Phan Le Ha's picture
Phan Le Ha

Phan Le Ha (also written Phan Le-Ha) is a Full Professor in the Department of Educational Foundations, College of Education, University of Hawaii at Manoa. Prior to her current appointment, she was with the Faculty of Education, Monash University in Australia. She has also held visiting and honorary positions at universities in Vietnam and the UK. 

Her first book, Teaching English as an international language: Identity, resistance and negotiation (2008), established her reputation; and since then she has been continuing to engage with different bodies of scholarship and theories dominant in ‘the West’ and the ‘non-West’. With Bradley Baurain she edited Voices, identities, negotiations, and conflicts: Writing academic English across cultures (2011), and with Raqib Chowdhury, she wrote Desiring TESOL and International Education: Market Abuse and Exploitation (2014). This latter explores matters relating to the role of the English language in international education in general and the field of TESOL in particular. Specifically, the book addresses how Western universities have constructed themselves as global providers of education, and are driven to be globally competitive. It also examines the identity formation of international TESOL students to reveal how the term 'international' has been exploited by the market in the form of government educational policies and agencies, host institutions, academia and the mass media.

Her latest book (2017) is Transnational Education Crossing 'the West' and 'Asia': Adjusted Desire, Transformative Mediocrity, and Neo-colonial Disguise. In this book, Phan Le-Ha identifies and discusses four growing self-sustained/sustaining fundamental phenomena in transnational education (TNE), namely (1) the planned, evolving and transformative mediocrity behind the endorsement of English-medium education legitimized by the interactive Asia-the West relationship; (2) the strategic employment of the terms 'Asia/Asian' and 'West/Western' by all stakeholders in their perceptions and construction of choice, quality, rigour, reliability and attractiveness of programs, courses, and locations; (3) the adjusted desire for an imagined (and often misinformed) 'West' among various stakeholders of transnational education; and (4) the assigned and self-realized ownership of English by otherwise normally on-the-margin groups of speakers. A focus on how these phenomena impact questions of identity and desire in TNE is a running theme.

Professor Phan Le Ha’s expertise includes language-identity-pedagogy studies, sociology of education and knowledge production, TESOL, and higher education in the Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern regions. She is the founder of Engaging with Vietnam (, which since 2009 has brought together scholars, graduate students, policy makers, and professionals working in a wide range of countries and organizations to engage with Vietnam-related scholarship from inter- and multi-disciplinary perspectives and approaches. Professor Phan is currently developing a new interest in engaging with the media and the digital worlds to produce multimodal and multilingual scholarship.


Full Professor


  • language-identity-pedagogy studies
  • sociology of education and knowledge production
  • higher education in the Asia-Pacific and Middle Eastern regions
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