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.
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.
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.
Today I give a talk for the Leiden University Centre for Linguistics. The talk, ‘Moving across languages and learning traditions’, will be in 16:00 – 17:00 in Eyckhof 3/005. I will present my research on the social and cultural patterning of language learning in three multilingual African communities. In the late 1990s I was a visiting scholar in African Languages and Linguistics at Leiden University, and I am excited to see old friends and hear about the exciting work they are doing now.
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.
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.
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’.
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 recorded 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.