1st Edition

Literacy Autobiographies from the Global South An Autoethnographic Study of English Literacy in China

By Shizhou Yang Copyright 2023
    200 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    200 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Drawing on autoethnographic research on literacy autobiographies from a Chinese EFL writing context, this book provides unique insights into literacy, voice, translingualism, and critical pedagogy from a Global South perspective.

    The book presents literacy autobiographies as a cultural tool for analyzing and refashioning learners’ and teachers’ sense of self in ever-expanding dialogical spaces. In addition to highlighting teachers’ own stories around autoethnographies and translanguaging, it showcases literacy autobiographies from Chinese students themselves. The book theorizes the Global South as an ontological positioning that challenges colonial mindsets and practices concerning literacy, language learning, and narratives. It argues that literacy autobiographies from a Global South perspective can be reimagined as critical pedagogy for EFL writing teaching and learning, as well as teacher development.

    Validating and expanding student voices by presenting these literacy autobiographies, this book will be of great interest to researchers and students in the fields of TESOL, applied linguistics, English language teaching, second language writing, and literacy studies.



    Part 1 – A Teacher’s Stories

    1. An EFL Writing Teacher’s Poetic Autoethnography of Literacy Autobiography

    2. My Own Literacy Autobiography

    Part 2 – Theory and Empirical Studies

    3. Literacy Autobiographical Writing as Critical Pedagogy

    4. Pedagogical Translanguaging Behind Literacy Autobiographical Writing

    5. The Emergence of Translingualism in an EFL Writer’s LA

    6. Voice Construction Beyond Translingualism

    Part 3 – Student’s Literacy Autobiographies

    7. My Literacy Rooted in Chinese Culture

    8. A Learning Cycle of Reading and Writing in English and Chinese

    9. My Bilingual Journey

    10. A Literacy History of My Early Twenty Years

    11. A Journey of Reading and Writing in Chinese and English

    12. My Footprints of Language Learning

    13. A Way to Memorize: Reading and Writing

    14. My Road on Acquisition of Reading and Writing

    15. My Conquest of Language

    16. My Journey to Literacy




    Shizhou Yang is a second language writer, writing teacher, and researcher in the English Communication Department at Payap University, Thailand.

    "Shizhou Yang has taken an innovative Global South perspective on literacy autobiographies with stories by himself as an EFL writing teacher as well as those by his students from China in diverse transnational contexts. The result is a fascinating and thought-provoking account that not only contributes to theoretical discussions of concepts such as critical pedagogy, translanguaging, and writing ecology, but also to pedagogical practices that will truly enable and empower the learners, and the teachers, to develop their own voices. As such, it is a major contribution to translingual and decolonising turn in language education research."

    Professor Li Wei, Director & Dean, UCL Institute of Education, University College London, UK.


    Like his cicada after its long formation,

    Shizhou emerges with translingual poetry

    Breaking free from the global and colonizing

    Pressures against his voice in literacy.

    Not alone, he emerges with his whole musical army—

    His students—with their own translingual story.

    But these cicadas won’t die too quickly;

    Their voices will transform the dominant pedagogy. 


    Suresh Canagarajah, Edwin Erle Sparks Professor, Pennsylvania State University


    "This is a captivating book about the liberating intellectual journey of Shizhou Yang, who has found his voice and identity as a multilingual scholar through writing his own literacy autobiography. Also featuring the autobiographical writing of the author’s students situated in a marginalized context, the book celebrates the power of literacy autobiography as an undervalued genre in EFL contexts, demonstrating how it is intertwined with identity work, voice development, and knowledge creation. I highly recommend the book to everyone."

    Icy Lee, Professor, Faculty of Education, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, China


    "Featuring literacy autobiography and poetic inquiry as methodology, this book has provided EFL teachers and students with a proven way to gain liberation from the shackles of modernism and neoliberalism. It is a must-read for anyone who is keen in search for Southern epistemologies in English language teaching."

    Xiaoye You, Liberal Arts Professor of English and Asian Studies, Pennsylvania State University, USA