This longitudinal case study explored the academic identity and language socialization of a Chinese graduate student enrolled in an online religion course at a U.S. university during the COVID-19 pandemic. Data were collected via online classroom observations, oral interviews, and artifacts. The theoretical framework was taken from language socialization and identity, together with positioning theory. The study differs from previous research, arguing that instead of language competence, the constructed academic identity is occasionally crucial for the successful academic discourse socialization of international students in bilingual and virtual settings. Moreover, the inclination toward interactive positioning between students and instructors can arise and advance in virtual academic communities and, while students’ academic identities might be resistant to change, they can be negatively impacted by disorganized course design. The conclusion sheds light on first and second language socialization through which international graduate students can navigate and maintain their academic identities within digitally mediated and multilingual learning environments.


Chinese graduate student, academic identity, language socialization, positioning theory, bilingual and virtual education

Author Bio(s)

Xiaolong Lu obtained his Ph.D. degree from University of Arizona. His research focuses on language socialization, second language acquisition, Chinese Linguistics, and L2 teaching. Please direct correspondence to charmander@arizona.edu.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 4.0 International License.





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