Negotiating voice in translingual literacies: from literacy regimes to contact zones

Suresh Canagarajah, Yumi Matsumoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


Voice in mobile texts has received attention lately among scholars in literacy, sociolinguistics, and rhetoric. Some sociolinguists of globalisation have argued that uptake is shaped by the norms of each literacy regime. Though texts of non-western communities will gain positive uptake in local literacy regimes according to their own norms and resources, they are considered silenced in translocal contexts where elite norms and resources are legitimised. In this article, we analyse the ways in which a Japanese student and her instructor negotiated voice in an American university-level writing course. The case study, deriving from teacher research, shows how both the instructor and the student negotiated uptake for a voice that merged the resources from the student’s own cultural background and the dominant conventions of academic literacies. What made this translingual textual realisation possible was the design of the classroom as a contact zone, along the definition of Mary Louise Pratt. Such a pedagogy provides ecological affordances for the negotiation of competing norms and the emergence of new genres.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)390-406
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 28 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cultural Studies
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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