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Mogadishu on the Mississippi: Language, Racialized Identity, and Education in a New Land

ISBN: 978-1-4443-3874-4
200 pages
September 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
Mogadishu on the Mississippi: Language, Racialized Identity, and Education in a New Land (1444338749) cover image


  • Investigates the language learning, multiple literacy development, and schooling and community experiences of the Somali population in Minnesota - a community which is Muslim, refugee, and under-schooled
  • Brings together five years of interdisciplinary research, drawing upon theories from the fields of applied linguistics, second language acquisition, education, and sociology
  • Uses a range of epistemological frames to explore central and contemporary problems that tie language learning to racialized, religious, and gendered identities
  • Argues for the centrality of socio-political contexts in language learning and for the integration of advocacy and research
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Table of Contents

Series Editor’s Foreword.


1. Engaged Scholarship in the Somali Communities of Minnesota.

2. Orality and Literacy within the Somali Diaspora.

3. Multilingualism and Multiliteracy among Somali Adolescent Girls.

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Author Information

Martha H. Bigelow is an Associate Professor in the Second Languages and Cultures Education program at the University of Minnesota. Most of her current research, teaching, and community engagement activities are focused on the language learning, academic success, and healthy cultural adaptation of immigrant and refugee youth. She has completed studies in the areas of second language acquisition, language teacher education, and immigrant education.
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“In detailing the experiences of Somali youth in their settlement in the Twin Cities area, Bigelow draws on her work with non-literate young adults and her own community advocacy to suggest a path forward for young immigrants who face daunting challenges in coming to terms with their own sense of identity, as well as their mastery of western academic literacies. Bigelow’s work is an outstanding model of applied linguistics research.”
—Sandra L. McKay, Professor Emeritus, San Francisco State University
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