This unique summer course, organized in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin, combines an Irish Sign Language course with theoretical perspectives on the communities within which sign languages are used. At the end of the course, students spend a week in Dublin to immerse themselves in Ireland's Deaf community and to actually use Irish Sign Language in their interaction with members of the community. 

The course challenges preconceived notions about deafness and sign languages, and more broadly invites a re-evaluation of how such concepts as 'language', 'culture', and 'disability' should be defined. As such, the course may be of interest to any student with an interest in, among other things, language and culture and the interaction between the two, minority studies, and disability studies.

Students of all academic backgrounds who have fulfilled their breadth requirement and have obtained at least 60 ECTS before the start of the course. Pre-registered students (deadline March 1: send an email to your tutor) will be contacted to provide a motivation statement for a selection procedure.

UCUHUMSIG11 is a level 1 course. The course can fulfil your Language and Culture requirement.

"I think the most difficult thing to do as a language student is extract yourself from what you know to consider all of the possibilities that different languages and cultures might bring you. Your thinking about language is limited by what you know – the rules of French, German or Spanish. The sign language course was something that completely revolutionized my way of thinking - not only is using a different modality to communicate hard, it is eye opening. Suddenly, you're more aware of what language and communication is because everything you thought you knew about how we could do it has to be built up from the ground all over again. This is not only done through the learning of sign language but also through the seminars on Deaf culture, as they bring an entirely new perspective to understanding language and the culture and identity that are closely tied to it. For this reason, this is a course for  anyone looking to learn about  language, communication and culture, and will be particularly interesting for anyone interested in questioning their knowledge on all of the above."
- Anahi Saravia Herrera (Class of 2018)

"The thing I liked most about the Sign language and Deaf culture course was how hands-on it was. The teachers wanted our opinion in essays instead of literature reviews, and we had to communicate in ISL every day and feel the anxiety of not being able to do so very well but having no other means. We talked about Deafness with Deaf people and not only with academics and fellow students, but also with people who deal with Deafness from the medical, academic, legal, educational, social and personal perspectives. This was the best course I took at UCU. It was a curious experience to be immersed in an area that I knew very little about beforehand, and now being back to encountering very little of the Deaf world I have to reconsider the bystander perspective."
- Ieva Staliūnaitė (Class of 2016)

  • Video: Marloes Oomen, instructor Sign Language and Perspectives on Deaf Culture
  • See course outline of UCHUMSIG11 in the Course Planner.
  • For more information, contact Marloes Oomen, course instructors, or Jocelyn Ballantyne, UCU fellow for linguistics, language and culture.