Navigating Languages, Literacies, and Identities

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.

Sirad Shirdon awarded Hancock scholarship

My advisee Sirad Shirdon has been awarded a scholarship from the Dr. Charles R. Hancock Graduate Scholarship Fund in Urban Education. She will use the scholarship for her research on Kindergarten readiness among Somali children in Central Ohio. Sirad plans to take an ethnographically informed approach to the study of parent, school, and community understandings of Kindergarten readiness and how these understandings are enacted in practice. This study will build on Sirad’s work on my longitudinal study of language and literacy socialization and development among Somali immigrant-refugee children in the early elementary grades.

Suresh Canagarajah redefining literacy as translingual

Suresh Canagarajah, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor in Applied Linguistics, English, and Asian Studies at Pennsylvania State University, is visiting OSU for two days. He will give a public talk ‘Redefining Literacy as Translingual‘ on February 6, 2014, 4:00 pm – 5:30 pm in Denney Hall 311. Friday he will join the Graduate Interdisciplinary Seminar in Literacy Studies to discuss the connections between literacy, translation, and global Englishes in the twenty-first century.

AAA Panel on Language and the Immigrant Experience of Children and Youth

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.

Language socialization and the future of Anthropology of Education

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).

Keynote at OSU Mansfield Diversity Conference

On Saturday, April 13, 2013, The Ohio State University at Mansfield and the Office of Multicultural Affairs hosts its one-day conference “Empowering and Engaging Diverse Perspectives: A P-16 Approach” to encourage discussion and critical thinking on issues of diversity and inclusion in the P-16 educational pipeline. The morning keynote speaker is Dr. Bob Moses, founder of the Algebra Project. I am the afternoon keynote speaker, and my talk is ‘Expanding repertoires of practice: Educational experiences of children in the Somali Diaspora’.

Work-in-progress session at NCTEAR 2013

OSU hosts NCTEAR this year. My Second Language and Literacy Lab (SL3) group have a work-in-progress session on Saturday, February 16, 1:45-3:15 in Arps 100. In our session, ‘Multiple Perspectives on Talk around Storybook Read-alouds in a Kindergarten Classroom’, we discuss our collaborative work on 23 read alouds NCTEAR smallrecorded in a Kindergarten classroom in a charter school that serves primarily the children of Somali refugees who have resettled in Central Ohio. Sirad Shirdon, Se Jeong Yang, Tanti Sari, and Ani Pujiastuti will present their analyses, each having taken a different analytic approach to the read aloud data. We will then discuss our efforts to integrate these different insights into read alouds as key sites for constructing meaning and developing cultural/linguistic minority children’s familiarity and facility with English language and literacy practices.

Language, place, & borders panel at AAA 2012

This week at the 2012 Meetings of the American Anthropological Association, Marcia Farr and I presented coordinated papers, ‘Differering allegiances to home: Transnational bilingualism and biliteracy’. Our papers were part of a panel organized by OSU Linguistics student Shontael Wanjema, ‘Language, Place, and the (De)construction of Borders’. Elsie Rockwell was our discussant, and the panel also included a paper by T&L student Sidury Christiansen.

Invited Talk at University of Wisconsin Green Bay

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.

Ecology & Language Symposium

OSU’s Department of Linguistics and the School of Environment and Natural Resources are sponsoring Ecology & Language, a symposium exploring the interface between ecological and linguistic lines of evidence. The event, the 9th Annual Martin Luther King Day Symposium (MLK9) is being held January 13 and 14 on campus. Please see the program for details. I will be the discussant for a panel ‘The ecology of literacy in Africa – Case studies presented by former literacy workers’. Deborah Morton, Jane Mitsch, and Amanda Miller will speak about literacy programs in Benin, Senegal, and Namibia.