Communication ETDs

Publication Date



This work serves as a case study to extend, expand, and challenge the conventionally anthropocentric framing of cultural adjustment. I examine cultural adjustment through an ecocultural lens, reconceptualizing the process as ecocultural adjustment, which combines both cultural (human-centered) factors with environmental (both human-constructed and greater-than-human) elements in the process of sojourner adaptation. I utilize journal and blog entries along with my own memories through performative autoethnography to explore a 26-month sojourn with the US Peace Corps in Malawi, Africa, as well as the departure, travel, and return to the United States. Over the course of this reflective study, I explore and problematize the human-nature divide currently dominating the anthropocentric understandings of intercultural adjustment experiences. My interpretations point to the profound need to reimagine the sojourner adjustment process as one of both mind and body, of culture and negotiation of the greater-than-human world, as not simply cultural adjustment but as ecocultural adjustment.




ecocultural adjustment, ecoculture shock, ecocultural re-entry shock, cultural adjustment, culture shock, human-nature divide, cultural re-entry shock, US Peace Corps

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Department Name

Department of Communication and Journalism

First Committee Member (Chair)

Foss, Karen

Second Committee Member

Gandert, Miguel