Practicing Multilingual Research: A Special Issue of Critical Multilingualism Studies

300-word statements of interest by February 1, 2018

Drafts due for peer review by May 1, 2018

Guest Editor: Emily Linares

“I send a copy [of my first book] to my father. I should have known better. His reply is curt and simple. Why did I have to write my first book in English? Wasn’t French good enough? He had spent several weeks, he said, with an English-French dictionary trying to read the book and had scribbled in the margins all the places where, he said, my English was deficient. He was returning it to me for my information. I remember well my mixed feelings of pity and guilt and the sudden realization that my very interest in understanding the multilingual condition was perceived as a direct affront to some members of my own family.”

                                                                   —Claire Kramsch (forthcoming)

This CMS special issue seeks to draw critical attention to the normative monolingual and linguistic forms that academic scholarship tends to take, as well as to the experience of publishing in an L2, L3, and beyond. In order to explore this aim, we invite auto-ethnographic accounts, discourse analyses, and critical reflections from researchers working in a range of disciplines who have published or created work in a language other than their L1. As a large body of scholarship shows (see References below), thematizing multilingualism in research does not necessarily mean that multilingual research practices are being undertaken.

Some potential arenas and forms for critical exploration may include:

  • critical discourse analyses of research on intercultural competence, L2 literacy, or foreign language education (as well as other arenas), where research results and formats are often divorced from, or only superficially consider, multilingualism as an active mode of research practice;
  • reflections on methodology in multilingual studies where an underlying monolingual mindset is in evidence, as well as recommendations for methodologies that are appropriately sensitive to the multilingualism of subjects, including that of the researcher;
  • empirical studies that explore the role of multilingual reflexivity and practice in research and pedagogy;
  • theoretical reflections on the possibilities and limitations of researching multilingually.

Contributions can also take the form of auto-ethnographic accounts on experiences of publishing or creating in an L2, L3, etc. We define ‘language’ broadly, welcoming, for instance, contributions by musicologists and dancers who write in an “L2 research idiom” about their primary creative language of music or movement—or those who produce creative work in the language of the arts or other symbolic repertoires. Alongside the perspectives of those who have published in English as an L2, we also invite L1 English speakers who have chosen to publish in another language to share the implications of this choice for their ongoing work as scholars, teachers, colleagues, activists, and / or civic subjects. Contributors are encouraged to critically reflect on and discursively contextualize a particularly memorable constellation of experiences producing research in an L2, L3, etc. Contributors are welcome to cite and comment on specific excerpts from the research undertaken. Contributions may explore such questions as:

  • What motivations led you to publish or otherwise create research in an L2, L3, or in a combination of these?
  • What affordances and challenges did this process present? How did the experience of writing in a language other than your L1 influence the form, content, and bearing of your ideas and the habitus of their generation?
  • How did you negotiate your identity (in both your L1 and L2 networks) as a researcher writing in a language other than your L1?
  • What other scholars’ or traditions’ multilingual modes of research have guided your work?

In the general spirit of the Critical Multilingualism Studies journal, we endeavor to house a discussion on “what ‘blind spots’ vis-à-vis multilingual praxis and theory might still persist […]; and to pursue whatever reorientations may be necessary in order to address these adequately” (Gramling and Warner 2012: 4). It is our hope that this special issue will promote ongoing critical dialogue about the potential for a culture of scholarship that is multilingual in content, form, and epistemology—both within and across publications, genres, and formats.

The Journal of Critical Multilingualism Studies (CMS) is a peer-reviewed, transdisciplinary journal of scholarship on multilingualism, monolingualism, and their related social, cultural, historical, and literary/medial phenomena. CMS has been publishing high-quality peer-reviewed scholarship since 2012.

Contributions in any language and from any discipline or combination of disciplines are welcome. Chicago citation style recommended, multimedia and multilingual components encouraged. Article-length contributions should be 5000-8000 words in length. Shorter auto-ethnographic reflections should be 1000-2000 words in length. For questions, please contact CMS Editors, Prof. Chantelle Warner or Prof. David Gramling at and / or Guest Editor Emily Linares at


Auger, Nathalie. 2008. “Comparons nos langues.” In Conscience du plurilinguisme: pratiques, représentations et interventions, edited by Michel Candelier, Gina Ioannitou, Danielle Omer, and Marie-Thérèse Vasseur, 185-199. Rennes: Presses Universitaires de Rennes.

Bernhardt, Elizabeth. 2003. “Challenges to Reading Research from a Multilingual World.” Reading Research Quarterly 38(1): 112-117.

Byrd Clark, Julie, and Fred Dervin, eds. 2014. Reflexivity in Language and Intercultural Education London: Routledge.

Byrd Clark, Julie, Callie Mady, and Adrienne Vanthuyne. 2014. “Exploring Reflexivity and Multilingualism in Three French Language Teacher Education Programs.” Canadian Journal of Applied Linguistics 17(1): 129-155.

Gibb, Robert, and Julien Danero Iglesias. 2017. “Breaking the silence (again): on language learning and levels of fluency in ethnographic research.” Sociological Review 65(1): 134-149.

Gramling, David. 2016. The invention of monolingualism. New York, NY: Bloomsbury Academic.

Holmes, Prue, Richard Fay, Jane Andrews, and Mariam Attia. 2016. “How to Research Multilingually: Possibilities and Complexities. In Research Methods in Intercultural Communication: A Practical Guide, edited by Zhu Hua, 88-102. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Holmes, Prue. 2016. “Navigating languages and interculturality in the research process: the ethics and positionality of the researcher and the researched” In The critical turn in intercultural communication pedagogy: theory, research and practice, edited by Maria Dasli and Adriana Raquel Díaz, 99-108. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.

Kramsch, Claire. Forthcoming. “Third place. How a French Germanist became an applied linguist in America.” In Transatlantic German studies: Personal experiences, edited by Paul Michael Lützeler and Peter Hoeyng. Rochester, NY: Camden House.

Linares, Emily. Forthcoming. “De l’interculturel à ‘l’interculturaling’: Une activité dialogique à pratiquer dans l’enseignement comme dans la recherche.” In Les nouvelles voix/voies de l’interculturel, edited by Nathalie Auger and Fred Dervin.

Martin-Jones, Marilyn, Jane Andrews, and Deidre Martin. 2016. “Reflexive ethnographic research practice in multilingual contexts.” In Researching Multilingualism: Critical and Ethnographic Approaches, edited by Marilyn Martin-Jones and Deirdre Martin, 189-202. London: Routledge.

About livelongday

Associate Professor of German Studies, Director of Graduate Studies Co-Editor of Critical Multilingualism Studies | Co-Investigator, Researching Multilingually at the Borders of Language, the Body, Law, and the State (2014–2017)
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