Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

English Rhetoric and Composition, PhD

Committee Chair

Horner, Bruce

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Olinger, Andrea

Committee Member

Olinger, Andrea

Committee Member

Kelderman, Frank

Committee Member

Donahue, Chistiane

Author's Keywords

Writing program administration; transnational; mobility; ethnography; global writing studies


This dissertation advances the global turn in writing studies by examining academic mobilities through an ethnographic study of transnational writing program administrative (TWPA) work outside of the United States. The literature review reads global writing studies scholarship through a critical-transnational lens to locate the gap for new knowledge in TWPA work. Influenced by Dorothy Smith’s Institutional Ethnography, this dissertation grounds the findings of its interview-based study in the terms of everyday lived experiences by internationally mobile scholars currently doing WPA work in order to construct more nuanced narratives of navigation and sensemaking. Participants discussed the consequences and limitations of us/them or local/global binaries, traced commitments and policies across time and space, then accounted for and described the labor required to resist stable notions of difference. The study contributes terms and anecdotes for depicting TWPA sensemaking work as shifting, ever-changing, partial, layered, and complex. The core findings are theorizations of mobility and transnationality through discursive work, relative mobility, scaling practices, and co-constituted space.