Language, Literacy, and Culture (LLC)

Language, Literacy and Culture Ph.D. Program

JOANN CRANDALL, Graduate Program Director

BELASCO, WARREN (American Studies), Ph.D., University of Michigan; Popular and material culture, cultural history, food, future studies
BERGE, ZANE L. (Education), Ph.D., Michigan State University; Training systems, distance education
BERMAN, JESSICA (English), Ph.D, University of Chicago; Modernism from a transnational perspective, literature and culture, feminist and literary theory, politics and twentieth-century narrative
CRANDALL, JOANN (Education), Ph.D., Georgetown University; Literacy, language and public policy, immigrant education, second-language teaching, teacher development
FIELD, THOMAS T. (Modern Languages and Linguistics), Ph.D., Cornell University; Socio-linguistics, literacy, textual analysis, French studies
LARKEY, EDWARD (Modern Languages and Linguistics), Ph.D., Humboldt Universt�t; German popular culture, German ethnicity, GDR studies, political economy of culture
MCCANN, CAROLE (Gender and Women�s Studies), Ph.D., University of California, Santa Cruz; Cultural studies of science, feminist theory, discourse analysis
PINCUS, FRED L. (Sociology and Anthropology), Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles; Race and ethnic relations, sociology of education, higher education policy
ROTHENSTEIN, WILLIAM G., (Sociology and Anthropology), Ph.D. Cornell University; Sociology of occupations, medical sociology, formal organizations, medical history
RUBINSTEIN, ROBERT L., (Sociology and Anthropology), Ph.D., Bryn Mawr College; Cultural and medical anthropology, anthropology of aging, gerontology, gender, qualitative research methods
SCHAFFER, EUGENE C. (Education), Ed.D., Temple University; Curriculum and instruction, educational leadership
SHIN, SARAH J. (Education), Ph.D., University of Michigan; Bilingualism, bilingual education, language acquisition, second-language writing, language teacher training
SINNIGEN, JOHN H. (Modern Languages and Linguistics), Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University; Modern Spanish and Latin- American narrative, ideologies and literature, political economy of culture

Associate Professors
ADLER, MARINA A., (Sociology and Anthropology), Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park; Social science methodology and statistics, cross-national gender, work and family issues, the welfare state, social policy in international perspective
CHUKU, GLORIA (Africana Studies), Ph.D., University of Nigeria, Nsukka; Modern African history (since the 19th century), social & cultural history, nationalism & intellectual history, gender, African Diaspora, slavery & slave trade
GWIAZDA, PIOTR K. (English), Ph.D., New York University; 20th-century poetry, poetic history and theory, American literature and culture
KA, OMAR (Modern Languages and Linguistics), Ph.D., University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign; Socio-linguistics, phonology, African linguistics, Wolof language, French language LEE, DIANE M. (Education), Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park; Human learning and cognition, research methods
LOVIGLIO, JASON W. (American Studies), Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Popular culture, media studies, cultural history of mass media
OSKOZ, ANA (Modern Languages and Linguistics), Ph.D., University of Iowa; Second-language acquisition, technology in foreign language classroom, online chat
PROVENCHER, DENIS (Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication), PhD, University of Maryland, College Park; French civilization and cultural studies; language, gender and sexuality; conversation and discourse analysis, intercultural communication
RIVKIN, MARY S. (Education), Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park; Early childhood education, outdoor play, environmental education
ROBINSON, THOMAS N., JR., (Africana Studies), Ph.D., Howard University; Psychology, research methods
SCHWARTZ, ANA MARIA (Modern Languages and Linguistics), Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park; Language teaching and curriculum development, learning strategies, media, heritage Spanish speakers
SCULLY, PATRICIA A. (Education), Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park; Early childhood education, early literacy, environmental education
STOLLE-MCALLISTER, JOHN (Modern Languages and Linguistics), Ph.D., University of Minnesota; Cultural studies, social movements, Latin-American popular culture

Assistant Professors
BHALLA, TAMARA (American Studies), Ph.D., University of Michigan; South Asian American literature, Asian-American cultural and literary studies, reading communities, feminist theory, and multiethnic American literatures
CHAPIN, BAMBI (Sociology and Anthropology), Ph.D., University of California, San Diego; Psychological Anthropology, child development in socio-cultural context, social and emotional relationships, mental health and illness, trance and spirit possession, Sri Lanka and South Asia
CHARD, SARAH (Sociology and Anthropology), Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University; Medical anthropology, urban anthropology, anthropology of gender
FATIH, ZAKARIA (Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication), Ph.D. University at Buffalo; Foreign language education, French language and literature, Arabic and Islamic studies, linguistics and philology, postcolonial theory, postcolonial studies
GALINDO, CLAUDIA, Ph.D, Pennsylvania State University; Educational Theory and Policy and Comparative International Education. Educational inequality, sociology of education, education and demographic processes, the Latino population in the U.S.
MAHER, JENNIFER (English), Ph.D., Iowa State University; Rhetoric of technology, cultural theory, professional writing
MALLINSON, CHRISTINE (Language, Literacy and Culture), Ph.D., North Carolina State University; Race, class and gender inequality; regional, ethnic and gender variation in American English; socio-linguistics and social theory; research methodology
MEDINA LOPEZ PORTILLO, ADRIANA (Modern Languages and Linguistics), Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Intercultural communication, study abroad, conflict resolution, experiential learning
SECKIN, GUL (Sociology and Anthropology), Ph.D., Case Western Reserve University; Medical sociology, health communication, political sociology, ethnic conflict
SHELTON, NANCY RANKIE (Education), Ph.D., University of Florida; Elementary education, literacy
SHIN, JOAN (Education), Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Teaching English to young Learners (TEYL), EFL/ESL teacher education, online teacher education, virtual communities of practice, content instruction for ELLs
TAYLOR, JOBY (Shriver Center), Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Service-learning, place-based learning, metaphor and social change, American pragmatism, peace studies, religious studies

Clinical Associate Professor
BLUNCK, SUSAN M. (Education), Ph.D., University of Iowa; Science education, curriculum, systemic reform, science education professional development

Clinical Assistant Professor
NELSON, JOHN, (Education), Ph.D., McGill University; Adult language learning, ESOL testing, measurement and evaluation, linguistics and ESOL teaching, ESOL instruction in K-12 education< /p>

Research Assistant Professor
BICKEL, BEVERLY (American Studies), Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Globalized communication and culture, critical discourse analysis, critical pedagogy, qualitative research

BRYAN, KATHY S. (American Studies), Ph.D., University of Maryland, College Park; Education history and policy, gender equity in education, curriculum transformation, cultural conflict and transformation, literature and society
HASEGAWA, KAZUMI (Continuing and Professional Studies), Ph.D., Michigan State University; Quantitative methods, survey development, intercultural communication, culture and marketing
HODELL, CHARLES K. (Professional Education and Training), Ph.D., University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Instructional systems design, labor education

Degree Offered


Program Description

The Ph.D. in Language, Literacy and Culture is an interdisciplinary program of study of language, culture and human interaction offered by the departments of Africana Studies, American Studies, Education, English, Modern Languages and Linguistics, Sociology and Anthropology, History, and the Gender and Women�s Studies Program at UMBC. Through courses and seminars, internships and research, students in the program investigate ways in which social structure, social and cultural assumptions and language use affect interactions among members of different social and cultural groups and impact educational and training programs, communications systems, public policy formation and organization and management. The goal of the program is to provide research and application that will enable professionals to:

  • Engage in substantive analysis of discourse, human interaction and the relationships between language, literacy and communication and text
  • Research and address linguistic, cultural and other diversity issues in communication and interaction
  • Re-design organizations (schools, businesses, community organizations, non-governmental organizations and governmental entities) to maximize the contributions of linguistic, cultural, racial, gender, social class and age diversity and to increase the participation of under-represented individuals, while addressing challenges related to intercultural communication.
Degree Requirements

Students develop their program of study for the Ph.D. in Language, Literacy and Culture in consultation with their LLC advisor and their research advisor. The program requires completion of nine credits of introductory courses, 15 credits of specialized courses, three to six credits of a service learning internship, 12 credits of research methods courses and, once students achieve candidacy, at least 18 credits of dissertation research. In addition, students must successfully complete written comprehensive examinations, write and defend a dissertation proposal and a final dissertation. Where appropriate for research projects, students should demonstrate proficiency in a foreign language.

The service learning internship is an integral part of the core course of study that allows students to �give back� while developing new skills. Students will find a placement that allows them to engage in a service-learning project that relates to their research and professional interests. Projects could be conducted in non-profits organizations, national associations, community-based organizations, or schools. Students could also have an internship placement with a professor at UMBC in order to teach or conduct research. The internship should be a special project, not just part of a regular job. Internships should be completed when a student is far enough along to know what her/his research is, and it can be a research pilot. The work of the internship should be equivalent to a 3-credit course load. The internship requires a short proposal to be submitted for approval by the students� dissertation and LLC advisors, and once the internship is completed, students will submit a final report to the site supervisor and faculty advisors.

Upon completion of coursework, students write two extensive (30-40 page) comprehensive papers that have direct relevance to their dissertation research. In consultation with their Research Advisor (or Co-Advisors) and their LLC Program Advisor, students identify areas of inquiry for their comprehensive papers. One area is related to the theoretical frameworks in the disciplines and fields in which the students are working; the other is related to methodological issues that scholars have addressed and approaches they have used in the fields and disciplines of the student�s envisioned dissertation project. Students develop reading lists of relevant sources for each area for approval by the advisors. They then answer two comprehensive questions that have been developed by the advisors. The comprehensives process may begin at any time during the year, based on a starting date that has been mutually agreed upon by the faculty members and the student. Students enroll in LLC 898 during the semester in which the majority of the comprehensives work will take place. Upon successful completion of the two comprehensive papers, students are admitted to candidacy in LLC.

The dissertation is focused on preparing degree candidates to identify, research and help resolve issues related to language, literacy and culture. Candidates are encouraged to link their dissertation research to issues facing diverse populations in schools, organizations, communities, colleges/universities, or businesses or industries. Students must successfully defend their dissertation research proposal to their dissertation committee. They then complete their research, analysis, and writing of the dissertation and defend their completed dissertation to the dissertation committee.

LLC students� and faculty research are located in one or more of these interdisciplinary research areas:

Immigration, Ethnicity, Race, and Culture
Language, Literature, Discourse, and Identity
Intercultural Communication and Cultural Exchange
Cultural Politics of Gender and Sexuality
New Media, Multiple Literacies, and Globalized Communication
Social Movements, Social Change, Ideologies, and Communities
Education, Inequality, Critical Pedagogies, and Language Diversity

Program Admission Requirements

Applicants to the Language, Literacy and Culture doctoral program must have a master�s degree and meet all of the admissions requirements as set forth by the Graduate School. In addition, the candidate must submit an academic writing sample (for example, a thesis, research paper or report) directly to the Language, Literacy and Culture program.

The writing sample should be sent to the following address:

LLC Ph.D. Program
ACIV A-Wing, Room 421
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250

Other original application documents should be sent directly to the Graduate School, not to the LLC program. Please note that the LLC doctoral program admits new students in fall semesters only. The program deadline for receipt of all application materials is December 1 of the year prior to the fall semester in which the student intends to enroll. Only those applicants with master�s degrees are considered for admission.

Facilities and Special Resources

Through its eight supporting departments and programs, LLC offers a number of special resource collections and facilities, including the Resource Center for Language and Culture, the Maryland State Adult Literacy Center, the Center for Language Initiatives, and the New Media Studio. The departments have a number of local, regional, national and international partnerships that can serve as contexts for internships. Internships can be arranged with public and private schools, community colleges and universities throughout Maryland; nonprofit organizations, non-governmental organizations, governmental agencies and other public and private institutions around the country; and universities and bi-national institutes and bilingual American and international schools in a number of countries, including Brazil, Chile, China, Ecuador, Mexico and Thailand. Additional internships are available through UMBC�s Shriver Center.

Financial Assistance

A limited number of graduate assistantships are available through the program. Work-study assistantships are also available to U.S. citizens and permanent residents. Students applying for work-study assistantships should submit a Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form. Visit the UMBC Financial Aid website for more information:

For more information about LLC, consult the following websites:
Contact the LLC Program or the Graduate School:
Graduate Program Director

UMBC Graduate School
1000 Hilltop Circle
Baltimore, MD 21250


LLC students take courses from LLC as well as the participating departments and programs. Check the catalog for the full list of course offerings from participating departments. Students also may take courses from other graduate programs at UMBC as listed in this Graduate School catalog.

Participating Departments

Africana Studies; American Studies; Education; English; Modern Languages, Linguistics and Intercultural Communication; Sociology and Anthropology, History, and the Gender and Women�s Studies Program.

Introductory Courses (3 courses)

LLC 600
Introduction to Language, Literacy and Culture I Fall [3]
Introduction to Language, Literacy and Culture II Spring [3]
This two-semester course is designed to introduce students to interdisciplinary research and the ways in which social structuring, cultural assumptions and language use affect public policy formation and interactions in such areas as the multi-cultural classroom, the professions, government, and business.

LLC 644 (offered in the Fall)
Methods of Language, Literacy and Culture Research [3]
This course is designed to provide students with graduate-level understanding of social science research methods. Major objectives are to understand the various components and stages of the social science research process; to understand the values, politics and ethics of social science research; and to learn how to design a manageable research project.

Specialization Courses (at least 5 courses)

LLC 606
Social Inequality and Social Policy [3]
This course examines poverty and inequality in modern society. The focus is on describing the extent of poverty and inequality, examining theories that attempt to explain these phenomena and discussing the policies that have been employed to mitigate them. In addition to class inequality, the course also considers racial and gender inequality. Note: Also listed as SOCY 606.

LLC 610
Theorizing Identity in Multi-Cultural Contexts [3]

This course examines the changing dynamics of identity formation and transformation as they are mediated through contemporary experiences of race, gender, ethnicity, class, sexuality and nation. A wide range of personal narratives and case studies are analyzed using different socio-cultural theories of identity. Note: Also listed as AMST 610.

LLC 611
Constructing Race, Class and Gender [3]

This course provides an interdisciplinary examination of the complex array and interplay of structural and cultural limitations on individual and group mobility in contemporary American society. Using a range of approaches, the course defines and clarifies the limitations of these dominant social categories by problematizing and interrogating four important social categories: race, class, gender and schooling. Note: Also listed as EDUC 611 and SOCY 611.

LLC 612
Language, Race and Ethnicity [3]

This course explores language as a mechanism in the construction and institutionalization of race and ethnicity. Topics covered include the construction of standard language ideologies, the significance of racial and ethnic dialects in individual and group identities, the �English only� and �Ebonics� controversies and linguistic profiling. Students will propose original research projects to further examine language, race and ethnicity.

LLC 616
Cyberspace, Culture and Society [3]

The information superhighway, communications revolution and cyberspace are used to describe the contemporary revolution in human communications. This course will explore the cultural and societal implications of computer-mediated communications by addressing such topics and questions as the representations of self and self-identity in cyberspace, interactions in cyberspace, information technology and institutional change, community formation in cyberspace, democracy and collective action in cyberspace and order and deviance in cyberspace. Throughout the course, contemporary technological advances will be compared to and contrasted with the cultural and societal effects of previous technologies, such as the printing press, wireless telephone and television. Note: Also listed as SOCY 616.

LLC 619
Immigration, Race, and Society [3]

This introductory graduate seminar focuses on current issues of immigration, race/ethnicity, and society using interdisciplinary and multisystem lenses. The first part of the course focuses on the context of immigration by studying who migrates to the U.S. and why, and the consequences of immigration for the U.S. society. The second part of the course focuses on the experiences of children of immigrants in the U.S. The course also examines theories of acculturation and assimilation, integration (or isolation); the role of ethnic communities in the new country; family and intergenerational relations; issues of identity, and the schooling and educational experiences of immigrant children.

LLC 622
Inequality in Education [3]

This graduate seminar focuses on current issues of educational inequality using interdisciplinary and multisystem lenses, examining educational indicators of inequality, the role of families and schools in determining patterns of educational inequality, and current debates about key policies and practices in classrooms and schools. The course also examines relationships between schools and other social institutions (i.e. the family and its larger community).

LLC 635
Socio-Cultural Theories of Learning and Human Interaction [3]

This seminar examines the process of human learning from an ecological or socio-cultural perspective across diverse contexts, including the effects of differences in cultural, ethnic and linguistic backgrounds of student and teacher; differences in learning styles and educational assumptions; and institutional catalysts or barriers to student achievement. The role of social interaction in learning is also addressed. Note: Also listed as EDUC 635.

LLC 640
Multi-Disciplinary Approaches to Race, Society and Culture [3]

This course explores critical social issues through analysis and discussion of works by contemporary authors who have shaped critical discourse in relationship to issues of freedom, truth and dignity. The course focuses on personal, social, intellectual and aesthetic challenges to modern discourse, as well as the dialectics of change and order. Note: Also listed as AFST 640.

LLC 641
Community, Literacy and Computer-Assisted Writing [3]

This course investigates the impact of technology-rich writing spaces on communication, community and literacy. Students examine and practice the ways community affects the development of writing process. Additionally, they consider the ways electronic writing spaces enable new kinds of communities and the literacy expectations of those communities. Note: Also listed as ENGL 641

LLC 642
Visual Literacy [3]

This course focuses on the impact of new media, including an evolving visual and technological literacy. The course examines literacy development and expectations, both visual and textual, across cultures. For both readers and writers, technology is reshaping our literate practices; literacy definitions are expanding; and literacy expectations are increasing, requiring new skills and a changed composing process. Note: Also listed as ENGL 488/688.

LLC 647
Online Voice and Community [3]

This course examines culturally specific online communities and the ways in which these strengthen social capital. Students analyze and participate in online communities, examining text, voice, ethics, language and structure. They consider the importance of valued voice in the design, engagement and outcome of successful online communities. Note: Also listed as ENGL 447/647.

LLC 648
Research Writing and Design

The course focuses on three aspects of academic writing: participating in the scholarly community, writing for conference presentation and publication and writing for the dissertation. Students identify leading publications in their field and assess the expectations, read deeply within one journal series and prepare a paper for publication. They also prepare a paper for a conference presentation, while developing a fuller text for publication. Finally, they review successful dissertations and their dissertation requirements and design a reasonable process for dissertation writing and management.

LLC 649
Genre Analysis [3]

Taught in an electronic classroom, this course is guided by the theory and methodologies, primarily of Swales and Bakhtin. Students conduct "textographies" or studies of text and situation and examine the rhetoric of academia, science, media and law, both print and electronic, using multi-methodologies, including observation, discourse analysis, interview and think-aloud protocols. They also investigate academic writing and the development of academic language and literacy.

LLC 672
Bilingualism [3]

This course is an introduction to the social and educational aspects of bilingualism. It offers an overview of the broad range of sociolinguistic and political issues surrounding bilingualism, examines the language mixing behavior of bilingual speakers, and explores the use of two or more languages in popular music, advertising, and online social spaces. The course covers such key topics as language maintenance and shift, attitudes toward bilingualism, bilingual identity, multilingual educational models and policies, and bilingual parenting. This course is cross-listed as EDUC 672/LLC 672.

LLC 680
Theories of Feminism [3]

This course examines the major theories of feminism through the study of works by central feminist thinkers in historical and intellectual contexts. Topics include reproduction and sexuality; the sexual division of labor; political rights and the intersection of class, race and gender. Note: Also listed as GWST 680.

LLC 750
Topics in Language, Literacy and Culture [3]

Topics in specific areas of language, literacy and culture are selected on the basis of the interests of faculty and students. Note: May be repeated for credit.

LLC 892
Independent Study in Language, Literacy and Culture [2-3]

This course provides the student with the opportunity to study independently any aspect of language, literacy and culture relevant to the student�s program concentration that is not covered by regular course offerings.


LLC 891 (at least 1 course) Internship in Language, Literacy and Culture [3-6]
The internship is a specially designed project related to the student�s major concentration. The internship provides the opportunity to research issues in language, literacy and culture in real-world contexts and to apply results of that research to practical-world problems and issues. Internships may be related to the student�s current employment context or will be developed in agencies or organizations that complement the student�s research and experiential background and contributes to the major program of study.

Research Courses

LLC 601
Intercultural Pragmatics [3]

This course investigates the linguistic and semiotic underpinnings of human communication�the sorts of structuring that communicative codes themselves impose on interaction, the social constraints within which it operates and the role context plays in understanding the complexities of discourse. Note: Also listed as MLL 601.

LLC 645
Quantitative Research Methods I [3]

This is a course in the application of basic statistics in a variety of educational research settings. Emphasis is placed upon the use of descriptive statistics, the interpretation and construction of data collection instruments and the application of basic research paradigms. Prerequisite: LLC 644.

LLC 646
Quantitative Research Methods II [3]

Special problems arising in the implementation of educational research designs are examined. Instrumentation to measure attitudes and the collection of questionnaire data are part of the course content. Statistical procedures in addition to those taught in EDUC 645 and appropriate to the analysis of educational research designs are introduced. Problem experiences in instrumentation construction and analysis, as well as research design are emphasized. Prerequisite: LLC 645.

LLC 650
Ethnographic Methods [3]

This course provides a systematic overview of qualitative methods in social science research. Students will cover theoretical perspectives, research techniques, research design, data management, data analysis and ethical questions relevant to qualitative research. During the course, students will propose and conduct original, short-term qualitative research projects pertaining to language, literacy and culture. Prerequisite: LLC 644.

LLC 660
Intercultural Communication Theories [3]

Students will analyze and discuss theoretical frameworks, concepts, research projects, and currently available textbooks on intercultural communication, examining discussions in the US, (but also those in other countries,if possible) that students are either interested in or have selected for cooperative project. This course will expand and deepen knowledge of intercultural communication theories studied in MLL 605. It is designed to provide a basis for research into theories of intercultural communication at the MA and Ph.D. level.

LLC 684
Qualitative Research Methods in School and Communities [3]

This course focuses on the application of selected field research methods to problems of educational practice. Students will study issues pertaining to the role and responsibility of the field investigator working in schools and in other community groups. Students will plan and conduct a field study using qualitative field techniques.

LLC 890
Research Proposal Seminar [3]

The goal of this course is to help students develop their own dissertation proposals. To accomplish this, faculty in language, literacy and culture discuss their research from the proposal stage through publication and mentor students in the development of their own proposals. Students are exposed to a variety of topics and methodologies. (This course is not one of the three required research courses, but is an additional optional course offered in the fall. Most advisors suggest that students take this course in order to draft the research proposal.)

Dissertation Research Courses

LLC 898 Pre-Candidacy Doctoral Research (no minimum requirement) Students conducting dissertation research under the direction of a faculty advisor before candidacy enroll in this course.

LLC 899 Doctoral Dissertation Research (2 semesters or 18 credit hours minimum) Doctoral dissertation research under the direction of the faculty advisor.

General Notes

Most classes meet from 4:30pm to 7:00pm; some meet from7:10pm to 9:40pm. A student must be able to take some 4:30 classes.

All LLC courses require permission from the program.