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Amir Kalan

Academic title(s): 

Assistant Professor

Amir Kalan
Contact Information

McGill University
3700 rue McTavish, Education Building Rm 314
Montreal, QC, H3A 1Y2

Email address: 
amir.kalan [at] mcgill.ca
Department of Integrated Studies in Education


Amir Kalan is Assistant Professor in the Department of Integrated Studies in Education (DISE) at McGill University. His research interests include critical literacy, multiliteracies, second language writing, intercultural rhetoric, multilingual text generation, and multimodal and digital writing. In his research, he mobilizes mainstream qualitative research and alternative qualitative methods such as narrative inquiry, autoethnography, and visual ethnography to study sociocultural, discursive, political, and power relational contexts of literacy engagement. He is particularly interested in learning about the experiences of minoritized and racialized students in multicultural and multilingual contexts and about non-Western forms of language and literacy education.


2018- Ph.D. in Language and Literacies Education, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto

2013- Master of Teaching, The Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the University of Toronto


Areas of expertise: 
  • Critical Literacy
  • Multiliteracies
  • Writing and Rhetoric
  • Second Language Writing
  • Multimodal and Digital Writing
  • Minoritized Students’ Experiences with Literacy
  • Literacy Engagement in Times of Crisis


  • EDEC 617 (Special Topics) Critical Language and Literacies Education: Pedagogy and Power (Graduate)
  • EDEC 629 Writing: Theory, Research, and Practice (Graduate)
  • EDSL 630 Qualitative & Ethnographic Methods (Graduate)  
  • EDTL 635 Applied Methods in Second Language Education (Graduate)
  • EDSL 332 Literacy 2 Teaching Writing in ESL (Undergraduate)  
  • EDSL 447 Methods in TESL 1 (Undergraduate)  



Writing in Times of Crisis

Writing in Times of Crisis is a project that frames Dr. Amir Kalan’s recent research, starting from August 2020. Writing in Times of Crisis explores writers’ experiences with writing during periods of calamity, instability, uncertainty, and lack of literacy resources. The project contains multiple studies of people who engage with writing and publishing in times of trauma and tragedy. Examples of these studies include: Teaching and learning writing during pandemics; refugees’ engagement with writing in additional languages; minoritized populations’ publishing practices; and exiled writers’ multilingual textual performances. Dr. Kalan studies these writing practices as cases that highlight the nature of writing as a form of resistance and a means of survival. Moreover, in this project, Dr. Kalan showcases examples of writing in periods of crisis to argue that despite the orthodox Western view of writing as rhetorical craftsmanship, most organic forms of writing are personal, diverse, cultural, ideological, and thus genre-fluid. 


Selected publications: 

A. Peer-reviewed articles

Kalan, A. (2022). Negotiating writing identities across languages: Translanguaging as enrichment of semiotic trajectories. TESL Canada Journal, 38(2), 63-87. https://doi.org/10.18806/tesl.v38i2.1357

Kalan, A., Jafari, P., & Aghajani, M. (2019). A collaborative practitioner inquiry into societal and power-relational contexts of an activist writing community’s textual events. International Journal of Action Research, 15(1), 62-80. https://doi.org/10.3224/ijar.v15i1.05

Simon, R., Evis, S., Walkland, T., Kalan, A., & Baer, P. (2016). Navigating the “delicate relationship between empathy and critical distance”: Youth literacies, social justice, and arts-based inquiry. English Teaching: Practice and Critique, 15(3), 430-449. https://doi.org/10.1108/etpc-09-2016-0108

Kalan, A. (2016). Teaching Anglo-American academic writing and intercultural rhetoric: A grounded theory study of practice in Ontario secondary schools. Current Studies in Comparative Education, Science and Technology (ISCEST) Journal, 3(1), 57-75. https://ecommons.udayton.edu/eng_fac_pub/98/

Kalan, A. (2014). A practice-oriented definition of post-process second language writing theory. TESL Canada Journal, 32(1), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.18806/tesl.v32i1.1196

Simon, R., Kalan, A., et al (2014). “In the swell of wandering words”: The arts as a vehicle for youth and educators’ inquiries into the Holocaust memoir  Night. Perspectives on Urban Education, 11(2), 90-106. https://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ1044079

Kalan, A. (2014). Integrating speaking and listening activities into teaching Anglo-American academic writing rhetoric.  International Journal of English Language Teaching, 1(1), 101-107. https://doi.org/10.5430/ijelt.v1n1p101

Kalan, A. (2013). The impact of Canadian social discourses on L2 writing pedagogy in Ontario.  English Language Teaching,  6(10), 32-42. https://doi.org/10.5539/elt.v6n10p32

B. Sole-authored books

Kalan, A. (2021). Sociocultural and power-relational dimensions of multilingual writing: Recommendations for deindustrializing writing education. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781788927819

Kalan, A. (2016). Who’s afraid of multilingual education? Conversations with Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Jim Cummins, Ajit Mohanty, and Stephen Bahry about the Iranian context and beyond. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters. https://www.multilingual-matters.com/page/detail/?k=9781783096176

C. Edited books

Gagne, A., Kalan, A., & Herath, S. (Eds.) (2022). Critical action research challenging neoliberal language and literacies education: Auto and duoethnographies of global experiences. New York: Peter Lang. https://www.doi.org/10.3726/b19227

D. Chapters

Gagne, A., Herath, S., & Kalan, A. (2022). Pathways to challenge the neoliberal constriction of education: An introductory multi-ethnography. In A. Gagne, A. Kalan, & S. Herath (Eds.),  Critical action research challenging neoliberal language and literacies education: Auto and duoethnographies of global experiences. New York: Peter Lang. https://www.doi.org/10.3726/b19227

Troberg, M., & Kalan, A. (2022). Large online undergraduate courses: The demise of critical pedagogy? In A. Gagne, A. Kalan, & S. Herath (Eds.),  Critical action research challenging neoliberal language and literacies education: Auto and duoethnographies of global experiences. New York: Peter Lang. https://www.doi.org/10.3726/b19227

Kalan, A. (2021). COVID-19, an opportunity to deindustrialize writing education. In I. Fayed, & J. Cummings (Eds.), Teaching in the post COVID-19 era: World education dilemmas, teaching innovations and solutions in the age of crisis (pp. 511-519). Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-74088-7_50

Kalan, A. (2021). Writing in times of crisis: A theoretical model for understanding genre formation. In E. B. Hancı-Azizoğlu, & M. Alawdat (Eds.), Rhetoric and sociolinguistics in times of global crisis (pp. 214-234). IGI Global. https://doi.org/10.4018/978-1-7998-6732-6.ch012

Simon, R., & Kalan, A. (2016). Adolescent literacy and collaborative inquiry. In K. A. Hinchman, & D. A. Appleman (Eds.),  Adolescent literacy: A handbook of practice-based research (pp. 398-420). New York: Guilford Press. https://www.guilford.com/books/Adolescent-Literacies/Hinchman-Appleman/9...

E. Conference proceedings

Kalan, A., & Troberg, M. (2016). Mobilizing practitioner action research to foster critical pedagogy in a large online undergrad university course. ARNA (Action Research Network of the Americas) Conference Proceedings. (Pages 1-21). https://ecommons.udayton.edu/eng_fac_pub/106/

Kalan, A. (2015). Reading poetry in standardized EFL test preparation to increase meaningful literacy engagement. International Journal of Arts and Sciences, 7(6), 275-290. https://ecommons.udayton.edu/eng_fac_pub/104/

F. Creative scholarship

Kalan, A. (in progress). Stance as inquiry: Practitioner inquiry in education.

Kalan, A. (2021). A rhetoric of protest [Poetry]. The College English Association Mid-Atlantic Review, 29, 78-79. https://bowiestate.edu/academics/colleges/college-of-arts-and-sciences/d...

Kalan, A. (Producer). (2022). A rhetoric of protest [Video installation]. Montreal, Canada. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1cjeyvkrSBM

Simon, R. (Producer), & Kalan, A. (Director). (2015). After “Night” [Motion picture]. Toronto, Canada. University of Toronto. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yAQf0aHEtu4

G. Publications co-authored with students and communities

Kalan, A. (Ed.). (in progress). Critical food pedagogy: An ESL writing textbook.

Kalan, A. (Ed.). (2018). Undergraduate voices. Dayton, OH: University of Dayton E-Scholarship. https://ecommons.udayton.edu/undergradvoices

Kalan, A. (Ed.). (2014). Persian hip hop: Writing as social action [Persian]. Tarmatn Publications. https://3746d6f3-3e99-4d8f-a063-635ecbb5443c.usrfiles.com/ugd/3746d6_4c7...


Book images: 
Critical action research challenging neoliberal language and literacies education
Sociocultural and Power-Relational Dimensions of Multilingual Writing: Recommendations for Deindustrializing Writing Education
Who's Afraid of Multilingual Education?: Conversations with Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Jim Cummins, Ajit Mohanty and Stephen Bahry about the Iranian Context and Beyond
Persian Hip Hop: Writing as Social Action
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