Upcoming Event

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New Voices in Decolonial Student Mobility - Dialogues Between Emerging and Established Scholars (Part IIa) (November 28, 2022)

In this two-part event, our last of the calendar year, we continue our series in which early-career scholars share their emerging work with the GC-SARA family. We are pleased to offer presentations that explore relatively under-researched home-host pairings: Middle Eastern students in Germany and African students in China. We will also engage with work on Global Citizenship Education in the context of Chinese higher education and internationalization as a discourse that shapes the self-perception of international students in Canada. We are continuing with our format of short video presentations uploaded for viewing prior to the live Q&As.  


Hongni Gou

Richard Feddersen

Please note Part II of this event will be split into two sessions - one of November 28 and the other on November 30. Click here to see details Part IIb on November 30.

Part IIa with Hongni and Richard will live on Zoom starting at 11am Atlantic. Find your local time here.

Please watch the videos before attending the live Q&A.

Hongni Gou, Ph.D. candidate, Second Language Acquisition and Teaching Program (SLAT); Graduate Assistant Director, International Foundations Writing (UA IFW), University of Arizona

Discussant: Dr. Yi Wang, Lecturer, Department of Asian & Asian American Studies, Stony Brook University (New York)


Identity and Language Learning in Study Abroad: An Ethnographic Study of African Students in China


Previous research has shown that sojourners’ identity issues play a significant role in shaping their language learning experiences in studying abroad since they need to constantly construct and negotiate their sense of self in the host community through everyday encounters (Block, 2007). However, race as a salient aspect of identity has long been overlooked in SA literature. With the economic and educational cooperation between Africa and China during the last two decades, China has become the second largest destination country for international students from Africa (Ministry of Education, 2019). Despite the rapid growth of African students in China and their interest in the Chinese language, surprisingly little research to date has explored Black African students’ racial identity negotiation as well as its impact on their language learning and use in the host community. 

Drawing on Norton’s (2000) conceptualization of identity, this ethnographic case study aims to investigate the experiences of Black African students studying abroad in China, with a particular focus on their racialized identity negotiation and language learning. Specifically, the study aims to explore the following research questions: 1) How do African students interpret, construct and negotiate their racialized identities through language when they study abroad in China? 2) If applicable, how do racialized identities intersect with other identity aspects such as gender, nationality, etc.? 3) How does their identity negotiation shape their language learning? To answer these questions, 6 participants will be recruited from a Chinese university. Data collection methods will include semi-structured interviews, field observations, and audio diaries with a total of 8-month data collection duration. Both content analysis and discourse analysis will be employed for data analysis. By enriching the understanding of African students’ study abroad experiences in China, the research may also contribute to the social visibility of international students from the Global South as well as equity and inclusiveness of SA scholarship in the second language acquisition field. 

Richard Feddersen, Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Alberta

Discussant: Dr. Khaled Al Masaeed, Associate Professor of Arabic Studies and Second Language Acquisition and Coordinator of Arabic Studies at Carnegie Mellon University


In my dissertation, I examine knowledge and confidence displays regarding German-speaking countries and the German language, exhibited by learners and instructors of German as a second language (L2) in Jordan. Using tools from discourse analysis, interactional sociolinguistics, and conversation analysis, I analyze how such knowledge and confidence displays serve to construct identity, in particular how professional and cultural identity overlap or differ. At the point of data collection, the student participants were taking their last German course before embarking on their mandatory study abroad program. My data consists of class recordings (video and audio), recorded interviews with five students of architecture and design, and their instructor, from 2019 during a B1+ L2 German intensive course at a university in Jordan.

My study is an ongoing project and aims to connect knowledge displays and L2 learner identities. As learner identities - especially how learners position themselves - have not often been examined turn by turn, this study will enrich educational research by applying methods from sociolinguistics, adding an interdisciplinary perspective. The benefit of my analytical approach is the ability to look beyond the surface level of communication, and capture the complexity of identity, which does not consist of a static set of categories, but is actively constructed turn by turn. Pedagogical implications of this study may include the potential to better understand learners’ displays of confidence in regard to the L2, and possibly identify how instructors can improve classroom communication.