“To Whom Do We Have Students Write?”: Exploring Rhetorical Agency and Translanguaging in an Indonesian Graduate Writing Classroom

  • Amber Engelson Massachusetts College for Liberal Arts
Keywords: Translanguaging, Translingual agency, graduate student literacy, critical pedagogy, teacher ethnography, Indonesia


In keeping with the recent global turn in literacy and composition studies, this article explores rhetorical agency in an English-medium Indonesian PhD program. Drawing from the critical reflective lens teacher ethnography allows, the author highlights how graduate students at this Indonesian, yet international site negotiated both textually and extra-textually with the critical pedagogy she developed, while she also questions some of her initial assumptions concerning genre, audience, and rhetorical agency. Overall, the data presented here indicates that rather than focusing solely on textual form as a site of critical agency, teachers and scholars should also take into consideration the ways writers appropriate and circulate knowledge to the diverse audiences in their lives, across multiple genres and languages—and as time unfolds. Broadening the lens to account for such translingual agency might also benefit U.S.-based graduate writing pedagogies, the author ultimately suggests.

Author Biography

Amber Engelson, Massachusetts College for Liberal Arts

Amber Engelson is Director of Writing, Director of First-Year Experience, and Assistant Professor of English/Communications at Massachusetts College for Liberal Arts. Her areas of research and teaching include global literacies, feminist rhetorics, first-year writing, and writing center theory and practice. Her published work has appeared in College English and various edited collections.