Date of Award

May 2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Alice Gillam

Committee Members

Mary Louise Buley-Meissner, Patricia Mayes, Kumkum Sangari, Anna Mansson McGinty


Composition, Literacy, Refugees, Sponsorship, Transnationalism


"Emissaries of Literacy: Refugee Studies and Transnational Composition" uses qualitative research in refugee communities and textual analysis of stories written by and about refugees to argue that the experiences of resettled refugees, as well as the experiences of the volunteers, aid workers, tutors, and teachers who work with them, do not fit neatly within composition's current paradigms for studying literacy in global contexts. Refugee identity and experience shows a complex link between literacy and citizenship which is complicated by the economic and geographic histories of linguistic imperialism. Refugee perspectives, and more precisely the challenges they pose, can help composition scholars and teachers rethink our established modes of inquiry.