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Cosmopolitan English and Transliteracy

Cosmopolitan English and Transliteracy

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Xiaoye You


E-book (Other formats: Paperback)
5 illustrations


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About the Book

Winner, CCCC Research Impact Award, 2018

Despite the vast number of multilingual speakers in the United States and the pervasive influence of globalization, writing studies in this country is still inextricably linked to a nationalistic, monolingual English ideology. In Cosmopolitan English and Transliteracy, Xiaoye You addresses this issue by proposing that writing studies programs adopt a cosmopolitan perspective. Emphasizing local and global forms of citizenship and identification, You merges a humanistic vision with the rigor of social science, arguing that linguistic and cultural differences can be explored to recover human connections normally severed by geographical and semiotic borders.

You examines several areas of writing affected by globalization. He then turns to the composition classroom, highlighting the challenges and possibilities of crossing cultural boundaries in academic discourse before introducing a pedagogy aimed at fostering American students’ translingual and transcultural sensibilities. Included is a model for training writing teachers in the context of globalization, which aims to help instructors gain practical knowledge about the needs and resources of multilingual writers through communication technologies and cross-cultural partnerships.

By introducing cosmopolitan perspectives into the composition classroom, You challenges traditional assumptions about language, identity, and literacy as they relate to writing studies. Innovative and provocative, Cosmopolitan English and Transliteracy charts a new way forward for writing programs, with a call to focus on global rather than national identity.


Xiaoye You is an associate professor of English and Asian studies at Penn State University and a Yunshan Chair Professor at Guangdong University of Foreign Studies. He is the recipient of the 2011 CCCC Outstanding Book Award for Writing in the Devil’s Tongue: A History of English Compositionin China (Southern Illinois University Press).


“Presenting numerous analyses of diverse literacy practices, Xiaoye You offers a provocative argument for ‘cosmopolitan English,’ not merely as the statistical norm for a globalized English but also as an ethical rhetorical practice of translingual and transcultural literacy. In so doing, You contributes to recent challenges to English monolingualism in composition, comparative rhetorics, comparative literature, second language writing, and world Englishes.”—Bruce Horner, endowed chair in rhetoric and composition, University of Louisville

"Overall, this book makes a compelling case to challenge the modernist understanding of order, purity, and normality of English (Blommaert’s, Leppänen, Pahta, & Räisänen, 2012). It urges researchers and educators to take a cosmopolitan turn, thereby re-conceptualizing the relations among language, identity, and literacy not from artificially discrete categories, but from the interaction and intersection of literacy practices in local and trans-local communities."--Zhiwei Wu, Guangdong University of Foreign Studies