Tom L. Humphries

Last updated
Tom L. Humphries
CitizenshipUnited States

Tom L. Humphries is an American academic, author, and lecturer on Deaf culture and deaf communication. Humphries is a professor at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). [1]


Early life

Humphries coined the term audism in an unpublished paper in 1975 [2] and repeated the term in his doctoral PDE (Project Demonstrating Excellence) in 1977. [3] He earned his Ph.D. in Cross Cultural Communication and Language Learning at Union Institute & University in 1977. [1] [4]


Humphries is an associate professor in the Department of Communication at the San Diego branch of the University of California. [1]

In addition to teaching at UCSD, he has been developing an experimental curriculum for teaching deaf children by applying bilingual teaching practices. [1]

One way of framing his major area of interest is summarized in the abstract of his 2010 Lyons Lecture at the Rochester School for the Deaf:

The processes of deaf identity construction are not unique phenomena but echo the experience of other embedded cultural groups, particularly those that are stressed by the assertion of hegemony over them by others. Theorists Jose Marti and W.E.B. Du Bois, who struggled with similar issues, offer us ways to think about the complicated discourses of Deaf culture and the local social histories in which Deaf culture is constructed. [5]

Selected works

Humphries' published writings encompass 43 works in 78 publications in 7 languages and 5,474 library holdings. [6] His works are created with his wife and co-author, Carol Padden.



  1. 1 2 3 4 University of California, San Diego: Humphries faculty bio
  2. Dirksen, H; Bauman, L (2004). "Audism: Exploring the Metaphysics of Oppression". Journal of Deaf Studies and Deaf Education. 9 (2): 239–246. doi:10.1093/deafed/enh025. PMID   15304445.
  3. Humphries, Tom. 1977. Communicating across cultures (deaf -hearing) and language learning. Union Institute and University ProQuest DP10817, page i.
  4. Humphries, Tom L. (1977). Communicating across cultures (deaf -hearing) and language learning. Ohio: Union Institute and University. ProQuest   302878949.
  5. Edmund Lyon Lecture, Rochester School for the Deaf: Tom Humphries
  6. WorldCat Identities: Humphries, Tom (Tom L.)

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sign language</span> Language that uses manual communication and body language to convey meaning

Sign languages are languages that use the visual-manual modality to convey meaning, instead of spoken words. Sign languages are expressed through manual articulation in combination with non-manual markers. Sign languages are full-fledged natural languages with their own grammar and lexicon. Sign languages are not universal and are usually not mutually intelligible, although there are also similarities among different sign languages.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Deaf culture</span> Culture of deaf persons

Deaf culture is the set of social beliefs, behaviors, art, literary traditions, history, values, and shared institutions of communities that are influenced by deafness and which use sign languages as the main means of communication. When used as a cultural label especially within the culture, the word deaf is often written with a capital D and referred to as "big D Deaf" in speech and sign. When used as a label for the audiological condition, it is written with a lower case d. Carl G. Croneberg coined the term "Deaf Culture" and he was the first to discuss analogies between Deaf and hearing cultures in his appendices C/D of the 1965 Dictionary of American Sign Language.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Manualism</span> Method of educating deaf students through the use of sign language

Manualism is a method of education of deaf students using sign language within the classroom. Manualism arose in the late 18th century with the advent of free public schools for the deaf in Europe. These teaching methods were brought over to the United States where the first school for the deaf was established in 1817. Today manualism methods are used in conjunction with oralism methods in the majority of American deaf schools.

The history of deaf people and deaf culture make up deaf history. The Deaf culture is a culture that is centered on sign language and relationships among one another. Unlike other cultures the Deaf culture is not associated with any native land as it is a global culture. By some, deafness may be viewed as a disability, but the Deaf world sees itself as a language minority. Throughout the years many accomplishments have been achieved by deaf people. To name the most famous, Ludwig van Beethoven and Thomas Alva Edison were both deaf and contributed great works to culture.

Audism as described by deaf activists is a form of discrimination directed against deaf people, which may include those diagnosed as deaf from birth, or otherwise. Tom L. Humphries coined the term in his doctoral dissertation in 1975, but it did not start to catch on until Harlan Lane used it in his writing. Humphries originally applied audism to individual attitudes and practices; whereas Lane broadened the term to include oppression of deaf people.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jane Fernandes</span> American educator

Jane Fernandes is a Deaf American educator and social justice advocate. As of August 2021, Fernandes is the President of Antioch College in Yellow Springs, Ohio.

Carol A. Padden is an American academic, author, and lecturer. She is a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, San Diego, where she has been teaching since 1983.

Deafhood is a term coined by Paddy Ladd in his book Understanding Deaf Culture: In Search of Deafhood. While the precise meaning of the word remains deliberately vague—Ladd himself calls Deafhood a "process" rather than something finite and clear—it attempts to convey an affirmative and positive acceptance of being deaf.

In the United States, deaf culture was born in Connecticut in 1817 at the American School for the Deaf, when a deaf teacher from France, Laurent Clerc, was recruited by Thomas Gallaudet to help found the new institution. Under the guidance and instruction of Clerc in language and ways of living, deaf American students began to evolve their own strategies for communication and for living, which became the kernel for the development of American Deaf culture.

American Sign Language literature is one of the most important shared cultural experiences in the American deaf community. Literary genres initially developed in residential Deaf institutes, such as American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut, which is where American Sign Language developed as a language in the early 19th century. There are many genres of ASL literature, such as narratives of personal experience, poetry, cinematographic stories, folktales, translated works, original fiction and stories with handshape constraints. Authors of ASL literature use their body as the text of their work, which is visually read and comprehended by their audience viewers. In the early development of ASL literary genres, the works were generally not analyzed as written texts are, but the increased dissemination of ASL literature on video has led to greater analysis of these genres.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Mason Fitch Cogswell</span> American physician (1761–1830)

Mason Fitch Cogswell (1761–1830) was a United States physician who pioneered education for the deaf. Cogwell's daughter, Alice Cogswell, was deaf after the age of two, prompting Cogswell to jointly establish the American School for the Deaf in Hartford, Connecticut.

Robert J. Hoffmeister is associate professor emeritus and former director of the Center for the Study of Communication & Deafness at Boston University. He is most known for his book, Journey into the Deaf World. He is also known for supporting the American deaf community and deaf education.

Benjamin James Bahan is a professor of ASL and Deaf Studies at Gallaudet University and a member of the deaf community. He is an influential figure in American Sign Language literature as a storyteller and writer of deaf culture. He is known for the stories "The Ball Story" and "Birds of a Different Feather". He is known for writing the book A Journey into the Deaf-World (1996) with Robert J. Hoffmeister and Harlan Lane. Bahan also co-wrote and co-directed the film Audism Unveiled (2008) with his colleague Dirksen Bauman.

Claire L Ramsey is an American linguist. Ramsey is an Associate Professor Emerita at the University of California, San Diego. She is an alumna of Gallaudet University and is former instructor at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln, Nebraska. Ramsey's research has focused on the sociolinguistics of deaf and signing communities in the US and Mexico.

Chuck Baird was an American Deaf artist who was one of the more notable founders of the De'VIA art movement, an aesthetic of Deaf Culture in which visual art conveys a Deaf world view. His career spanned over 35 years and included painting, sculpting, acting, storytelling, and teaching.

Deafness has varying definitions in cultural and medical contexts. In medical contexts, the meaning of deafness is hearing loss that precludes a person from understanding spoken language, an audiological condition. In this context it is written with a lower case d. It later came to be used in a cultural context to refer to those who primarily communicate through sign language regardless of hearing ability, often capitalized as Deaf and referred to as "big D Deaf" in speech and sign. The two definitions overlap but are not identical, as hearing loss includes cases that are not severe enough to impact spoken language comprehension, while cultural Deafness includes hearing people who use sign language, such as children of deaf adults.

Beth S. Benedict is a professor in the Department of Communication Studies at Gallaudet University, advocate for the deaf, and a mentor for families with deaf children. Her research focuses on early intervention, early language acquisition, and family involvement. Benedict is also an advocate for the use of bilingualism in education of the deaf - incorporating the value of American Sign Language in deaf children. Benedict advocates for deaf-hearing partnerships, avoiding audism, the importance of bilingual education, deaf culture and the use of sign language while also working as a family mentor for families with deaf children. Recently, she was a keynote speaker for an International Deaf Studies conference and the featured speaker for the deaf education summit. Benedict takes what she researches about deafness and education and shares it broadly by way of talks and application - for example, she has helped the Georgia School for the Deaf work on developing bilingual education in their programs. In 2015 Benedict was the featured speaker at the Deaf education summit in Louisiana - a conference that brought together practitioners, educators, and parents to discuss local issues surrounding education of deaf children.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Deaf rights movement</span>

The Deaf rights movement encompasses a series of social movements within the disability rights and cultural diversity movements that encourages deaf and hard of hearing to push society to adopt a position of equal respect for them. Acknowledging that those who were Deaf or hard of hearing had rights to obtain the same things as those hearing lead this movement. Establishing an educational system to teach those with Deafness was one of the first accomplishments of this movement. Sign language, as well as cochlear implants, has also had an extensive impact on the Deaf community. These have all been aspects that have paved the way for those with Deafness, which began with the Deaf Rights movement.

DeafSpace is an approach to architecture that is primarily informed by the unique ways in which deaf people live and inhabit space. The design concept can be applied to public and domestic spaces. Buildings, classrooms, hallways, furniture, and other spatial arrangements and technologies can be designed to suit people with hearing impairments and their way of being. Not to be confused with Universal design as it embodies much of Deaf culture as well as providing visual access in its designs.

Nancy Rourke is an internationally known Deaf artist and ARTivist, with a focus in oil painting. Her pieces carry the themes of resistance, affirmation, and liberation, with stylings falling under 'Rourkeism' and 'Surdism'.