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.
The edited volume Navigating Languages, Literacies and Identities: Religion in Young Lives has come out! Edited by Vally Lytra, Dinah Volk, and Eve Gregory, the volume showcases innovative research at the interface of religion and multilingualism, with an analytical focus on religion in children and adolescents’ everyday lives and experiences. I have a chapter on my research in northern Cameroon and Central Ohio.
I will be participating in a workshop this coming week at the Lorentz Center in Leiden. Child development research has been dominated by studies in western urban societies. The aim of the workshop ‘Children Seen and Heard across the Globe‘ is to bring together a small group of scholars working with hard-to-reach non-Western communities in order to build interdisciplinary collaborations around the collection and analysis of video data sets from these communities. This week-long workshop follows up on the NIAS workshop held in April-May 2015.
Now live, the website for the NSF-funded project Expanding repertoires of practice: Improving informal science learning experiences for preschool dual language learners.
I am in Utrecht for 2 weeks, a follow-up to my Fulbright at Utrecht University in AY 2015-16. I will give a lecture and lead discussion groups in the course ‘Youth, Education & Society 02: Global Perspectives’, a core course in the Masters program Youth, Education & Society. My host and lead instructor of the course is Professor Mariette de Haan.
I spent the past few days in a workshop, Children seen and heard around the world: A multidisciplinary cross-cultural approach to video data of family life and child development. Professor Judi Mesman (Centre for Child and Family Studies, Leiden University) organized this international workshop with 17 researchers from the fields of child and family studies, anthropology, and linguistics to present their available video data sets and their perspectives on the data sets. We are working toward the creation of an international multidisciplinary network that will facilitate sharing video data, and integrating our perspectives, forming collaborative alliances for future projects, and producing multidisciplinary scientific output.
On Jauary 22nd, I will give a talk at the International Institute for Social Studies in The Hague (part of Erasmus University Rotterdam). In this talk, ‘Leveraging Qur’anic schooling for Western-style educational goals‘, I discuss how the role of Qur’anic schools in advancing national and international development goals for education has shifted over time, and I consider the notion of ‘leveraging’ in development work, i.e., the use of existing social structures and practices in/of the community to achieve international cooperation and aid goals.