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Literacy's Displacements: Toward Transnational Orientations to Writing and/as Translation

Wilson, Joseph Anthony. Literacy's Displacements: Toward Transnational Orientations to Writing and/as Translation. 2023. University of Washington, PhD dissertation.

Scholars adopting transnational orientations to writing and literacies seek to understand the tensions of the global and the local in everyday meaning making activities. Recently, this scholarship has moved away from accumulation models of researching and assessing literacy, in which the acquisition of new languages and literacies necessarily leads to gain and/or operates toward neoliberal teleologies of global progress. Similarly, this dissertation seeks to locate relationships and knowledges writers foster when engaging in translations across genres, modalities, and language representations to the side of externally imposed progress outcomes, commissioned translations, and written artifacts. Through critical and often collaborative ethnographic inquiry, this dissertation locates these relationships across transnational trajectories of migration and translation in contemporary Central Asia, including regions in Northern Qazaqstan (outside of major metropolitan areas) historically under-represented in literacy scholarship. I ask how we might attune our approach to transnational literacies to locate moments of friction and displacement generated by both seismic and micro-moments of sociolinguistic change. Through emphases on labor issues, language and migration policies, and language reclamation efforts, this dissertation further responds to calls by scholars in the region to consider both the sociomaterial and sociolinguistic consequences of language change.