Lyana Sun Han Chang
Lyana Sun Han Chang
Lyana Sun Han Chang is a fourth year Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Applied Linguistics in Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts. Her research interests include discourse analysis, narrative analysis, identity, and raciolinguistics. Her research examines the negotiation and construction of identity and agency against the backdrop of dichotomous mainstream discourses. Her dissertation research focuses on the relationships between immigrant identities, immigrant reclaimant narratives, and immigration discourses within the context of undocumented status. Specifically, Lyana is interested in stance-taking and positioning in narratives to understand how immigrants negotiate identities and public discourses which are often tied to the criminalization and racialization of certain immigrant groups. Her research has implications for the inclusion of narratives which bring to the forefront voices which are often silenced and constrained by dominant discourses, and for immigration reform and social integration. In the past she has presented her research at the TESOL International Convention and Language Expo and the Conference on College Composition and Communication.
Dissertation: “Narrativizing Undocumented Status: How immigrants Position Themselves and Negotiate Identities and Discourses in their Reclaimant Narratives”
Project Description: Dominant discourses on immigration and legality promote narrow and harmful portrayals of immigrants with an undocumented status. These discourses dehumanize immigrants and have a significant impact on how they are treated. One way to combat these portrayals has been through reclaimant narratives in which immigrants “assert their right to speak and reframe audience understanding” (Bishop, 2018, p. 160). Research on reclaimant narratives, however, has focused on interview data without a detailed analysis of the narratives themselves or contextual research on how narrators contend with the dominant and everyday discourses they’re exposed to—discourses which may differ depending on demographics like race and gender. Therefore, this dissertation aims to understand: 1) how immigrants position themselves in their reclaimant narratives, 2) what discourses immigrants are exposed to, and 3) how immigrants navigate these discourses to position themselves in their narratives. I will use a concurrent exploratory sequential mixed methods design, utilizing data from narratives, surveys, and interviews. Furthermore, a narrative as practice approach (De Fina, 2018a, 2018b) will guide the integration and analysis of this research. I will analyze positioning in reclaimant narratives (Bamberg, 1997), run statistical analyses for survey data, and use thematic analysis (Braun & Clark, 2006) to identify common themes in interviews. Finally, I will use data from the narratives, surveys, and interviews to formulate matrices for conducting a cluster analysis (Bazeley, 2018) to analyze the relationships between narrative positioning, narrators, and discourses. This research can offer insights into how marginalized individuals negotiate discourses and identities to represent their voices against harmful portrayals and has implications for policy change, social integration, and for adding complexity and humanity to discourse on immigration.