Eva Lam

Eva Lam

Associate Professor, Learning Sciences, Asian American Studies

Annenberg Hall
Room 314
2120 Campus Drive
Evanston, IL 60208-0001
Phone: (847) 491-3483
Eva Lam specializes in the area of language, literacy, and diversity in education. She studies the social contexts of language use and learning, new literacies, language varieties, and socialization practices in new media environments. Her work draws from sociocultural theories of literacy and language learning, media and communication studies, and the sociology of migration to investigate how young people, especially youth migrants and children of immigrants, engage in new forms of multilingual and multimodal learning and identity formation with digital and transnational media. Her ethnographic work in the Chicago area explores how adolescents of immigrant backgrounds use the Internet to organize transnational social relationships, access/utilize/produce information and media content across countries, and develop cross-cultural orientation in their language and literacy learning. In another project based on design research, she is studying community media production among high school students to consider how cultural knowledge and journalistic knowledge are syncretized in students' production of multilingual media. The broader goal of her research program is to contribute to societal education that mobilizes linguistic and cultural diversity as productive resources for promoting students' academic and social development in an increasingly intercultural world. She is a recipient of the National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Post-doctoral Fellowship (2006-2008). She has served on the editorial boards of TESOL Quarterly, Reading Research Quarterly, Language Learning and Technology, Asia Pacific Journal of Education, Journal of Applied Language Studies, and Chinese Journal of Communication, and is area editor of the Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics volume on literacy. She was given the Mid-Career Award by American Educational Research Association's Special Interest Group for Second Language Research in 2011.

Some Current Projects:

Literacy and New Communication Technologies in Contexts of Transnational Migration

Adopting a comparative case study approach and using both ethnographic and survey methods, this study investigates the role of new media technologies in the lives of immigrant youth as they develop social relationships and engage with information sources that transcend geographical and national borders. Of particular interest in this project is understanding the ways that the youth may derive diverse linguistic, social, and information resources through their online networks. An increased understanding of the new media practices of immigrant students across local and transnational environments would provide the basis for rethinking the “funds of knowledge” (Gonzalez, Moll & Amanti, 2005) that youth bring to our schools. Such an understanding is especially relevant in the context of a networked society where knowledge making is increasingly mediated digitally through various kinds of social, cultural, and information networks. Hence, we will use the findings from the study to engage in deliberation and recommendation for the role of new media and technology in enhancing the literacy development and education of immigrant youth. This study is funded by the National Science Foundation program in Science, Technology and Society. Funding period 2013-2016. PI: Eva Lam. Co-PIs: Zitlali Morales, Ellen Wartella.

Civic Media: Immigrant Voices
Studies of cultural diversity in literacy education have shown that the experiences of minority and immigrant students are marked by a disjuncture between the cultural and linguistic resources in their community and those resources that are valued for learning in schools. In this study, we explore how a multimedia journalism curriculum implemented in a high school with students from immigrant backgrounds is designed to leverage and facilitate the movement of representational resources across home, school and civic spaces. Specifically, we examine how producing a short-form video documentary on immigration allows the students to bring the voices from their community in dialogue with voices from civic institutions and public discourses on immigration, thereby producing new representations of the relationship between these spaces. This study provides implications for how multimodal literacy and media production can offer opportunities for learning that reconstruct power relations across institutional boundaries. This study is co-led by Eva Lam, Matt Easterday, and Jack Doppelt (Medill School of Journalism) and has received funding from the McCormick Foundation.


Year Degree Institution
2003 PhD, Education in Language, Literacy, and Culture University of California, Berkeley

Selected Publications
Lam, Wan Shun Eva (In Press/Under Review). Literacy and Capital in Immigrant Youths’ Online Networks Across Countries. Learning, Media and Technology.

Lam, Wan Shun Eva (2013). Multilingual Practices in Transnational Digital Contexts. TESOL Quarterly.

Lam, Wan Shun Eva (December, 2012). What immigrant students can teach us about new media literacy. Phi Delta Kappan.

Lam, Wan Shun Eva (ed.) (November, 2012). Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics section on Literacy. Wiley Blackwell.

Lam, Wan Shun Eva and Warriner, Doris (2012). Transnationalism and Literacy: Investigating the Mobility of People, Languages, Texts, and Practices in Contexts of Migration. Reading Research Quarterly, 47(2): 191–215.
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Lam, Wan Shun Eva and Rosario-Ramos, Enid (2009). Multilingual Literacies in Transnational Digitally-Mediated Contexts: An Exploratory Study of Immigrant Teens in the U.S.. Language and Education, 23(2): 171-190.
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Lam, Wan Shun Eva (2009). Multiliteracies on Instant Messaging in Negotiating Local, Translocal, and Transnational Affiliations: A Case of an Adolescent Immigrant. Reading Research Quarterly, 44(4): 377-397.
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Lam, Wan Shun Eva (2009). Second Language Literacy and the Design of the Self in Computer Assisted Language Learning: Critical Concepts in Linguistics Routledge.

Lam, Wan Shun Eva (2009). Literacy and Learning Across Transnational Online Spaces. E-learning and Digital Media, 6(4): 303‑324.
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Lam, Wan Shun Eva (2008). Digital Networks and Multiliteracies in Negotiating Local and Translocal Affiliations Among Youth Migrants. Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Language, Education, and Diversity.

Lam, Wan Shun Eva (2008). Second Language Literacy and the Design of the Self in J. Coiro, M. Knobel, C. Lankshear & D. Leu, , Handbook of research on new literacies Erlbaum.

Lam, Wan Shun Eva (2007). Language Socialization in Online Communities in Patricia Duff and Nancy Hornberger (ed.), Encyclopedia of Language and Education, Volume 8: Language Socialization Springer/Kluwer.
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Lam, Wan Shun Eva (2006). Re-envisioning Language, Literacy, and the Immigrant Subject in New Mediascapes. Pedagogies: An International Journal, 1 (3): 171-195.
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Lam, Wan Shun Eva (2006). Culture and Learning in the Context of Globalization: Research Directions. Review of Research in Education, Vol. 30: 213-237.
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Lam, Wan Shun Eva (2004). Second Language Socialization in a Bilingual Chat Room: Global and Local Considerations. Language Learning and Technology, 8 (3): 44-65.

Lam, Wan Shun Eva (2004). Border Discourses and Identities in Transnational Youth Culture in Jabari Mahiri (ed.), What They Don't Learn In School: Literacy in the Lives of Urban Youth New York: Peter Lang Publishers.
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Lam, Wan Shun Eva and Claire Kramsch (2003). The Ecology of an SLA Community in Computer-Mediated Environments in Leather, J. & J. van Dam (eds.), Ecology of Language Acquisition Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer Publishers.
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Thorne, Barrie, Marjorie Faulstich Orellana, Wan Shun Eva Lam, and Anna Eunhee Chee (2003). Raising Children–and Growing Up–in Transnational Contexts: Comparative Perspectives on Generation and Gender in Hondagneu-Sotelo, Pierrette (ed.), Gender and US Immigration: Contemporary Trends Berkeley: University of California Press.
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Orellana, Marjorie Faulstich, Barrie Thorne, Anna Eunhee Chee, and Wan Shun Eva Lam (2001). Transnational Childhoods: The Participation of Children in the Processes of Family Migration. Social Problems 48 (4): 572-591.
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Kramsch, Claire, Francine A'Ness, and Wan Shun Eva Lam (2001). Technology, Language and Literacy: The New Pedagogical Challenge in R. De Cellia, H-J Krumm, & R. Wodak, Loss of Communication in the Information Age Vienna, Austria: Austrian Academy of Sciences.
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Lam, Wan Shun Eva (2000). Second Language Literacy and the Design of the Self: A Case Study of a Teenager Writing on the Internet. TESOL Quarterly, 34 (3): 457-483.
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Kramsch, Claire, Francine A'Ness, and Wan Shun Eva Lam (2000). Authenticity and Authorship in the Computer-Mediated Acquisition of Second Language Literacy. Language Learning and Technology, 4 (2): 78-104.

Lam, Wan Shun Eva (1999). The Question of Culture in Global English Language Teaching: A Postcolonial Perspective in Lydia H. Liu (ed.), Tokens of Exchange: Translation, Representation, and Global Circulations Durham: Duke University Press.
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Kramsch, Claire and Wan Shun Eva Lam (1999). Textual Identities: The Importance of Being Non-native in George Braine (ed.), Non-Native Educators in English Language Teaching Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
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Research Interests
Multilingualism and cultural diversity in education, digital literacy and learning in new media environments, second language and multilingual literacy, language and identity, language socialization, learning in transnational contexts of migration.


HDSP 432 Field Methods This course is designed to introduce students to qualitative research, including field work, interviewing, and document analysis. Students will explore qualitative research approaches by undertaking their own research study as well as reading and discussing relevant writing on the subject.
LRN_SCI 402 Social Dimensions of Teaching and Learning
LRN_SCI 451 Topics: Discourse Analysis and the Sociocultural Study of Language and Literacy In this seminar we explore a variety of sociocultural perspectives in conceptualizing and analyzing language and literacy practices and learning. These perspectives include sociolinguistic ethnography, Bakhtinian dialogic approach, critical discourse analysis, and sociological theory of literacy and capital (drawing from Pierre Bourdieu). Our aim is to understand core theoretical concepts from these perspectives, as well as consider how these concepts are used by scholars in analyzing discourse in educational settings and in discussing issues of language and literacy practices. We approach this by examining how a theoretical framework shapes the assumptions we make about language, the questions we ask, and the kinds of answers we seek. Students have the opportunity to explore one or two perspectives in greater depth through a project examining language/literacy data.
SESP 372 Methods of Observing Human Behavior Guided practice in systematic and participant observation. Observer bias, field notes, unobtrusive measures.
SESP 383 Practicum in Human Development Soc Pol Section
SESP 385 Practicum Analysis Seminar SOC POL Section

Last Updated: 2014-02-03 23:23:53