Celebrating Nancy Hornberger

All of our authors and editors are special to us, but those that we work with over a long period of time become ‘part of the family’. One of these people is Nancy Hornberger, who has been co-editing our Bilingual Education and Bilingualism series since 1996. She has also published several books with us herself, including Sociolinguistics and Language Education, which was published last year. We were delighted when Francis Hult and Kendall King approached us with the idea of publishing a book to mark Nancy’s 60th birthday, as not only do we like Nancy a lot, but we’ve also published several of her former students who appear as contributors in the book. We’ll be celebrating Nancy’s work as part of the opening reception at AAAL, so do come along and say ‘hi’ if you’re there.

Francis and Kendall’s book is published this week, and so I asked them to tell me a bit about what Nancy has contributed to the study of language and education, as well as her influence on the lives and careers of her students…

‘We are delighted to be a part of celebrating Nancy Hornberger’s 60th birthday. To mark the occasion we  have collaborated with Multilingual Matters and Nancy’s colleagues and former students to publish Educational Linguistics in Practice: Applying the Local Globally and the Global Locally. For more than twenty-five years, Nancy has been a leader in educational linguistics, setting the pace while inspiring others to engage in research and practice that promotes linguistic diversity in education. The book is dedicated to her, and to her scholarship.
Nancy Hornberger joined the Graduate School of Education at the University of Pennsylvania (PennGSE) in 1985 as an assistant professor. Her scholarship, mentoring, teaching and consulting since then have been characterized by ‘working the local globally and the global locally,’ as she herself put it in a 2006 pro-seminar at Penn in which she discussed her work in Bolivia, Paraguay, Singapore, and South Africa.  This perspective is the inspiration for the present volume honoring Nancy Hornberger’s contributions to educational linguistics. Beginning with her linguistic and educational work in Peru, where she studied relationships between Indigenous language education practices and bilingual education policy, Hornberger set the tone for educational linguistics research that is global in its perspective yet locally grounded in both educational practice and the close analysis of language use.
This constant is evident in her consulting and research, which has taken her around the world to Bolivia, Brazil, El Salvador, Hong Kong, Mexico, New Zealand, Paraguay, Singapore, and South Africa, among other locales, but also around the corner to schools and communities in the city of Philadelphia. For example, she has brought new insights to teacher training at institutions such as the Department of Linguistics at the University of Natal in South Africa; the Instituto de Estudos de Linguagem at the Universidad Estadual de Campinas in Brazil; the Andean Linguistics Program at the Colegio Andino in Peru; the Universidad Mayor de San Simón in Bolivia; and the National Institute of Education in Singapore as well as the School District of Philadelphia.  Always wary of the expert’s mantle, Hornberger rarely seeks to offer her own solutions to local issues, but rather strives to help educators develop the ‘means to solve their own problems,’ as she explained in her 2006 pro-seminar.
Hornberger has inspired a long of line scholars to follow her example, not least her many doctoral students.  In her 25 years at Penn, she has supervised over forty-five dissertations and served as a committee member on numerous others.  Her students continue the tradition of problem-oriented language research with a global perspective, working in countries such as Botswana, Britain, Ecuador, Eritrea, Israel, Japan, Malaysia, Namibia, Pakistan, Peru, Sweden, and Turkey as well as with many linguistic minority communities in the United States. This volume illustrates the impact that Hornberger’s work has had on the field of educational linguistics as the authors – all of whom are her former students or close colleagues – strive to work ‘the local globally and the global locally’ in their research ‘on (the role of) language (in) learning and teaching’ (Hornberger, 2001: 19).
We feel very lucky to have been part of this group, as we have both benefitted tremendously in our own academic careers from Nancy Hornberger’s careful guidance. We continue to be inspired by her dedication as we mentor our own students and develop our own lines of research.  Working together on this volume in tribute to Hornberger has very much been, for both of us, a productive and enriching experience.
Since she first took the stage as a junior scholar, Hornberger has continued to be a strong voice in the field, as a soloist and as a member of the choir.  It is our hope that this volume will serve both as a tribute to Hornberger’s legacy and as a point of departure for the lyrics yet to be written about the topical, theoretical, and methodological issues that continue to resonate in educational linguistics across the globe.  Long may the songs of equity, access and multilingual education be heard!’

Francis Hult and Kendall King

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