of Interest: language, literacy, & culture; linguistic anthropology; anthropology
and education; cross-cultural studies; immigrant communities in
the US and
youth cultures; ethnography and qualitative research methods, discourse analysis, ethnicity
and gender in education; education policy and social analysis.
I received my Ph. D. in education from Michigan
State University and my B. A. in Linguistics from the University
of Chicago. I was an assistant professor in the Department of
Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison
(2000-2001) before moving to the College of Education and Human
Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in the fall of
2001. My current research interests are twofold. I am interested
in exploring language and literacy as cultural and sociological
phenomena, where issues of ethnicity, language use, social class,
gender, and culture, among others, are highly politicized. I
am also intrigued by how the discourse surrounding policy gets
played out at all levels of schooling and how this influences
agency among key players (students, parents, teachers, schools).
Both interests have been informed by the disciplines of sociolinguistics
and literacy studies, cultural anthropology and sociology. In
1997-1999, I spent 26 months doing fieldwork in a Yemeni American
community in southeastern Michigan, and I returned to the community
in 2002 to conduct more fieldwork. This research delves substantially
into the literacy and discourse practices of secondary school
students as well as into migration/diversity issues of Arab Muslims
and immigrants in the U.S. and Europe. I am particularly interested
in how such immigrant populations negotiate their home and school
worlds successfully and how a school and its teachers accommodate
them. I also study academic literacies and classrooms in which young people are labeled as "slow" or "struggling readers."
During the spring of 2003, I was Visiting
Professor at the Unversity of California, Berkeley, in the
Graduate School of Education.
I serve on the Editorial Review Boards of the Journal of Literacy
Research and Research in the Teaching of English.
I also review for Ethos, Sociology of Education,
and NSF's Cultural Anthropology Program. I am the recipient of the 2012 Distinguished College of Education and Human Sciences Teaching Award.