Joseph M. Valente

I am an Associate Professor of Education at The Pennsylvania State University, where I am the Professor-in-Charge of Early Childhood Education, teach undergraduate courses in the PreK-Grade 4 teacher certification program, and train graduate students in ethnographic and visual research methodologies and post-structural/post-modern theories. I am also the co-Director of the Center for Disability Studies, Core Faculty in the Comparative and International Education program (in the Department of Educational Theory and Policy), and Affiliate Faculty for the Pennsylvania Center for Folklore.

I am an educational anthropologist specializing in children/childhoods, focusing on collectivist approaches to working with language minoritized deaf children and children with disabilities. In my autoethnographic research, I draw from my experiences with multiple markers of “difference” to inform my work—being a “deaf kid” and becoming a “deafer” adult, being warehoused in special education and a nearly-failed academic, being transparent about a lifelong struggle with mental health and the ongoing emotional costs of life as a minoritized academic, and more. I do this autoethnographic work in order to provide a rarely represented insider “voice” for thinking about and challenging taken-for-granted understandings of disabilities and other markers of “differences.”

I was the co-Principal Investigator (with Joseph Tobin and Thomas Horejes) of the video ethnographic study “Kindergartens for the Deaf in Three Countries: Japan, France, and the United States,” funded by The Spencer Foundation. I was also awarded the Ellen Brantlinger Junior Scholar Award from the Annual Second City International Conference on Disability Studies in Education and the Council on Anthropology and Education Presidential Early Career Fellowship from the American Anthropological Association. I am currently serving on the jury committee for The Victor Turner Prize in Ethnographic Writing awarded by The Society for Humanistic Anthropology (SHA).


ETHER Seminar Two Digital Provocation Abstract: Non-Representational Re-Search and A-Signifying Semitics

How can ethico-aesthetic practices of knowing-thinking-feeling make empirically visible the lived, affective qualities of our oft-imperceptible relational ways of knowing and being/becoming? How can attending to the affective, a-signifying, and a-modal help us to consider the ways re-searching shapes and is shaped by our sense of self with others? How can exploring affective, a-signifying, and a-modal realms of sensation and experience through ethico-aesthetic practices open up new possibilities for making sense or sense-making that allows for perceiving ourselves as intra-acting with the relational in-between of human and more-than-human bodies?

In our performance-presentation, we are less interested in producing formal knowledge. Instead we are attempting to “make sense” or rather to be “sense-making” in, through, and with our recent experimentations with the “performative-we” of our deaf/non-deaf becomings (Boldt & Valente, 2021). We aim to offer an example of empirical research that expands beyond scientific-rationalist fixations on realism and representation and that explores worldings beyond the linguistic and knowable in potentializing ethico-aesthetic practices of relating with Other(s).


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