Aurora Tsai

Project Assistant Professor
ALESS/A Program
Global Education Center
University of Tokyo
e-mail: amtsai at

PhD in Second Language Aquisition, Carnegie Mellon University, 2018
MA in Second Language Studies, University of Hawaii at Manoa, 2013
BA in Biology, Boston University, 2005



My research interests are in race, language, mixed-heritage identity, and ideologies related to racial/linguistic discrimination (raciolinguistics). As an applied linguist, I am particularly interested in the ways language is used to negotiate identity, justify discrimination, and perpetuate ethnoracial & gender inequalities.

My current research examines Multiracial/ethnic individuals' encounters with racial ideologies and the strategies they use to accept or resist the racial identity labels imposed on them. This research has the potential to inform critical antiracist/language pedagogies by demonstrating ways that minoritized people have empowered themselves to strategically navigate a society with historically embedded hierarchies of race, gender, and language speakers.

  Publications   Courses Taught   Invited Talks   Online Tutorials  


Tsai, A. (forthcoming). Unlearning shame and silence as a Multiracial woman. (book chapter). In Untold Autoethnographic Stories of (In)justice, Teaching, and Scholarship: Textu(r)alities in and Beyond Applied Linguistics. Edited by Sheeris, A. & Peyton, J.K. Multilingual Matters.

Kimura, D. & Tsai, A. (2023). Decolonizing classroom discourse: Insights from interactional research. English Language Teaching Journal, 73(3).

Tsai, A., Straka, B., Kimura, D. (2022). Mixed-heritage individuals and systemic risk during negotiation of identity. Journal of Language, Identity, and Education.

Tsai, A., Straka, B., Gaither, S. (2021). Mixed-heritage individuals' Encounters with raciolinguistic ideologies. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development.

Tsai, A. (2018). The role of prior knowledge in promoting higher-order thinking skills in Japanese as a foreign language (Order No. 28645800). [Doctoral Dissertation, Carnegie Mellon University]. ProQuest Dissertations and Theses Global. link

Tsai, A. (2017). Conceptualizations of vocabulary knowledge in second language reading. The Reading Matrix. 17(2). link

Tsai, A. (2014). The role of visuo-spatial and verbal working memory in L2 Japanese reading proficiency. University of Hawaii Second Language Studies Working Papers. 32(2), 76-113. link


Courses Taught

University of Tokyo

ALESS/A Program
Active Learning of English for Students of the Arts (ALESA)
Active Learning of English for Students of the Sciences (ALESS)
Fluency-oriented Workshop (FLOW)
Race, Language, and Identity in a Globalizing World (English-medium content course)

Georgia Institute of Technology

School of Modern Languages
JAPN 1001 Elementary Japanese 1
JAPN 2002 Intermediate Japanese 2 (Synchronous Online Course)
JAPN 4813 Project X: Lessons from Japan (Content course on the Project X Documentary Series)
JAPN 3693 Japan Today (Sustainability in Japan)
JAPN 3691 Technical and Scientific Japanese

Carnegie Mellon University

Department of English
ENG 76-100 Academic Reading and Writing

Modern Languages Department
JPN 82-171 Elementary Japanese 2
JPN 82-172 Elementary Japanese 1

Summer College Preview Program (Qatar Campus)
Academic English

The Pennsylvania State University

Department of Applied Linguistics
ENG 100 ESL Composition for American Academic Communication II

University of Hawaii at Manoa

English Language Institute
ELI 82 Academic Reading
ELI 83 Academic Writing for Graduate Students
ELI 73 Academic Writing

Hawaii English Language Program
Academic Listening
Academic Writing

Digital Humanities Projects

Visualizing the Attitudes and Experiences of Mixed-Race Individuals in the U.S.
This project uses R-shiny to create an interactive visualization of 193 mixed-race individuals' attitudes and experiences related to issues related to race, language, and identity.

Invited Talks

Berkeley Language Institute
Mixed-Heritage Individuals: Rewriting Narratives of Racial, Linguistic and Cultural Deficiency

Japanese for Nikkei
Hafu women's collective healing from ethnolinguistic discrimination through a "translanguaging safe space"

University of Tokyo: Global Faculty Development
Interdisciplinary Roundtable on Diversity and Inclusion in the Academy

University of Tokyo: Time to Talk Series
Promoting Critical Language Awareness and Inclusivity in the Japanese Classroom

Review of Atlas.ti 9

Atlas.ti 9 Review
I review the features of Atlas.ti 9, a Computer-assisted Qualitative Data Analysis Software (CAQDAS), based on my work with it for thematic analysis of survey responses.

Online Tutorials

TidyR package Tutorial for R
This package is helpful to learn if you need a quick way to reorganize your data on spreadsheets. Unlike other tutorials, it contains example problems with data from Applied Linguistics.

Data Visualization with GGplot2 Tutorial
An introduction to the power of ggplot2, this tutorial explains how to visualize linguistic data, covering boxplots, line graphs, scatterplots, barplots, and more.

Multiple Imputation Analysis for Missing Data Sets in R
This is especially useful for researchers involved with larges amount of data from language assessment and wish to perform item response theory analyses.

Reading Strategies Workshop for undergraduates
A 5-minute teaching workshop for undergraduate students, introducing research-based reading strategies used by "good" and "poor" readers.