October 06, 2005

LEWISBURG, Pa. — Debra Van Ausdale will give the talk, "Young Children and Race Relations: How Preschoolers Perpetuate Racism," Thursday, Oct. 20, at 4 p.m. in the Gallery Theatre of the Elaine Langone Center at Bucknell.

Van Ausdale is co-author of The First R: How Children Learn Race and Racism, with Joe Feagin.

The book has been called "A sensitive and politically sophisticated work of on-site observation and engaging scholarship which ought to shake our nation from its equanimity," by Jonathan Kozol, author of Savage Inequalities: Children in America's Schools.

"The lessons we were given long ago by Dr. Kenneth Clark and, nearly a hundred years ago, by W.E.B. Du Bois have yet to be internalized. Perhaps, as the authors of this valuable and stirring work suggest, it is our children who will prove to be our wisest teachers," said Kozol of the book.

A graduate of the University of South Florida, Van Ausdale engaged as a participant-observer in a multicultural daycare center for nearly a year for her dissertation research, examining how young children used race in their formal and informal interactions.

"Most significantly, her findings are in stark contrast to contemporary notions of children as `color-blind'; her research instead suggests that young children use race in developmentally sophisticated ways to negotiate their play and relationships with each other, especially in the absence of adults," said Sue Ellen Henry, assistant professor of education at Bucknell.

Henry also noted that this lecture has Act 48 continuing education credit being offered for people with Pennsylvania state teaching certificates.

The talk, which is open to the public without charge, is part of Van Ausdale's visit to the university, sponsored by the departments of education and psychology, the Office of Academic Affairs, the University Lectureship Committee and the Committee on Campus Diversity.

During her visit she also will meet with classes and participate in the Writers at Work lunchtime discussion series Thursday, Oct. 20, at noon in Room 200G Roberts Hall. The Writers at Work series is a brownbag lunch gathering which is open to the public.

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