Researcher biography

The continuing interest underpinning my research is that of the self-presentation of the non-native speaker, in different genres. This has led me to work on: culturally determined practices; cross-cultural comparisons; and on intercultural behaviour, how this is conceptualized and how, in practice, encounters between different expectations of appropriate behaviour play out.

One focus of my attention has been the proliferation of new intercultural encounters which are made possible by online technologies. In particular, Juliana de Nooy and I undertook a project examining discussion fora on media websites, culminating in our 2009 book. The pedagogical implications of this work, and my own teaching practices have allowed me to develop expertise in language learning and technology which I have extended through other collaborations (e.g. Cowley & Hanna, 2013 on Wikipedia) research supervisions and publications which derive from it (Gao & Hanna, 2016, on instructional software).

My current project focuses on another critical area of intercultural contact: Study Abroad experiences. Many institutions encourage Study Abroad participants to share their experiences online with other students, with a view to publicizing the opportunities and providing advice - such testimonials are the primary source for my current work. I am looking at the 'selves' which these online testimonials hold up as exemplary (see also Hanna & de Nooy 2003 b; 2006). What, the student reader of these testimonials might ask, will I feel like? How will I change? What counts as successful life as a Study Abroad student? How can I be successful too? In order to tackle these questions, I draw on theories of learner motivation and imaginary or ideal selves.