October 21, 2013

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By Kathryn Kopchik

Joseph ValenteLEWISBURG, Pa. — Joseph Valente will give the talk, "How Deaf Children Learn to Be Deaf: Bilingual Kindergartens in France, Japan, and the United States," Tuesday, Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. in the Rooke Chemistry Lecture Hall (Room 116) at Bucknell University. [note change in location]

The lecture, which is free and open to the public, is sponsored by the Center for the Study of Race, Ethnicity and Gender, and co-sponsored by the Class of 1953 and the Department of Sociology. There will be an ASL interpreter present.

Valente is an assistant professor of early childhood education and co-director of the Center for Disability Studies at Penn State University.

During his talk, Valente will also show anthropological film footage from his cross-cultural, comparative video ethnographic study of deaf kindergartens in France, Japan and the United States. 

The central research question is how bilingual kindergartens in schools for the deaf function as sites of acculturation into both Deaf culture and national cultures, according to Valente. This study explores how in Japan, France and the United States deaf children come to perceive or to not perceive themselves as members of Deaf culture and their national culture.  

This discussion and the accompanying film footage tracks the emergence of 'affective encounters' and moments of acculturation evidencing bodily affectivity in children learning and teachers showing their students how to be deaf.

Valente is the author of the autobiographical-novel and autoethnography, d/Deaf and d/Dumb: A Portrait of a Deaf Kid as a Young Superhero. He is co-principal investigator of the Spencer Foundation-funded video ethnography project, "Kindergartens for the Deaf in Three Countries: Japan, France and the United States." 

Valente's TED talk, "Hearing the Unheard," can be watched at http://youtu.be/aqV_MjKliW0. His work on bilingualism appeared in the July issue of The Economist.  To learn more about his work, visit http://joevalente.net.