Date of Award

Spring 5-2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Usree Bhattacharya, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Curtis Porter, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Gloria Park, Ph.D.


This qualitative case study explores how five multilingual student writers (re)negotiate their multilingual literacies histories with emergent U.S. academic writing conventions as part of a first-year multilingual composition (FYMC) class. In pursuit of examining this (re)negotiation, first, I define multilingual literacies as nomadic (Ciolfi & de Carvalho, 2014) and rhizomatic (Amorim & Ryan, 2005; Deleuze & Guattari, 1987; Lian, 2011) by nature, and complicate this relation by considering this group of learners as internationally mobile (Dervin, 2011; Dervin & Byram, 2009). Particularly, this allows seeing them not as trapped in cultural heterotopias (Foucault, 1967; Dervin, 2009), spaces that predefine their cultural belonging and their literacy experience. On the contrary, it gives a chance to consider them as uniquely patching into different communities (along with FYMC), and thus moving their multilingual literacies practices to transcend their meaning making across different geographies they inhabit.

Then, framed into the conceptions of multilingualism as symbolic lingua (Bailey, 2012; Blommaert, 2010; Blommaert et al., 2005; Kramsch, 2009; Makoni & Mashiri, 2007); New Literacy Studies (Barton et al., 2000; Barton & Hamilton, 2005; Street, 1984, 2003; Street & Lefstein, 2007), social mediation of learning (Lantolf et al., 2014; Lave & Wenger, 1991; Rogoff, 1990; Vygotsky, 1962, 1978; Wenger, 1999), and international academic mobility (Byram & Dervin, 2008; Dervin, 2009; 2011), this study illuminates how, by employing semi-structured interviews, observations, and artifact analysis, their meaning-making processes become shaped by new educational settings, and how these students (re) negotiate those with their lived/remembered languages and literacies backgrounds.

The thematic analysis conducted in Chapter Four revealed three contingent themes that the students, situated within ideological/sociocultural/sociopolitical settings of one FYMC class, crocheted patterns of multilingual literacies in-flux as aligned with U.S. academic conventions:

(1) rhetoric of borderness;

(2) ownership of languages;

(3) nomadicity of experiences valued in academia.

These themes of alignment also allowed me to conceptualize their (re)negotiation of literacy experiences in these emergent settings: (a) valued literacies shifts to engage with borderness; (b) and valued languages as resources to engage with situated contexts.

Based on these findings, the follow-up implications necessitate a more sensible and powerful educational approach within/to FYMC conventions in pursuit of visualizing and further interacting/enriching/learning from those multilingual literacies repertoires contents and rhetorical contours. Those contents and rhetorical contours may help to rehash educational and research approaches in the realm and in-between the fields of writing and rhetoric, applied linguistics, literacy studies, and educational practices.