I am a member of the dissertation committee of Saida Mohamed, a doctoral candidate at Arizona State University. Saida has just been awarded an Association of American University Women (AAUW) American Dissertation Fellowship for the 2022-23 award year. Her dissertation examines the multilingual literacies (Somali, English, Kiswahili, Classical Arabic) of three families and their five to fourteen-year-old children of Somali and refugee background living in Nairobi, Kenya. Through the lenses of literacy as a social practice and funds of knowledge, Saida explores the connections between the children’s dugsi, school, and home language and literacy learning experiences and analyze how children and parents live and understand these experiences.
We just held our session ‘Supporting Multilingual Education in Early Childhood: Linguistic Anthropological Approaches’. Organized by Jennifer Reynolds (USC) and Amy Kyratzis (UCSB), the session examines the issue of how early childhood educators can be supported in sustaining and leveraging children’s expertise as a legitimate and generative means to expand linguistic repertoires and associated forms of knowledge production. The Zoom recording and documents will available through June 2022 to conference participants.
I am presently participating in the 2021 American Association for Applied Linguistics virtual conference. With Jackie Ridley (Kent State), I have a paper, ‘Ideologies at the intersection of language learning, science learning, and play’. Our paper is part of the colloquium Jackie organized on Language Learning and Play in Preschool Settings, along with papers by Amy Kyratzis (UCSB), Katie Bernstein and Ryleigh Hait (ASU). It is amazing to be hanging out with so many applied linguists in one “place”, hearing about the work they are engaged in now.
The paperback version of Navigating Languages, Literacies and Identities: Religion in Young Lives is now available. The edited volume, which was first published in 2016, showcases research at the interface of religion and multilingualism, offering an analytical focus on religion in children and adolescents’ everyday lives and experiences. My chapter in it, ‘Moving across languages, literacies and schooling traditions’, is based on my work in northern Cameroon and Central Ohio.
The American Anthropological Association is holding a virtual conference this year, Raising Our Voices 2020. With Monique Mills (U of Houston), I have a virtual poster, ‘People aren’t going to tell stories in the same way’: A mixed-methods study of adult perceptions of Black children’s narrative language. This poster reports on a mixed-methods study of adults’ perceptions of Black children’s narrative language conducted by a linguistic anthropologist and a speech and hearing sciences researcher.
The Selected Proceedings of the 2017 Second Language Research Forum, edited by Hope Wilson, Nicole King, Eun Jeong Park, and Kirby Childress, has just been published. I have a chapter therein, ‘Engaged Second Language Research: Studying Stakeholders’ Perspectives on Preschool DLLs’ Science and Language Learning’, co-authored with Brian Seilstad, Jackie Ridley, and Somin Kim. We provide an overview of the Expanding Repertoires project, framing it as an example of engaged L2 research. We focus on the exploratory study in Central Ohio, which examined the perspectives and experiences of informal science and ECE educators and the various bi/multilingual families they serve across contexts.
This year at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association I had the pleasure and privilege of participating in a panel in honor of my doctoral advisor, Elinor Ochs. The panel, ‘Experiencing Language: The Contributions of Elinor Ochs to Anthropology’, examined five areas in anthropology that have been inspired by Elinor’s’ work: ethnography of language acquisition across cultures (Amy Paugh), language socialization in educational contexts (Kathy Howard and me), language in ethnic and racial social contexts (Patricia Baquedano-López), autism and communication studies (Laura Sterponi and Wendy Klein), and family and ethics (Tamar Kremer-Sadlik). Bill Hanks and Judith Irvine were the chairs, and Elinor was the discussant.
At AAA 2017 in Washington, DC I presented a paper ‘Investigating language practices and ideologies with and within museums and preschools’ as part of a double panel on The Anthropology of Education Matters’ in Informal Learning Contexts. As always, the AAAs were an opportunity to reconnect with far-flung friends. This photo shows me with Dr. Marilyn Merritt, a linguistic anthropologist at George Washington University whose work has inspired me since my graduate student days.
A great resource for students interested in video-based research on social interaction is now available at Learning How to Look & Listen. This website brings together resources from a conference supported by the Spencer Foundation at Arizona State University where an interdisciplinary group of older and younger scholars gathered to document and illustrate the basic patterns of visual and auditory attention that are employed by researchers who use video to study social interaction. Two scholars who trained me, Chuck Goodwin and Barbara Rogoff, are part this fabulous group.
Today at the 115th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, my advisee Sirad Shirdon is presenting our paper ‘The co- and re-construction of classroom competence in a Somali-centric Kindergarten’. We are part of the panel Language Socialization in Classrooms: Culture, Interaction, and Development, organized by Matthew Burdelski and Kathryn Howard and invited by the Anthropology of Children and Youth Interest Group (ACYIG). The panel previews an volume edited by Matt and Kathy, to be published by Cambridge.