Transnational Literacy Autobiographies as Translingual Writing: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Transnational Literacy Autobiographies as Translingual Writing

1st Edition

By Suresh Canagarajah


312 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

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pub: 2019-07-17
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The literacy autobiography is a personal narrative reflecting on how one’s experiences of spoken and written words have contributed to their ongoing relationship with language and literacy. Transnational Literacy Autobiographies as Translingual Writing is a cutting-edge study of this engaging genre of writing in academic and professional contexts.

In this state-of-the-art collection, Suresh Canagarajah brings together 11 samples of writing by students which both document their literary journeys and pinpoint the seminal works affecting their development as translingual readers and writers. Integrating the narrative of the author, which is written as his own literacy autobiography, with a close analysis of these texts, this book:

  • presents a case for the literacy autobiography as an archetypal genre that prepares writers for the conventions and processes required in other genres of writing;
  • demonstrates the serious epistemological and rhetorical implications behind the genre of literacy autobiography among migrant scholars and students;
  • effectively translates theoretical publications on language diversity for classroom purposes, providing a transferable teaching approach to translingual writing;
  • analyses the tropes of transnational writers and their craft in ‘meshing’ translingual resources in their writing;
  • demonstrates how transnationalism and translingualism are interconnected, guiding readers towards an understanding of codemeshing not as a cosmetic addition to texts but motivated towards resolving inescapable personal and social dilemmas.

Written and edited by one of the most highly regarded linguists of his generation, this book is key reading for scholars and students of applied linguistics, TESOL and literacy studies, as well as tutors of writing and composition worldwide.


"This is an amazing collection of literacy autobiographies by a group of multilingual language users and a critical engagement with them by Canagarajah, coming directly out of practice but with wide ranging theoretical and methodological implications. There is nothing like it out there, and this volume will really push the boundaries and be a key milestone for literacy studies, translingual writing and language-in-education."

Li Wei, University College London, UK

"At once a treatise on language and writing pedagogy, a collection of translingual and transnational literacy autoethnographies, and a textbook, this is a remarkable publishing feat that, in and through its multifaceted character, demonstrates both the challenges and value of transnational and translingual writing and its teaching."

Bruce Horner, University of Louisville, USA

Table of Contents


Section 1:

Preface: கற்பனை: An invitation

Chapter 1: Literacy Autobiographies in Transnational Space

Chapter 2: The Shaping of Literacy Autobiographies

Chapter 3: Emergence of the Translingual Subject

Chapter 4: Negotiation Strategies in Transnational Literacies

Chapter 5: Dispositions in Learning and Teaching

Chapter 6: கற்றது கை மண்ணளவு கல்லாதது உலகளவு

Section 2:

  1. Ruth Parrish Sauder: Writing toward Beauty
  2. Bendi Tso: Rediscovering Heritage Identity through Literacy
  3. Lifeng Miao: Writing with a Chinese Heart
  4. Jialei Jiang: Image and Learning: The Story of My Literacy
  5. Randi Anderson: The Mermaid’s Immortal Soul: Myth, Disillusionment, and the Birth of a Translingual Identity
  6. Jingjing Lai: Negotiating Contrasting Languages and Rhetorics
  7. Shuo Zhao: Beyond Contrastive Rhetoric: My First and Second Language Literacy Development
  8. Xiaoqing Ge: Shuttling between Three Languages and Rhetorics
  9. Eunjeong Lee: Reconstructing Voice: A Personal Journey
  10. Natalia A. Guzman: Buenos Aires Mon Amour: Memories from Learning to Become a Pluriliterate Teacher
  11. Michael Chesnut: Recreation and Education: Exploring my Embodied Engagement in English and Korean Literacies


About the Author

Suresh Canagarajah is Edwin Erle Sparks Professor of Applied Linguistics, English, and Asian Studies and Director of the Migration Studies Project in the Departments of Applied Linguistics and English at Pennsylvania State University, USA.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LANGUAGE ARTS & DISCIPLINES / Linguistics / General