The Center for Writing Studies

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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Colloquium Archive

Yu-Kyung Kang

Name: Yu-Kyung Kang, English

Presentation Title: Translingual Approaches in the "Intimate University": Implementing a Korean Single-Language Writing Group

Date: January 30, 2014


Since 2005, the international student population at the University of Illinois has been sharply increasing. In this changing university context, international students often experience linguistic isolation and have not been provided sufficient language resources to succeed at the University. As these groups become socially, culturally, and academically segregated, resulting in what Nancy Abelmann calls the "intimate university" (2009), they are left to navigate a dubious space that is both welcoming and exclusionary. This presentation draws on my dissertation research with post-early study abroad Korean undergraduate students and focuses on my experience organizing a single-language writing group in the Writers Workshop in Spring 2012. In this presentation, I will specifically explore how this single-language writing group acts as an institutional intervention that contributes to and reshapes the literate ecology of students' transnational experiences. I argue that this writing group was a translingual site where the students treated writing not solely as language norms or textual structures but as part of the larger context of their history, culture, and social relations. It was a space where students, primarily using their first language, often reflected on their language ideologies and experiences of segregation at the University. Ultimately, I claim that translingual approaches must take into account the institutional context in which they are applied.