Taking Hold of Global Englishes: Intensive English Programs as Brokers of Transnational Literacy

Angela Rounsaville


While a great many educational institutions now take part in the complex network of English language learning, this article asks what an institution expressly created to respond to and spur the transnational movement of English language learners, Intensive English Programs (IEPs), can reveal about how literacy is taught and learned transnationally. Specifically, I examine how the transnational political economy of English literacy is negotiated discursively at one US-based IEP (Northwest IEP) through teacher and student talk. From this discourse analysis, I suggest that, in addition to the difficult and time-consuming tasks of language learning, students in my study were involved in and recipients of another, much less visible type of literacy management: the ongoing valuing and defining of each other’s prior literacy-related knowledge vis-à-vis their and other students’ access to global Englishes. Thus, Northwest IEP did more than situate students in relation to privileged English literacy. That institution also served as a broker for the shifting status and subsequent privileging of global Englishes. This dynamic gives insight into how multilingual spaces come to mediate the broader transnational political economy of English literacy. Ultimately, this research shows the value of looking into institutes at the periphery of US higher education, which broadens the field’s linguistic terrain to situate US-based composition as one of many actors across the transnational landscape of higher education.   


literacy studies; transnational literacy; internationalization; transnational political economy; multilingual education

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21623%2F1.3.3.5

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