Spring 2016

Let’s Talk 2016 : Language and Identity

May 5 - 6, 2016

McKenna Hall, Room 200
Notre Dame, IN 46556

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The relationship between language and identity has been investigated in many disciplines such as anthropology, education, linguistics and literature. Language use reveals speaker's’ social identity, and membership. For the language learners, language learning experience reconstruct their identities. There are many theories about language and identity from traditional model (identity being static) and postmodernism model (identity is a site of struggle power).  Despite the research interests in language and identity, it seems that scholars seldom have an opportunity to have an academic discussion on this topic. Let’s Talk 2016 will bring the scholars from different disciplines and redefine the role of language in social identity construction.   


Keynote Speakers


Youngjoo Yi is an Associate Professor in Foreign and Second Language Education in the College of Education at the Ohio State University. Her teaching has revolved around the areas of middle and secondary students’ English language learning in the U.S. and Asia, K-16 foreign/heritage language instruction, and graduate-level courses in TESOL and literacy education. Her major research interests include English language learners’ literacy learning, with most of her research focusing on adolescent multilingual students’ literacy practices in and outside of school and their identity construction. She has recently examined issues around digital and multimodal literacies of multilingual students (including their navigation between print-based and digitally-mediated multimodal literacies) and ESOL teachers’ perceptions, experiences, and implementation of multimodal literacies and technology in the classroom.


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Susan D. Blum is Professor of Anthropology at the University of Notre Dame, where she has taught since 2000. Previous appointments have been at The University of Pennsylvania, The University of Colorado Denver, The University of Denver, and Oklahoma State University. A cultural, linguistic, and psychological anthropologist, Blum has been motivated by big questions: What does the world look and feel like to people, and what are the factors that shaped those views? In pursuit of this question she has researched the assumptions people in a variety of settings—especially China and the United States—make about how the world is and how it should be, and how they evaluate other people’s behavior. More specifically, she has written about the nature of individual and social identity (Portraits of “Primitives”: Ordering Human Kinds in the Chinese Nation, Rowman & Littlefield), cultural and linguistic diversity, the morality of truth and deception across cultures (Lies that Bind: Chinese Truth, Other Truths, Rowman & Littlefield), the nature of authorship and achievement in higher education (My Word! Plagiarism and College Culture, Cornell University Press), and the meanings of food production and consumption. Her most recent focus on the role of formal education in the creation of self, well-being, and meaning appears in “I Love Learning; I Hate School”: An Anthropology of College (Cornell University Press). She is currently writing Language and Social Justice (Routledge). She is also the editor of three editions of Making Sense of Language: Readings in Culture and Communication (Oxford University Press), a widely used work in classes on sociolinguistics, linguistic anthropology, and communications.


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May 5, 2016 (Thursday)

8:00-9:00: Continental Breakfast

9:00-9:15: Opening and Welcome Remarks by Denise Ayo, Acting Director of Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures

9:15-10:15: Keynote Address: Susan Blum, Professor, Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame, "Playing with Language and Identity"

10:15-10:30: Coffee Break

10:30-12:00: Panel I: Multilingual students’ Identity Construction in and outside of academic contexts; Chair: Yongping Zhu, Associate Professor and Chairperson of East Asian languages and Cultures, University of Notre Dame

  • Chaoran Wang, Indiana University, "Construction and negotiation of a multilingual writer's identities: A Case study of a Chinese science student in American college"
  • Ji-young Shin & Zhaozhe Wang, Purdue University, "Reflective Writing and undergraduate L2 writer' identity construction in their imagined communities"
  • Yuting He, Saint Mary's College, "Interactions between Second Language Learners’ Language Application and Their Social Identity Orientation  --The Case Study of Chinese-speaking International Students’ English Application at Their Early Arrival in the U.S."

1:30-3:00: Panel II: Theoretical and Methodological Issues in Identity Research; Chair: John Duffy, Associate Professor of English, Department of English, University of Notre Dame

  • Mengyi Bridget Chen, The Ohio State University, "Photo Methods in Researching Language Learner Identity"
  • Zhaozhe Wang, Purdue University, "A Reconceptualization of Identity in SLA and Writing Research"
  • JesAlana Stewart, Indiana University, "A Translingual Approach to Teaching Reader/Writer Responsible Rhetorical Differences"

3:00-3:30: Coffee Break

3:30-5:00: Panel III: Pedagogical Issues in teaching languages and addressing identity construction; Chair: Mana Derakhshani, Professor of French in the Department of Modern Languages, Saint Mary’s College

  • Olga Lyanda-Geller, Purdue University, "Do We Really See the Rainbow Differently From Word to Concept: The case of color 'Blue' in Russian"
  • Azeb Haileselassie, University of Notre Dame, "Rethinking French Language Learning"
  • Yue Cui, The Ohio State University, "Critical Media Literacy and Identity Negotiation in a Second Language Classroom"


May 6, 2016 (Friday)

8:00-9:00: Continental Breakfast

9:00-10:00: Keynote Address: Youngjoo Yi, Associate Professor, Department of Teaching and Learning, The Ohio State University, "Identity Matters: Negotiating identities through multilingual and multimodal practices"

10:00-10:30: Coffee Break

10:30-12:00: Panel IV: Auto-ethnographic studies of identity negotiation; Chair: Connie Snyder Mick, Associate Director of Center for Social Concerns, University of Notre Dame

  • Mateus Yumarnamto, Indiana University, "From a Cassava-Tongued Student to an Aspirant Teacher Educator Activist: An Autoethnography"
  • Meng Zhang, The Ohio State University, "Exploring the Resources and Capitals in Non-Native English Speaking Doctoral Students' Academic Socialization: An Auto ethnographic Study"
  • Sara Clark, Ohio State University, "Negotiating Multiple Identities: From Language Teacher to Language Researcher"

12:00-1:30: Lunch

1:30-3:00 Panel V: Addressing linguistically and culturally diverse learners and their identities; Holly Martin, Associate Dean for Advising and Academic Programs, University of Notre Dame

  • Lesley Smith, South Bend Community School Corporation, "Learner and "learning' Identity in the adult ESL community classroom: A comparative case-study"
  • Erin Moira Lemrow, University of Notre Dame, "Learning About Linguistic Diversity in a First Year Elective Learning Course"
  • Cassidy Riddlebarger, Indiana University, "Woori English: Negotiating Korean English and American English"

3:00-3:30: Coffee Break

3:30-5:00: Panel VI: Sociocultural, political, and ideological conversations around identity in Various Contexts; Chair: Yeonhee Yoon, Associate Professor of the Practice, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures

  • Wade Edwards, Longwood University, "The Language of Disabilities: Identity and Inclusion"
  • Rebecca Wicker, Columbia University, "Lessons Learnt from the Sinhala-only Act of 1956: Language Policy and linguistic Implications for 21st C Sri Lanka"
  • Kingsley Ugwuanyi, University of Nigeria, "Nsukka, English and the construction of National Identity in Nigeria: An Ethnolinguistic investigation"

5:00 Closing Remarks by Hana Kang, Associate Professor of the Practice, Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and the Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures


Parking Information

Visitors, guests, including parents, must obtain a guest pass. Passes are available at the Main Gate, East Gate, or from the Parking Office located in Hammes Mowbray Hall. You can find the Main and East Gate locations from the following map. Use the Notre Dame interactive map to navigate the campus.




For more information, please contact:

Hana Kang, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of the Practice
Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures & Center for the Study of Languages and Cultures