-Century Spanish National School for the Deaf and Blind,” in Sign Language Studies 8:2, winter 2007, pp. 181-210.