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.
On Friday, November 14th I will give a talk, ‘Moving across languages and learning traditions’ in the monthly seminar of the Anthropology of Children and Youth Network at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. I present an overview of my research on the social and cultural patterning of children’s language learning in communities whose members use multiple languages and participate in multiple learning traditions. The seminar is in room Z-007, the Metropolitan Gebouw.
I just participated in a double panel, ‘Language and the Immigrant Experience of Children and Youth’ at the 2013 Meeting of the American Anthropological Association. Organized by Inmaculada M. García-Sánchez (Temple University) and sponsored by the Society for Linguistic Anthropology, the panel brought together language ethnographers to examine the experiences of immigrant children and youth (Somali, North African, Vietnamese, indigenous Mayans, Romanians, Turkish, Iranian, Mexican) in an integrated fashion and in a number of cross-cultural settings. My paper “Making African storybooks culturally relevant and culturally marked in a Kindergarten classroom in a Somali-centric school” examines the use in read alouds of storybooks that depict Africa and Africans in Kindergarten in a charter school that serves primarily the children of Somali refugees who have resettled in a large US midwestern city.
Teachers College Columbia is hosting a conference On the Future of Anthropology in Schools of Education this coming weekend, October 18 and 19. With Patricia Baquedano-López (UC Berkeley), Inmaculada García Sanchez (Temple), Kathryn Howard (California State University, San Bernardino), and Laura Sterponi (UC Berkeley), I have co-authored a paper, “Exploring the intersection of language socialization research and the anthropology of education”. Our paper is part of the session ‘Open Roads: Renewed Possibilities‘ (beginning at 0:36:40).
May 22 and 23 I will be at the University of Notre Dame for a working conference, Learning In and Out of School: Education across the Globe, organized by Professor Susan Blum. The conference centers on one question: what can we learn about the range of human learning, in schools and out of schools, at various ages, that has significant effects on individual and social well-being? We will address both theory – exploring what educational practices reveal about the nature of humankind – and practice – identifying applications that may improve the everyday learning of children and adults. Participants include scholars and practitioners who focus on societies around the world. We will look at the issues of schooling – or not schooling – from a variety of interdisciplinary perspectives. My working paper is ‘Double schooling in northern Cameroon and Central Ohio’.
Ethnographer of family life Shirley Brice Heath will be at OSU to give a talk, ‘Special-Interest Learning: The new best friend for education leaders?’, as well as to participate in other, smaller events with faculty and students of the School of Educational Policy and Leadership and the School of Teaching and Learning. The talk and panel discussion, part of the Karlsberger/Charters Lecture Series, take place 11-12 am on Tuesday, May 8 in the College Commons, Ramseyer Hall 260. Professor Heath is the author of Words at work and play: Three decades in families and communities (Cambridge, 2012) and the classic Ways with Words: Language, life, and work in communities and classrooms (Cambridge, 1983/1996).
On April 19th I will give at talk at UWGB on my research, outreach, and engagement with children and families of the Somali diaspora. Building on repertoires of practice as the conceptual core, I will discuss my research on language and literacy development and the Somali Studies for Educators project. The talk is one of the University’s Common Theme events and is sponsored by Psychology and Human Development, the Psi Chi honor society, and the academic unit in Anthropology.
The Handbook of Language Socialization is out. Edited by Sandro Duranti, Elinor Ochs, and Bambi Schieffelin, this volume is the 37thin the prestigious Blackwell Handbooks in Linguistics series. In chapter 9, ‘Language socialization and repetition’, I discuss patterns in and insights from language socialization research that has taken repetition as an analytic focus. I examine 4 practices of repetition – revoicing, prompting, guided repetition, and language play. I then discuss repetition-related findings from studies conducted in contexts of second language socialization and religious socialization. I conclude with a discussion of how attention to repetition in socializing interactions expands and enriches our understanding of the nature of communicative competence, its development over time and across texts and contexts, and the active and sometimes transformative role of the novice in socialization processes.
A new article of mine, “Moving across languages, literacies, and schooling traditions”, has just come out in Language Arts, part of a special issue ‘Remaking Literacies across Time and Place’. Click here for contents of the issue. In this article I draw upon my research in the Maroua Fulbe community in northern Cameroon and in the Somali immigrant-refugee community in Columbus to provide insights into the schooling and literacy experiences Somali children and other Muslim immigrants may bring to public school from their other school. I first discuss Qur’anic schooling in the Fulbe community, describing the organization and the significance of this schooling tradition for participants, as well as the recent rise of double schooling and changes in Islamic educational practice. I then shift my focus to the Somali immigrant-refugee community in Columbus, discussing changes in Qur’anic schooling that have arisen in this diasporic context. After discussing how Qur’anic school experiences may affect Muslim language-minority children’s second language and literacy learning in public school, I conclude with reflections on how knowledge of Qur’anic schooling and Qur’anic school-based literacies might impact the practices of public elementary school educators.
The Anthropology of Learning in Childhood is hot of the presses, including my chapter, ‘Learning in schools‘. Here’s the publisher’s blurb: “This first major anthropological reference book on childhood learning considers the cultural aspects of learning in childhood from the points of view of psychologists, sociologists, educators, and anthropologists.”