GENERATION 1.5 WRITING CENTER PRACTICE: PROBLEMS WITH MULTILINGUALISM AND POSSIBILITIES VIA HYBRIDITY

Liliana M. Naydan
Penn State Abington
lmn122@psu.edu
 
In much writing center theory and practice, conversations about multilingual writers have tended to involve L2 writers. Often international students, these writers speak at least one language other than English, but they perhaps speak more than just one other language despite their L2 designation. They do not speak English as their first language, and when they come to English-language-based institutions of higher education, they find themselves needing to learn and learning English. More recently, however, the field of writing center scholarship has recognized complexity in the category of multilingualism. Especially following the publication of Terese Thonus’s “Serving Generation 1.5 Learners in the University Writing Center,” Generation 1.5 or L1.5 writers have emerged as part and parcel of writing center practitioners’ and scholars’ conversations. Neither L1 speakers and writers nor L2 necessarily, Generation 1.5 writers exist in a linguistic liminal space. Although much variation exists among Generation 1.5 writers and although Generation 1.5 writers do not inherently represent a single, transitional generation in a family’s immigrant history,¹ Linda Harklau, K. M. Losey, and Meryl Seigal define them as writers with “backgrounds in US culture and schooling” who sustain identities that are “distinct from international students or other newcomers who have been the subject of most ESL writing literature” (vii). They differ from English as a Second Language (ESL) students in that they “are primarily ear learners,” and they may “have lost, or are in the process of losing, their home language(s) without having learned their writing systems or academic registers” (Thonus 18). They are neither here nor there in terms of their linguistic identities. Or, perhaps, they are both here and there.

In this essay, I build on Thonus’s efforts to include Generation 1.5 writers in writing center conversations by beginning the process of un-Othering them. I underscore the fact that they exist not only as writers who inhabit writing centers as clients, as Thonus predominantly describes them, but as a relatively invisible population of consultants and administrators whose pedagogies and practices inevitably reflect their unique multilingual identities. I likewise build on Harry C. Denny’s work on writing centers and identity politics by considering the identity politics involved in Generation 1.5 writing center practitioner identity from the perspective of a Generation 1.5 writing center practitioner and scholar who in many ways identifies with Harklau, Losey, and Seigal’s definition. I argue that Generation 1.5 consultants and administrators exist as hybridized in accord with Homi Bhabha’s use of the term, and I examine ways in which they encounter opportunities to counter hegemonic thinking about English by engaging in the rhetorical practice of delivery. They can deliver different or, ideally, both aspects of their hybridized linguistic identities in the rhetorical situations that they encounter.² And they, along with all writing center administrators who come to value hybridity, can thereby transform writing centers into hybrid Third Spaces of the sort that Bhabha theorizes. They can populate their centers with consultants who feel prepared to counter monolingual hegemony; they can push the bounds of conversations involving identity politics and writing centers; they can change the physical and digital faces of their centers; and they can develop the services that they offer in order to promote a hybrid identity for the writing center. As a result, they can, to appropriate Bhabha’s words, engage in “a strategy of subversion” (89) that involves rhetorical “re-membering” or “putting together” a “dismembered past” to create a writing center future that recognizes, values, and promotes hybridity and counter-hegemonic social transformation (90).

“Well, We All Speak English as a First Language”: Hegemonic Writing Center Assumptions and a Counter-Hegemonic Theory of Generation 1.5 Identity as Hybrid

“Well, we all speak English as a first language,” said a seasoned peer tutor whom I’d just recently met. We were at a writing center staff meeting—one of my first as the director of this particular staff of predominantly L1-English-speaking writing center tutors at this particular predominantly L1-English-speaking American university. We had been talking about our consultations with multilingual writers, a subject that soon emerged as a staple of our meetings, and a subject that so many writing-center-staff-meeting conversations across the U.S. center on. And then this tutor—so smart and so engaging in my experience with him thus far—had piped up over the slight yet comfortable hum of conversation to articulate this unsettling point. I watched his body language and could see that he planned to say more: he planned to continue this unsettling line of thought to the subtle nods of many around him. But before he could get his next words out, I intervened, still feeling jolted, and feeling quite different from the apparent, clearly defined L1-English-speaking insiders in this room. “I don’t,” I said, and all eyes turned to me, the newest member of this community. Silence replaced the comfort of the hum. 

To this staff, I had clearly—albeit not intentionally—masqueraded as an L1 speaker of English. I could tell by the way they were looking at me. The assumption was that I, a young, white American woman, holder of an English Ph.D., and speaker of English without any accent that Othered me too radically if at all, spoke English as my first language. “I don’t,” I repeated into the silence, realizing that I didn’t quite yet know what to do other than to repeat myself since my remark was an eyebrow-raising conversation stopper. Then I continued: “I learned Ukrainian and English together. Really, more Ukrainian first.” Others’ eyes still on me, I remember escaping for a moment into memory. I thought of my grandmother and mother in my Irvington, New-Jersey-based youth, each harping on any friend or family member who spoke English in my presence. “По якому?” they’d exclaim with a sense of urgency, meaning “In what language?” But beyond the bounds of my memory and within this silent room, eyes were still on me, and so I said more: “I’m basically something called a Generation 1.5 writer. I was born in the U.S., and so were my parents, but English wasn’t really their first language and it isn’t really mine, either.” I had learned this rough term for myself, Generation 1.5, only recently, so I imagined it was new to others, too, unless they’d read Thonus’s advice to tutors. I paused, then asked a question to make myself feel a bit less alone: “Is anybody else in here a Gen. 1.5?” A hand or two or maybe three crept toward visibility, making our heretofore invisible and quite small population of writing center practitioners, not clients, suddenly visible. Those few hands deconstructed the we/they, us/them binary that had instigated the at-this-point cautious exchange.

The hegemonic narrative that gets passed down among many L1 speakers of English—be they undergraduate students, consultants, faculty, or staff—and hence the narrative that functioned tacitly to start this staff meeting conversation goes something like this: we speak English, and that’s why we work in the writing center; they need to learn English, and they come to us so they can learn our insider English ropes. This narrative creates no space for Generation 1.5 individuals as writing center professionals or faculty members, and it functions as part of the dark underbelly of the sort of master narrative of writing centers that Jackie Grutsch McKinney describes in Peripheral Visions for Writing Centers (2013).³ It casts its shadow on tidy conversations about multiliteracy as the future of writing centers.⁴ It likewise exposes the sort of deep tensions that surround the teaching of multilingual writers and their experiences in the U.S. As Bruce Horner et al. suggest in a commentary on the U.S educational system, “[t]raditional approaches to writing in the United States […] take as the norm a linguistically homogenous situation: one where writers, speakers, and readers are expected to use Standard English or Edited American English—imagined ideally as uniform—to the exclusion of other languages and language variations” (303). And this exclusion as hegemonic thinking creates it—one that Paul Kei Matsuda theorizes as “[t]he policy of containment and the continuing dominance of the myth of linguistic homogeneity”—in turn has “serious implications not only for international second language writers but also for resident second language writers as well as for native speakers of unprivileged varieties of English” (Matsuda 93).  As Matsuda explains, “[m]any institutions place students into basic writing classes without distinguishing writing issues and language issues” even though “many basic writing courses […] are often designed for U.S. citizens who are native speakers of a variety of English” (Matsuda 93).  Other and arguably more serious problems that hegemonic thinking about English creates may at least to some degree involve retention and success of non-L1 speakers of English enrolled in U.S. colleges and universities, as recent articles in Inside Higher Ed⁵ and The New York Times⁶ have intimated.

Generation 1.5 writers and writing center practitioners may not always recognize the ways in which their identities counter assumptions about L1 and L2 speakers of English because the monolingual hegemony that is inherently at play works to colonize everything, perhaps even the Generation 1.5 mind. But self-aware and supported Generation 1.5 writers and writing center practitioners can potentially function to deconstruct the us/them binary that perpetuates the kind of monolingual hegemony toward which my story and Horner et al.’s essay point. They can realize Denny’s vision of writing center environments in which “languages transform one another” and “possibilit[ies] for hybridity and L1 and L2 ways of knowing” exist (Denny 135). They can consciously come to inhabit a middle space that they always already inhabit whether they realize it or not: a space between L1 and L2 designations that foster mainstream perceptions of multilingualism. Hence they can refashion conceptions of multilingualism and emerge in and of themselves as what Bhabha might characterize and celebrate as hybridized.⁷ To be hybrid, writes Bhabha in The Location of Culture (1994), is to be “neither the one thing nor the other” (49). Hence L1 or L2 identities both emerge as possibilities along a continuum, not as definitive of linguistic identity. They emerge as relative poles on that continuum because of the existence of Generation 1.5s and because hybridity as it characterizes Generation 1.5s allows for “temporal movement and passage” that “prevents identities […] from settling into primordial polarities,” to appropriate Bhabha’s words (Bhabha 5).

Rhetorical situations, I suggest, inevitably influence the temporal movement of multilingualism and multilingual identity, especially as Generation 1.5s sustain it. To exist as “neither the one thing nor the other” does not inherently mean to always publically or simultaneously identify as both the one thing and the other (Bhabha 49). And in writing center practice, Generation 1.5 practitioners, like the writers who visit writing centers, may opt to remember, claim, and thereby deliver⁸ one identity over another based on a given rhetorical situation. In accord with conceptions of delivery as late-twentieth and early twenty-first century scholars have developed them, delivery of identity may emerge in spoken, written, visual, electronic, or multimodal form,⁹ and delivery of identity involves a conception of the self as an argument. To appropriate Erving Goffman’s theory of the performance of identity to my discussion of delivering identity,¹⁰ Generation 1.5 individuals who deliver their identities can “mobilize […] activity so that it will convey an impression to others which it is in [their] interests to convey” (Goffman 4). In other words, they can and perhaps inherently do have rhetorical intentions in mind as they deliver their monolingual selves, their multilingual selves, or their whole hybridized selves.

In everyday writing center practice and professional development, hybrid linguistic identity as I theorize it manifests in different ways and for different reasons, yet it typically manifests as simplified. When rhetorical situations in writing centers involve multilingual individuals as writers or as colleagues, they may invite Generation 1.5 writing consultants or administrators to reveal their multilingual identities, albeit perhaps in simplified ways—ways that negate the complex reality of hybridity and the dramatically different language acquisition experiences and identities of Generation 1.5s and L2 international individuals. By contrast, rhetorical writing center situations that involve writers or other consultants who appear as overtly monolingual may prompt Generation 1.5 consultants to opt against explaining their unique forms of multilingualism and the upbringings that shaped them—even if there exists a problem with the hegemonic circumstances that ever make the performance of monolingual identity advantageous for a multilingual individual. Perhaps Generation 1.5 consultants and administrators feel that no clear kairos presents itself for the delivery of hybrid identity, perhaps explaining a complex sort of identity feels exhausting, or perhaps apparent risks even manifest for Generation 1.5 consultants or administrators, for instance the risk of showcasing a diminished knowledge of the non-English language or the risk of losing some semblance of English language ethos and hence insider status. Likewise, there exists the risk that opportunities for countering monolingual hegemonic thinking come to feel for some members of writing center communities like off-track and irrelevant digressions. 

Theory as Practice: Hybrid Conceptions of Multilingualism as Multiliteracy in Everyday Twenty-First Century Writing Center Work

If writing centers and the practitioners that comprise them are to avoid buttressing monolingual hegemony through inaction and non-articulation of hybrid realities, they must explore possibilities for making Generation 1.5 consultants feel comfortable enough to recognize, own, and reveal their complex and hybridized selves and engage in collaborative reflection as part of the very purpose of writing center work. These consultants can and should deliver in all rhetorical situations their nuanced, hybrid selves as opposed to selves that fit more neatly into the binaries that form a monolingual hegemony. Instead of working toward totalizing ends or seeing through the lens that a totalizing tradition bolsters, writing center practitioners who work as administrators or consultants might, in Bhabha’s terms, “remember that it is the ‘inter’—the cutting edge of translation and negotiation, the inbetween space—that carries the burden of the meaning of culture” (56). They might engage in the complicated and messy work of positioning the sort of hybridity that characterizes Generation 1.5 identity as the philosophical center of their writing center missions and reflective actions in order to move Generation 1.5 writers, consultants, and the liminality that they represent from the metaphorical margins that have ignored their existence to the metaphorical center. They might thereby showcase means by which to move from theoretical conversations about the delivery of identity to practical knowledge—knowledge that helps to ward off uninformed or under-informed assumptions about Generation 1.5 and all multilingual writers. These kinds of conditions foster and respect that which is inter as opposed to that which is total. And they might, too, enable revelations about hybridized and thereby complex linguistic identities that both writers and consultants hold. 

Writing centers might move hybridity to the metaphorical center by way of more nuanced and reflective discussions about multiliteracy that happen in staff meetings and activities that foster professional development. Characterized by the New London Group as involving “a multiplicity of discourses,” multiliteracy might take shape, on the one hand and in its most commonly discussed form, around “the burgeoning variety of text forms associated with information and multimedia technologies” of the sort that David Sheridan theorizes in Multiliteracy Centers: Writing Center Work, New Media, and Multimodal Rhetoric (2010) (New London Group 61). On the other hand, multiliteracy of another and less prevalent variety—yet still a variety that the New London Group theorizes—might also make its way into writing center conversations. According to the New London Group, this type of multiliteracy speaks to “our culturally and linguistically diverse and increasingly globalized societies,” and it is multiliteracy of this sort in particular that I argue is poised to break new ground in writing center conversations (New London Group 61). As the New London Group explains, 

[d]ealing with linguistic differences and cultural difference has now become central to the pragmatics of our working, civic, and private lives. Effective citizenship and productive work now require that we interact effectively using multiple languages, multiple Englishes, and communication patterns that more frequently cross cultural, community, and national boundaries. (64)

Certainly, writing consultants must prepare themselves to help multilingual writers recognize, develop, and deliver their own linguistic multiliteracies, but they must, too, look inward to unearth the languages that they speak and the means by which those languages position them as prospective agents of change who can work to counter monolingual hegemonic thinking. And if writing center practitioners engaged in professional development activities examine their own linguistic multiliteracies as they might always already exist, a term such as multilingual might continue to stretch beyond just the recognition and inclusion of Generation 1.5 writers. It might stretch, for better and for worse in ways but undoubtedly to counter-Othering ends, to recognize and more readily include a still more diverse array of individuals, for instance L1 speakers of English who learn languages as part of their academic or other life experiences.

Writing center administrators and consultants who come to unearth their own multilingual multiliteracies via reflection might come to engage in reflective action by way of delivering their hybrid linguistic identities in everyday conversations with writers who visit the center. A full writing center staff’s commitment to drawing attention to multiliteracy as it exists in a wider array of writing center conversations with writers can help to create the sort of space that Generation 1.5 writing center practitioners need in order to feel comfortable recognizing, revealing, and delivering their identities as hybrid. This kind of commitment creates conditions for Generation 1.5s to showcase, to appropriate Bhabha’s words, the “depth” that exists “in the representation of a unified image of the self” (69). Moreover, this kind of commitment allows them to escape juxtaposed rhetorical situations that do or do not prompt them to share their linguistic heritage. Indeed, this kind of commitment helps to foster a third sort of rhetorical situation that speaks to the “Third Space” as Bhabha theorizes it (56): a space in which, to use Bhabha’s words, “we may elude the politics of polarity and emerge as the others of our selves” (56). This space, therefore, is one in which the us/them binary that forms hegemonic thinking about language in writing centers in predominantly English-speaking countries begins to dissipate. It exists as a space in which hybridity is or can be the norm.

Beyond dialogue that all consultants might begin to incorporate into conversations with writers, the means by which writing centers showcase their multiliterate institutional identities in digital and physical environments might help to foster the writing center as the kind of Third Space that Bhabha envisions; it might help to foster the sort of space in which Generation 1.5 consultants will thrive. At the center that I formerly directed and a couple of years following the tense staff meeting exchange that I narrate, we worked to develop ourselves as a Third Space by showcasing our multilingual multiliteracies via digital multiliteracy on our online scheduling system. On our scheduler, which both consultants and writers could and would see, we showcased the fact of any writing consultant’s multilingualism, albeit not necessarily the language that writers spoke. And by representing the fact of any consultant’s multilingualism, we created an opportunity for digital multiliteracy to influence non-digital conversation between the writer and the consultant. We created a rhetorical situation that might prompt a consultant or a writer to ask a question or begin a quite relevant conversation about multilingualism as an ever-thorny albeit invaluable feature of identity. This sort of digital representation of collective writing center identity as counter-monolingual in many ways spoke and continues to speak to Theresa Sauter’s understanding of the interface between digital-age social media and identity. As Sauter suggests, social media creates the opportunity for people “to form understandings of themselves and their existence in complex, multi-networked modern realities” (836). And, to build on Sauter’s point, social or digital media representations of identity as multilingual might function as a means by which to revise perceptions of writing center identity.

Likewise, at this center, we developed our center’s identity as a Third Space via non-digital, physical representations of ourselves. Most notably, via a remodel into which I had input, we provided greetings in multiple languages on the front of a door leading to the writing center. Among our Generation 1.5 consultants, consultants who were L1 speakers of languages other than English, and consultants who were L2 or L3 speakers of languages other than English, we had, for instance, speakers of Arabic, French, Modern Hebrew, and Korean. And hence our door read, for example, “أهلا وسهلا,” “Bienvenue,” “ברוכים הבאים,” and “환영합니다.” I even included a Ukrainian language greeting on the door to reflect my own Generation 1.5 Ukrainian-American heritage. As a result, consultants, writers, and other employees of our institution alike saw that our writing center and writing centers in general can and do exist as multilingual and multiliterate spaces. Multilingual writers and consultants felt welcome if their language or one akin to it appeared on the door. By contrast, monolingual writers were confronted with the reality of multilingualism as multiliteracy as a thing to be celebrated, not buried or denied. Although I left my position at this center soon after its remodel, I highly doubt that staff members who attend staff meetings that take place in this center now will be likely to characterize our center’s inhabitants as monolingual with any degree of ease. Indeed, the whole of our university community, not just our writing center, emerged as a recognized multilingual and hybrid community via our remodel.

Revealing and coming to position as central to writing center identity the multilingual multiliteracies of writing center practitioners might in turn lead to developments in everyday writing center services, as it did at the center I formerly directed. Multiliteracy positions rhetoric as central to communication in different modes of discourse, and writing centers functioning as multiliteracy centers might complement their work with writers and writing with work with conversationalists engaging in conversations. Consultants at the center I formerly directed took a course that I helped to develop: a course that prepared them to facilitate conversation circles for multilingual language learners of English. These conversation circles allowed international English language learners to put English into dialogue with their home language or languages, and it thereby provided some semblance of validation for their identities as hybrid. In turn, monolingual and multilingual consultants alike had opportunities to reflect on what they learned from engaging in dialogue with international students. Perhaps, too, writing centers will also see conversation circle opportunities arise to support learners of other languages. In other words, writing centers might have conversation circles, for instance, for speakers of Spanish, Mandarin, or other languages that L1 English speaking members of the university community need to learn and are learning. English might reemerge as just one of an array of useful languages to know instead of existing as central to the propagation of a monolingual hegemony in the U.S.

Moreover, writing center administrators could work to foster the emergence of consultations about English-language writing that happen in multiple languages or in languages other than English to make visible the contact zone that exists as invisible within any multilingual writer, but especially within Generation 1.5 writers. At the center I formerly directed, we certainly strived to hire multilingual consultants in order to counter the expectations of monolingualism that Helena Wahlstrom asserts “students and scholars” have about writing centers (10),¹¹ yet we also attempted to build on the means by which we already existed as multilingual. I encouraged consultants who had listed themselves on our scheduling system as multilingual to converse with writers in a language other than English if they shared such a language or to move between languages in accord with the sort of translingual approach that Horner et al. describe.¹² If consultants and writers did not share a language other than English, I encouraged them to introduce one another to their respective non-English tongues and deliver their respective linguistic identities to showcases the existence of hybridity in our interfaces with one another. I encouraged them to counter monolingual hegemonic thinking and foster hybridity through their everyday attention to multilingualisms that always already exist among them. Hence, with my own Generation 1.5 hybrid identity at the center of my administrative thinking, I encouraged them to recognize that they can exist as an in-large-part de facto version of what Noreen G. Lape calls “a truly Multilingual Writing Center (MWC)”: a center in which “tutors who are literate in multiple languages and skilled as global citizens can work with writers as they construct their voices—linguistically, rhetorically, and discursively—in order to participate in the global exchange of ideas” (1-2).

Subverting the Narrative of Old and Re-Membering the Writing Center as a Multilingual Multiliteracy Center

Envisioning writing center futures that shape themselves around conversations involving Generation 1.5 identity, hybridity, translinguality, multilingualism, and multiliteracy is never idealistic or tidy work. It’s messy and it’s challenging despite the marketable sort of picture that it presents in an ever-globalizing twenty-first century. Perhaps inevitably, this work gets its thorny aura because it involves revisiting and rethinking the ways in which we have come to frame and propagate our writing center past—the heroic master narrative that has come to shape our field’s identity and that some of us may continue to deliver when we explain who we are and what we do. Envisioning and delivering writing center futures in less idealized terms involves exposing the connection between memory and delivery and hence the notion that delivery at any given moment necessitates memory in some mode or medium.¹³ It involves seeing that memory and delivery “work in synergistic relation with the other rhetorical canons” of invention, arrangement, and style (Horner x). 

Given the failure of the us/them binary that falsely positions Generation 1.5 writers among other multilingual writers as outside of the writing center as opposed to the consultants and administrators who shape its identity from the inside, any theoretical or practical everyday work that attempts to rewrite the narrative of old functions, to appropriate Bhabha’s words, as “a strategy of subversion” (89). Similarly, Denny expresses writing center theory and practice of this nature as inevitably subversive. As he explains, subversion as everyday actions manifest it involves “an awareness of one’s environment, a sort of street savvy applied to spaces of domination. Subversion also involves performing in ways that are consistent with the mainstream, in ways that disguise challenges or knowledge being shared among confederates” (79). Subversion thereby involves relative insiders working as allies to outsiders. It involves insiders and outsiders moving together between metaphorical social and academic insides and outsides in order to deliver subversive ideas that call into question existing hegemonic order as it exists in ever-corporatizing universities. It involves a celebration of thorny and messy realities for their counter-idealistic, counter-corporate possibilities in everyday work.

To recover, or, to use language employed by Bhabha, to “re-member” a new narrative in our own subversion’s wake is far from an easy or painless task (90). As Bhabha explains, “[r]emembering is never a quiet act of introspection or retrospection. It is a painful re-membering, a putting together of the dismembered past to make sense of the trauma of the present” (90). And, much like identity itself, which, for Bhabha, “is never a priori, nor a finished product” and “only ever the problematic process of access to an image of totality,” the new narrative that emerges in the wake of re-membering must shake totalizing pressures to exist first and foremost as part of a process rather than a finished a product (73). It must remain open to continually re-membering itself as new generations of writing center inhabitants actively interrogate their own identities in staff meetings, in consultations, and in the scholarship they produce. It must remain open to the new realizations to which these hybrid inhabitants come, be those realization about themselves, their centers, or their field, and it must deliver that hybridized identity to institutional powers in strategic ways. Moreover, this new narrative that recognizes the hybridity that resides within must remain open to embracing the array of hybridities that exist beyond its bounds in order to position itself as a change agent that can give voice and ascribe greater value in general to liminal ways of thinking and working in the world.

Notes

1. For instance, even third generation Americans might have a non-English language of the home.

2.   Thanks to Ana Guay for conceiving of the idea for and organizing the 2014 NCPTW/IWCA panel, “Performing Our Selves in the Writing Center: Writing Center Practice as the Rhetorical Delivery of Identity.” My conversations with Guay and my participation in her panel very much helped me to write this essay.

3. As McKinney explains, the master narrative that shapes writing center practice portrays writing centers as “comfortable, yet iconoclastic places where all students go to get one-to-one tutoring on their writing” (3).

4. See Liliana M. Naydan’s “Just Writing Center Work in the Digital Age: De Facto Multiliteracy Centers in Dialogue with Questions of Social Justice.”

5. According to Elizabeth Redden, in a “survey of international education professionals, respondents identified top reasons for student attrition as being transfer to a ‘better fit’ institution (67 percent chose this option), followed by financial difficulties (64 percent), academic difficulties (62 percent), inadequate English language skills (40 percent) and dissatisfaction with location (34 percent).”

6. As Karin Fischer reports, results from C.K. Kwai’s recent study suggest “that English-language skill was not a significant factor in foreign-student retention, at least as measured by performance on standardized English-proficiency examinations.”  But Fischer points out that

after the session Mr. Kwai cautioned that educators ought not to read too much into the seeming lack of connection between performance on English-language exams and retention. He noted a complaint by both international administrators and classroom teachers that such exams were often a better measure of test-taking ability than English skill, especially in countries with traditions of strong test preparation.

7.  It is important to note that in conversations about postcolonialism, hybridity isn’t always considered as a positive force, nor should it be considered as inherently positive. As Anjali Prabhu suggests, hybridity is “an enticing idea in current postcolonial studies. In its dominant form, it is claimed that it can provide a way out of binary thinking, allow the inscription of agency of the subaltern, and even permit a restructuring and destabilizing of power” (1). But “[t]hese assertions need to be tested” (1).

8. As Aristotle puts it in On Rhetoric, delivery, one of the five canons of classical rhetoric, involves “the style of expression” of a piece of rhetoric (3.1). And as he continues, “delivery has just as much to do with oratory as with poetry,” and it, too “found a way into the arts of tragic drama and epic recitation” (3.1).

9. For instance, as John Frederick Reynolds explains, by the late twentieth and early twenty-first century, the classical notion of delivery comes to involve “equivalences between oral, written and electronic pronunciatio and actio” (4).

10. In The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life (1959), sociologist Erving Goffman theorizes identity as involving performance. Goffman observes that

[s]ometimes the individual will act in a thoroughly calculating manner, expressing himself in a given way solely in order to give the kind of impression to others that is likely to evoke from them a specific response he is concerned to obtain. Sometimes the individual will be calculating in his activity but be relatively unaware that this is the case. Sometimes he will intentionally and consciously express himself in a particular way, but chiefly because the tradition of his group or social status require this kind of expression [...]. Sometimes the traditions of an individual's role will lead him to give a well-designed impression of a particular kind and yet he may be neither consciously nor unconsciously disposed to create such an impression. (6)

According to Ana Guay, Goffman’s work speaks to writing center practice in that writing center practitioners consistently perform their identities.

11. As Wahlstrom explains, “[a]s both an ‘ESL’ student and a tutor in the English language, [she] not only represents a group that writing center theory views as problematic, but [she is] also someone whom both students and scholars rarely expect to find in the writing center” (10). She continues, suggesting that she, “[a]s a multilingual writing tutor who came to the United States to study as an undergraduate” is at a peculiar crossroads: Students come to [her] expecting a native speaker, while [her] background places [her] in the writing center’s most archetypal customer group. [She] urge[s] students to write candidly, to cut unnecessary hedging and hesitation, to jump right in and write boldly from the heart—while simultaneously concealing [her] true identity as best [she] can. (10)

12.  As Horner et al. explain, 

[i]n short, a translingual approach argues for (1) honoring the power of all language users to shape language to specific ends; (2) recognizing the linguistic heterogeneity of all users of language both within the United States and globally; and (3) directly confronting English monolingualist expectations by researching and teaching how writers can work with and against, not simply within, those expectations. Viewing differences not as a problem but as a resource, the translingual approach promises to revitalize the teaching of writing and language. By addressing how language norms are actually heterogeneous, fluid, and negotiable, a translingual approach directly counters demands that writers must conform to fixed, uniform standards. (305)

13. For instance, Reynolds suggests that memory transcends memorization in that it exists as mnemonics, memorableness, databases, and psychology (4-12).

Works Cited

Aristotle. On Rhetoric: A Theory of Civic Discourse. Trans. George A. Kennedy. New York: Oxford UP, 1991. Print.

Bhabha, Homi K. The Location of Culture. 1994. London: Routledge, 2004. Print.

Denny, Harry C. Facing the Center: Toward an Identity Politics of One-To-One Mentoring. Logan, UT: Utah State UP, 2010. Print.

Fischer, Karin. “Helping Foreign Students Thrive on U.S. Campuses.” New York Times. New York Times, 3 Mar. 2014. Web. 17 Aug. 2015.

Goffman, Erving. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1959. Print.

Guay, Ana, Stacy Lecznar, Liliana M. Naydan, and Penny Savryn. “Performing Our Selves in the Writing Center: Writing Center Practice as the Rhetorical Delivery of Identity.” National Conference on Peer Tutoring in Writing / International Writing Centers Association Conference, Orlando. 2014. Panel.

Harklau, Linda, Kay M. Losey, and Meryl Siegal, eds. Generation 1.5 Meets College Composition: Issues in the Teaching of Writing to U.S.-Educated Learners of ESL. Mahwah, N.J: L. Erlbaum Associates, 1999. Print.

Horner, Bruce, Min-Zhan Lu, Jacqueline Jones Royster, and John Trimbur. “Language Difference in Writing: Toward a Translingual Approach.” College English 73.3 (2011): 303-21. Print.

Horner, Winifred Bryan. “Introduction.” Rhetorical Memory and Delivery: Classical Concepts for Contemporary Composition and Communication. Ed. John Frederick Reynolds. Hillsdale, New Jersey: L. Erlbaum Associates, 1993. ix-xii. Print.

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