Understanding Intercultural Identity through Performance Ethnography: A Study on Non-Endings and Hospitality

Although the learning of target culture is an integral part of World Language Education (WLE), WL practicum teachers often struggle with understanding their interculturality, which prompts the need for a cultural and anthropological insight on the self for these future WL teachers. Using performance ethnography as a theoretical framework, this researcher investigated the ways in which 13 participants made sense of their cultural identity through ethnographic playwriting and playacting based on their practicum teaching in a Dual Language Immersion elementary school. The lens used to interpret the data draws on Derrida's (2000) law of hospitality as well as Boal's (1985) framework for performance.

Important conclusions from this research include the finding that the practicum students often saw themselves in the role of a host demonstrating hospitality by fostering balance and multicultural equity in the classroom. Their ideas for challenging the educational achievement gap echo Derrida's (2000) law of hospitality in that the participants worked to affirm and legitimize their students' cultures, especially those students whose cultural identity differed from their own or those students who identified as part of their school's cultural minority. Through playwriting and performance, they were able to gain insight into the reality of the lack of "happily ever after" moments in their students' lives, aligning with Boal's (1985) embrace of non-cathartic endings in theatrical performance. In this paper, I will discuss two of the participants' performances as artifacts demonstrating dimensions of interculturality.


  • Intercultural Studies