Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies ETDs


Seonsook Park

Publication Date



Current literature and approaches to identity construction within L2 contexts often fail or underemphasize the important roles that strategic identity and discursive-place identity play in second language acquisition processes. This study explores how education, English discourse, and American cultures affect the identities of three female Korean graduate students in American institutions. The theoretical approach of this project integrated elements from sociocultural theory and feminist research methodology. The participants narratives, collected via interviews and email exchanges over a period of a year, have revealed that when these ESL students moved from their native country, Korea, to America, they were not only physically relocated to an American sociocultural and institutional environment, but they were also cognitively relocated into different social settings. This research reveals how variables, such as place, including physical environments, people, and discourse practices, play a role in shaping female ESL students' identities, which are situated and shift over time and different place and space. The study's findings are used to discuss the importance of strategic identity and discursive-place identity in ESL contexts in this dissertation. It is argued that ESL students' strategic identity and discursive-place identity construction is a dynamic and purposeful process, which is affected by the students' L2 discourse practices, and as a result is significant in understanding L2 students' ensuing identity changes. The results and discussion illuminate a number of critical issues and arguments that are often subsumed or hidden in the fields of language, education, and identity in which female students' learning processes of higher education should be, but often are not, explicitly theorized.'


Koreans--United States, Women immigrants--United States, Women--Identity, English language--Study and teaching--Foreign speakers--Social aspects

Document Type




Degree Name

Language, Literacy and Sociocultural Studies

Level of Degree


Department Name

Language, Literacy, and Sociocultural Studies

First Committee Member (Chair)

Calhoon, Anne

Second Committee Member

Axelrod, Melissa

Third Committee Member

Mahn, Holbrook