Plenary Speakers

Plenary I

Participating in Academic Publishing in the Inner Circle: A Taiwan Perspective

Hui-Tzu Min (閔慧慈)
National Cheng Kung University (國立成功大學)

An increasing wealth of research has focused on examining how nonnative English speaking academics in the “expanding circle” (Kachru, 2001, p. 520) strive to win acceptance by the academia in the center via publishing in English in international refereed journals. This line of research has shown that academics from most peripheral countries where English is a foreign language, compared with their native English speaking counterparts in the “inner circle” and nonnative English speaking ones in the “outer circle”, suffer from a dual inherent disadvantage--linguistic unsophistication and intellectual estrangement due to geographic isolation-- to a much greater extent. It is thus imperative to understand how scholars from these countries grapple with these challenges. This talk will focus on the publishing experiences of a group of applied linguists in Taiwan. It starts with an overview of the recent development of the policy on higher education in Taiwan that aims to enhance the quality of local research output, and thereby the ranking of local universities among Asian or international top-tier universities. Then it will address the impact of such a policy on pursuing academic excellence on scholars’ exclusive choice of certain venues for publishing their research output and the difficulties they encounter in the process. It will end with suggestions, both to the mainstream academia and the local government, institutions and departments, for facilitating these local scholars to share their voices in the center academia.

Hui-Tzu Min is Professor at Department of Foreign Languages and Literature, National Cheng Kung University, Taiwan. Her areas of interest include EFL reading and writing and bilingual children’s code-switching. She has published in Language Learning, Journal of Second Language Writing, English for Specific Purposes, System, Computers and Education, Behaviour & Information Technology, Bulletin of Educational Research and Bulletin of Educational Psychology. She has been in charge of Freshmen English curricular reform and English teacher professional development at her university for the past three years.


Plenary II

Writing for Publication in English

John Flowerdew
City University of Hong Kong

While it is difficult to find firm evidence of intentional discrimination against scholarly writers who use English as an additional language, there is not doubt that in general they are at a disadvantage to native speakers. As Van Dijk (1994:276) has put it, such writers suffer “the triple disadvantage of having to read, do research and write in another language.” In this presentation, I will offer some ideas on how the difficulties experienced by scholarly writers who use English as an additional language might be conceptualized. I will talk about plagiarism, the experiences of a manuscript editor, and Goffman’s notion of “stigma”.

John Flowerdew is a Professor in the Department of English, City University of Hong Kong. As well as writing and editing a number of books, including four edited collections on academic discourse, he has published widely in the leading Applied Linguistics, Language Teaching and Discourse Analysis journals, focusing on academic and political discourse. One of his main areas of interest is writing for publication. His most recent edited book (with Vijay Bhatia and Rodney Jones) is Advances in Discourse Studies (Routledge) (2008).


Plenary III

Publish or Perish: The Myth and Reality of Academic Publishing

Icy Lee
The Chinese University of Hong Kong

While writing for scholarly publications is considered a crucial dimension of the work for academics, the “publish or perish” principle in our field has increasingly caused anxiety and induced stress among not only young academics but also more established scholars. Using my own publishing experience as a point of departure, I examine the why, what, who, and where of academic publishing. Through experience sharing, I challenge the taken-for-granted assumption that knowledge contribution should be solely or mainly gauged on the basis of the venue of publications. By comparing my experience and perspectives with those of some Asia-based scholars based on data collected from email interviews, I propose that what defines “scholarly” publications rests upon what we as academics can accomplish through disseminating and advancing knowledge in our field. Using the game metaphor, I conclude by offering some tips on academic publishing.

Icy Lee is an associate professor in the Faculty of Education at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She received her PhD from the University of Hong Kong. She has published in more than ten international journals, including the Journal of Second Language Writing, Canadian Modern Language Review, ELT Journal, and System. She is on the editorial boards of the Journal of Second Language Writing, Assessing Writing, and TESL Canada Journal. Currently, she is Incoming Chair (Chair in June 2011) of the Nonnative English Speaking Teachers Interest Section of TESOL and President of Hong Kong Association for Applied Linguistics (Immediate Past President in June 2011). She is the recipient of the 1999 TESOL Award for Excellence in Development of Pedagogical Materials and 2010 TESOL Award for Excellence in Teaching. Her article “Understanding teachers’ written feedback practices in Hong Kong secondary classrooms” has won the 2008 Journal of Second Language Best Article Award.


Plenary IV

Publishing in English: Mobilizing the Resources of Academic Research Networks

Mary Jane Curry
University of Rochester

Theresa Lillis
Open University
United Kingdom

Multilingual scholars and graduate students located outside of Anglophone contexts face growing pressure to publish in English, especially in high status English-medium journals. However, they often have limited resources to meet such demands from their institutions or governments. In this talk we present findings from an eight-year longitudinal “text-ethnographic” study, “Professional Academic Writing in a Global Context,” exploring how 50 psychology and education scholars in southern and central Europe are responding to such pressure. A key finding indicates that to for multilingual scholars to secure publication in English-medium journals, they may need more than individual linguistic and rhetorical competence alone. Rather, participation in academic research networks functions as a key resource for multilingual scholars’ publishing. We examine the importance of networks and track how scholars gain access to and participate in them, in some cases through their ties to “network brokers” who are centrally located in networks and can facilitate others’ entry into them. We foreground several core dimensions of academic research networks: local and transnational, formal and informal, strong and weak, durable and temporary and explore what these dimensions signify in terms of providing scholars access to resources for publishing. Our research suggests that strong, local, durable networks are crucial to enabling scholars’ participation in transnational networks, which in turn support publishing in English. We conclude by considering the implications of this finding for English language teaching and materials development and suggest an approach to teaching about writing for publication that is grounded in empirical research findings.

Mary Jane Curry is associate professor of language education at the University of Rochester. Previously she was Research Fellow in Academic Literacy at the Open University and taught at the universities of Massachusetts and Wisconsin. Curry has co-authored Academic writing in a global context: The politics and practices of publishing in English (Routledge, 2010), Teaching academic writing: A toolkit for higher education (Routledge, 2003) as well as articles in TESOL Quarterly (2004), Written Communication (2006), Revista Canaria de Estudios Ingleses (2006), International Journal of Applied Linguistics (2010), English for Specific Purposes (2010), and a chapter on materials development in EAP (2010). She has published in Literacy and Numeracy Studies, Studies in the Education of Adults, and Community College Review (2004), and in Margolis (2001), The hidden curriculum in higher education; Albright and Luke, (2007), Pierre Bourdieu and literacy education, and Widoyo and Cirocki (in press), Innovation and creativity in ELT methodology.

Theresa Lillis is senior lecturer in the Centre for Language and Communication at the Open University. She has taught English as a second language at primary, secondary, adult and higher education levels, as well as designing university courses in applied and social linguistics. She is author of Student writing: Access, regulation, and desire (Routledge, 2001) and co-author of a number of books, including Academic writing in a global context: The politics and practices of publishing in English (Routledge, 2010), Teaching academic writing: A toolkit for higher education (Routledge, 2003), and A Dictionary of Sociolinguistics (Edinburgh University Press, 2004). She is co-editor of Language, literacy and education: A reader (Trentham Books, 2003), Redesigning English (Routledge, 2007), Applied Linguistics Methods (Routledge 2009) and Why writing matters (Benjamins 2009). She has published in Language and Education, Written Communication, TESOL Quarterly, International Journal of Applied Linguistics, Journal of English for Academic Purposes and Journal of Applied Linguistics.


Plenary V

Negotiating Literacy Regimes: Prospects for Publishing from the Periphery

A. Suresh Canagarajah
Pennsylvania State University

Blommaert introduces the metaphor of mobility to understand literacy in the context of globalization, in his Grassroots Literacy (2008). He considers how limitations in resources affect the uptake of traveling texts from outside elite circles. Thus he brings an orientation to the ways in which differences in writing conventions in one community may lead to silence and marginalization in another literacy regime. However, while Blommaert focuses only on the constraints and limitations for texts that travel, my research suggests that periphery authors have the capacity to negotiate effectively to gain voice in elite and privileged publishing contexts. Such a perspective will provide agency for periphery authors, when Blommaert’s perspective treats these writers as victimized by their conditions of limitation. Also, rather than perceiving such limitations as leading to deficiency, we should look at how they construct alternate literacy practices that display strengths and local relevance.

Based on my ethnographies on periphery academic writing, I will provide examples of effective negotiation by local scholars. I will outline some strategies that help periphery authors negotiate successful publication. However, such negotiation cannot be one-sided. Editors and gatekeepers also have to be open to reading texts that diverge from normative genre and language conventions with greater openness. I will outline some developments in academic culture and publishing that show a loosening of norms and openness to a plurality of discourses. Though Blommaert’s orientation to the power-ridden nature of literacy across cultural and national boundaries should be taken seriously, this presentation will articulate modes of negotiating constraints and differences effectively to represent local knowledge.

Suresh Canagarajah is the Kirby Professor in Language Learning and Director of the Migration Studies Project at Pennsylvania State University. He holds a joint appointment in the departments of English and Applied Linguistics. He has taught before in the University of Jaffna, Sri Lanka, and the City University of New York. His book Resisting Linguistic Imperialism in English Teaching (OUP, 1999) won Modern Language Association’s Mina Shaughnessy Award for the best research publication on the teaching of language and literacy. His subsequent publication Geopolitics of Academic Writing (UPittsburgh Press 2002) won the Gary Olson Award for the best book in social and rhetorical theory. His study of World Englishes in Composition won the 2007 Braddock Award for the best article in the College Composition and Communication journal. He is the former editor of TESOL Quarterly.