Date of Award


Document type


Access Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


First Advisor

Haivan Hoang

Second Advisor

Anne Herrington

Third Advisor

Paula Chakravartty

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature


Suresh Canagarajah, John Trimbur, Bruce Horner, and others argue that U.S. scholars must begin imagining their academic institutions as part of larger global English conversations, which would involve expanding Western perceptions of "good writing" to allow for the cultural and ideological differences implied by the term "global." Horner and Trimbur, for instance, urge compositionists to take an "internationalist perspective" to writing instruction, to ask, "whose English and whose interests it serves" in relation to the "dynamics of globalization" (624). To better understand what it means to write internationally in English, I conducted ethnographic research at the Indonesian Consortium for Religious Studies (ICRS), a self-identified "Indonesian, international, interreligious Ph.D. program," in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. My ten-month ethnographic project, which drew from teacher research, interviews with students and faculty, and student texts, suggests that English, though linked to Western cultural imperialism--and thus Western ideology-- can no longer be considered solely a Western language, useful only for Western purposes and audiences. The first section of this dissertation focuses on institutional and individual identity construction in relation to ICRS's local-global goals and what the program's language policy terms the "painful decision" to adopt English despite being "aware of the imperialism of English." By placing Indonesian language history in conversation with faculty and student interviews, this section suggests that language, whether local or global, is never entirely "authentic" or "imperialist"--that English, despite its imperialist implications, is also capable of representing Indonesian identities. The second section of this dissertation shifts from identity negotiation to frictions involved with the actual writing process, particularly in relation to culture, audience, and rhetorical choice. Drawing from Bakhtin's notion of diachronic audience, this section explores the complexity involved in determining "whose English" is appropriate given ICRS's Indonesian, yet international intentions and the multiple audiences, both local and global, suggested thereby. This section highlights cultural and material frictions students reported when moving between Indonesian and Western rhetorical traditions--and thus audiences-- while also highlighting how students re-articulate English as both local and global, Indonesian and international as they write to the multiple audiences suggested by English as an international language.