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 and documentary 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. She was area editor of the Encyclopedia of Applied Linguistics volume on literacy, and has served as Associate Editor of AERA Open and Cognition and Instruction. 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 received funding from the National Science Foundation program in Science, Technology and Society. 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 social 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.

Curriculum Vitae

Adobe Acrobat PDF View Eva Lam's CV.



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

Selected Publications

Natalia Smirnov and Wan Shun Eva Lam (Working Paper/In Press/Under Review). Presenting OUR Perspective: Recontextualizing Youths’ Experiences of Hypercriminalization through Community-Based Media Production.

Drew Cingel, Alexis Lauricella, Wan Shun Eva Lam, Ellen Wartella, and P. Zitlali Morales (Working Paper/In Press/Under Review). Online communication behaviors of Chinese and Mexican high school students living in the United States.

Lam, Wan Shun Eva, Natalia Smirnov, Amy Chang, Matthew Easterday, Enid Rosario-Ramos and Jack Doppelt (Working Paper/In Press/Under Review). Multimodal Voicing and Scale Making in Youths’ Video Documentary on Immigration.

Smirnov, Natalia, Gulnaz Saiyed, Matthew Easterday and Wan Shun Eva Lam (Working Paper/In Press/Under Review). Journalism as Model for Civic and Information Literacies.

Lam, Wan Shun Eva and Natalia Smirnov (2017). Literacy and Identity in Mediated Contexts of Transnationalism and Mobility in Steven Thorne and Stephen May, Encyclopedia of Language and Education, Volume 9: Language, Education, and Technology Springer.
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Lam, Wan Shun Eva (2014). Literacy and Capital in Immigrant Youths’ Online Networks Across Countries. Learning, Media and Technology.
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Lam, Wan Shun Eva (2013). Multilingual Practices in Transnational Digital Contexts. TESOL Quarterly.
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Lam, Wan Shun Eva (December, 2012). What immigrant students can teach us about new media literacy. Phi Delta Kappan.
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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, multilingual and multimodal literacy, language and identity, language socialization, learning in transnational contexts of migration.




Social Dimensions of Teaching and Learning


Discourse Analysis and the Sociocultural Study of Language and Literacy In order to fully participate in the seminar, students should have access to some language or discourse data (spoken, written or multimodal) that they can use for class discussion and analysis. The data can be preliminary data collected by the student, from an existing archive or publicly accessible discourse in the media.

SESP 372

Methods of Observing Human Behavior Guided practice in systematic and participant observation. Observer bias, field notes, unobtrusive measures.

Last Updated: 2017-09-24 23:36:57