1st Edition

Language Incompetence
Learning to Communicate through Cancer, Disability, and Anomalous Embodiment

  • Available for pre-order. Item will ship after March 15, 2022
ISBN 9781032078915
March 15, 2022 Forthcoming by Routledge
264 Pages 18 Color & 8 B/W Illustrations

USD $44.95

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Book Description

This book is framed as a memoir of the author’s journey through a cancer diagnosis and resulting impairments, as he continued his teaching and research activities during and after medical procedures. The narrative weaves together theoretical debates, textual analyses, and ethnographic data from communicative practices to redefine language competence.

The book demonstrates :

  • the generative and resistant value of human vulnerability
  • the importance of vulnerability in motivating engagement with social networks and material ecologies for productive thinking, communication, and community
  • how relational ethics emerge as important for social and communicative life

While language competence was traditionally defined as mentally internalized grammatical knowledge for individual mastery of communication, this book demonstrates the need for distributed, ethical, and embodied practice.

The book is intended for graduate students and researchers in language and literacy studies. It would interest scholars outside these disciplines to understand what language studies can offer to address the role of disabilities, impairments, and debilities in embodied communication and thinking. In the context of the global pandemic, compounded by environmental catastrophes and structural injustices which disproportionately affect marginalized communities, the book helps readers treat human vulnerability as the starting point for ethical social relations, strategic communication, and transformative education.

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Suresh Canagarajah is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Applied Linguistics, English, and Asian Studies. He was the former editor of TESOL Quarterly and President of the American Association of Applied Linguistics.