Bita Bookman

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Gloria Park

Second Advisor

Dana Lynn Driscoll

Third Advisor

Marjorie J. Zambrano-Paff


This dissertation study explores the transnational journeys, identities, and scholarship practices of five foreign-born, transnational, TESOL teacher-scholars. Positioning theory (Davies & Harré, 1999; Harré & Van Langenhove, 1999) was used to examine how the participants positioned themselves and others in their social fields and how they perceived their transnational lives as well as their teaching, research, and service practices. Data was collected through written questionnaires, semi-structured interviews, and researcher journal. The semi-structured interviews elicited participants’ narratives, critical incidents, and narratives of personal artifacts. Grounded in a social constructionist paradigm and using elements of narrative inquiry (Clandinin & Connelly, 2000) the participants’ narratives were analyzed using narrative positioning analysis (Kayi-Aydar, 2019) and qualitative thematic analysis. Micro practices were put into the broader contexts of meso and macro structures to highlight the lived experiences, opportunities, and challenges the participants encountered in their transnational social fields.

Findings reveal that while the foreign-born transnational teacher-scholars negotiated complex and diverse identities, they used their transnational past and present as an asset and a form of capital in their teaching, research, and service scholarships. The results also indicate that the relationship between transnationality and scholarship practices is bidirectional and reciprocal as they shape and are shaped by one another. Additionally, this study provides empirical evidence that the concepts of belonging, mobility, and functional identity are a continuum on which foreign-born transnational teacher-scholars are positioned at different points. It also appears that while the participants received varying levels of institutional support, obtaining tenure generally increased their sense of empowerment. Furthermore, this study sheds light on the continuum of privilege and marginalization that the foreign-born transnational teachers-scholar participants encountered.

This dissertation contributes to literature on faculty practices, teacher-scholar identities, and transnationalism. The findings from this study can be used by teacher-education programs and higher-education institutions to create campus communities that recognize transnational identities as diverse and multifaceted, engage faculty and students in self-reflection to see their transnationality as a strength, create inclusive and supportive communities both on and off campus, and view transnational faculty as an effective way for internationalizing the curriculum.

Available for download on Wednesday, May 05, 2021