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Jeremy L. Brunson, PhD

Gallaudet University  
Depts. of Sociology and Interpretation
Adjunct Professor

2008 Ph.D.- Sociology (Syracuse University)
2006 Certificate of Advanced Study in Disability Studies (C.A.S.) (Syracuse University)
2005 Master's of Arts - Sociology (Syracuse University)
2003 Master's of Science - Justice and Social Inquiry (Arizona State University)
2001 Bachelor's of Arts - Sociology (Arizona State University)

Dr. Brunson is an Arizona native.  After earning a graduate degree at Arizona State University, he relocated to Syracuse, NY to continue with his graduate studies at Syracuse University. While at Syracuse University, he earned another master’s degree, this time in sociology, and a Certificate of Advance Study in disability studies before completing his Ph.D. in sociology.  For his doctoral thesis, Dr. Brunson explored the way in which the work of sign language interpreters is organized in the provision of video relay service.  A book based his dissertation Video Relay Service Interpreters: Intricacies of Sign Language Access was published by Gallaudet University Press in 2011.

After completing his Ph.D., Dr. Brunson taught at Gallaudet University.  He held a joint appointment in the Departments of Sociology and Interpretation.  This was an ideal appointment given that his area of interest is the sociology of interpreting.  In an attempt to understand the various ways that interpreters organize and are organized by social structures, local and extra-local, he has written and presented on various topics that include the professionalization of sign language interpreting, video relay service work, legal precedents for communication access, social construction of identity of sign language interpreters, social organization of ethics, mediated communication, and the calculated consumer labor of deaf people.

In addition to his academic credentials, Dr. Brunson holds the Certification of Interpretation, Certification of Transliteration and Special Certificate: Legal from the Registry of Interpreters for the Deaf.  Recently, he has returned to Arizona and is working as a judicial interpreter for the Superior Court of Arizona. 

Ongoing research:

"Situated Access" with intern Leandra Williams

ABSTRACT: Disability Studies scholars have long argued that it is not the particular impairment that a person possesses but society's response to it that creates the disability.  A key element of creating disability is limiting access; however, access is a blob ontology that is used to stand in for a variety of activities.  Defining access is dependent on who is doing the defining.  That is, a person who uses a wheelchair may define access as a ramp; a blind individual may consider Braille as key to accessibility; and, of course, deaf people consider the lack of a sign language interpreter as a barrier.  Therefore, sign language interpreters should be considered the gatekeepers of information between deaf and non-deaf people.  As such, their judgment and the social organization of that judgment is ideal of investigation.  This research takes up the question of how do sign language interpreters define access?  Employing institutional ethnography, an approach that grew out of the feminist conscious-raising activities of the 1960s, this research will start in the everyday/everynight experiences of sign language interpreters to explore not only their conceptualization of access but also explicate the myriad social institutions that influence that conception.  This is done through open-ended questions.

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