Intercultural Postgraduate Supervision: Ethnographic Journeys of Identity and Power

  • Catherine Manathunga


As growing numbers of international students enrol in research degrees outside their own countries, intercultural postgraduate supervision is becoming increasingly common in Western universities. This chapter applies postcolonial theories to interview data collected from ethnically diverse faculty supervisors and Ph.D. students at an Australian university. It argues that in the contested and unstable pedagogical contact zone of intercultural supervision, supervisors’ and students’ identities become altered. Recommendations for students and supervisors are provided based on the rich data the study unearthed. In particular, this chapter challenges assumptions about Asian students as dependent learners and about Western supervisors as providing insufficient guidance and support. It also suggests that holistic supervision strategies that seek to recognize the role of identity (re)formation are both part of an Eastern approach to supervision and an enactment of more recent Western notions of supervision as mentoring.


Contact Zone International Student Research Student Diverse Student Asian Student 
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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Catherine Manathunga

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