Academic English and elite masculinities

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Journal of English for Academic Purposes, 2018, 32 pp. 42 - 52
Issue Date:
Full metadata record
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd This paper addresses the ways in which the teaching of English for academic purposes by ‘Western’ teachers in Japanese higher education institutions is shaped by gender and sexuality. The paper draws on findings from a 5 year ethnographic study of white Western teachers of English in Japan. Drawing on interview data with 18 male participants, the paper points to the way elite status is attached to the teaching of English for academic purposes (TEAP) in contrast with teaching general English; the way TEAP is reproduced as a male-dominated activity among English-native-speaker teachers; and the way white Western men teaching in these contexts display an enhanced professional masculinity. Discourses articulated by the men also serve to position gendered Others as illegitimate or unworthy participants in TEAP. Although the men's accounts tend to frame TEAP as a rational, disembodied, asexual occupation, the paper argues that gender and sexuality are deployed as identity gatekeeping tools that serve to police the borders of academic English as an elite, male-dominated professional category. In closing, I make proposals for transformation of gendered hierarchies in this context, but these would require shifts in deep-seated cultural, institutional, and interpersonal gender ideologies.
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