Date of Award

May 2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



First Advisor

Rachel Bloom-Pojar

Committee Members

Shevaun Watson, Maria Novotny, Tatiana Joseph


Composition, Cultural rhetorics, Inclusivity, Translingual, Transnational, Undergraduate


In this dissertation, I present two studies on transnational, multilingual undergraduate students which focus on students’ rich, complex communication patterns across contexts. First, I examine the linguistic, literate, rhetorical, and cultural resources they deploy to make meaning across non-academic contexts as they take care of everyday tasks, navigate different linguistic and cultural landscapes, build relationships, and broker meaning for others. Next, I explore how the students mobilize their multiple resources and strategies to learn, write, and co-construct meaning with others in academic contexts. I discuss how these strategies are often constrained by English Only discourses and policies in the classroom and, at times, by students’ own competing attitudes towards their own and others’ language and knowledge-making practices. I argue that transnational, multilingual students’ resources are often both invisible and undervalued in academic contexts – to the students themselves and their teachers. Students often feel it is inappropriate or irrelevant for them to draw from their many resources and their lived experience in U.S. classrooms, but I also contend that writing teachers, administrators, and the field of Rhetoric and Composition have a “blind spot” (Donahue) with regards to transnational students, and that increased attention to this population is vital. Not only are higher education demographics changing rapidly, but – in a field that aims to be inclusive – we need to orient better to the border thinking, translingual and translation practices, and the rhetorical and cultural knowledge that these students bring to our writing classrooms and programs. I propose that bringing scholarship in translingual and transnational literacy studies into conversation with cultural rhetorics opens an approach to diversity that validates and centers transnational students. Through a TCR pedagogy (translingual, transnational, transcultural + cultural rhetorics), writing teachers and program can create classrooms, which sustain transnational, multilingual students’ resources, and which cultivate self-reflexivity and critical awareness. Though I focus on transnational, multilingual students, a TCR pedagogy will also support and benefit other learners in the First-Year Composition classroom.