Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



Committee Director

Julia Romberger

Committee Member

Bridget Anderson

Committee Member

Kevin Depew

Committee Member

Christine Tardy


The traditional theoretical frameworks and assumptions about intercultural technical communication are no longer adequate to describe and teach intercultural communication now frequently happening through digital networks. My dissertation proposes to use the theory of cosmopolitanism as it has been recently applied in several social science fields as a framework for pedagogical project design in order to teach intercultural communication skills applicable in the global age.

The dissertation describes a transcultural online pedagogical project between Hungarian and U.S. students that I designed according to the principles of cosmopolitan theory. In this project, students were introduced to the basic tenets of cosmopolitanism and were asked to create blogs about themselves and their varied identities and languages. Students were also asked to comment on the blogs written by students in the other country.

For this dissertation, I analyzed the blogs and comments created during the project to find out how students represented their identities and interacted with each other in this online learning environment. Students’ identity representations are discussed within the framework of Burke and Stets’ identity theory. The categories of student identity, sports identity, and national identity are examined in detail by applying discourse analysis with the purpose of identifying structures of expectations as delineated by Tannen. In addition, students’ rhetorical strategies in the comment section that follow the principles of cosmopolitan communication are also described. Based on the findings of this research, I conclude the dissertation by proposing a model for the cosmopolitan communication process in this globally networked learning space that is not only applicable to similar projects but can also inform the process of transforming the teaching of transcultural technical communication making it more applicable to the increasingly global and digital workplace.