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University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

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UW-Eau Claire Social Work Professor
Wins Scholarship Award

MAILED: Oct. 31, 2002

         EAU CLAIRE  The I. DeQuincey Newman Institute for Peace and Social Justice awarded Dr. La Vonne Cornell-Swanson, assistant professor of social work at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, the I. DeQuincey Newman Social and Economic Justice Scholarship Award Oct. 14 at the Fourth Annual Diversity Conference for Social Work Education and Practice.
         Cornell-Swanson presented a paper titled “Deafness from the Sociocultural Perspective: The Results of an Ethnographic Study Conducted in an American Sign Language Immersion Classroom” at the conference, hosted by the University of South Carolina.
         Cornell-Swanson said she was very honored to receive the award and believes it helps to support further research on deaf culture.
         “Although many people don’t realize it or understand it, there is a deaf community that defines itself through its language and culture,” Cornell-Swanson said. “It is time that we consider deafness outside of the deficit model of disability.”
         Cornell-Swanson’s research suggests American Sign Language is the cultural marker for the deaf signing community. For example, storytelling genres unique to ASL have been passed down from generation to generation in the deaf signing community.
Cornell-Swanson earned a doctorate in cultural and linguistic anthropology from UW-Milwaukee before arriving at UW-Eau Claire in the fall of 2001.
         She is the first recipient of the award, which is granted to support young scholars in the areas of social justice, peace and diversity.
         The award is named in honor of Reverend I. DeQuincey Newman, a leader in the civil rights movement in South Carolina. Newman was the state director of the American Civil Liberties Union until 1969 and in 1983 was elected as South Carolina’s first black senator since 1886.
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Updated: October 31, 2002