Christine’s Research

Christine Malsbary trained as an anthropologist, analyzing issues related to immigration, language, culture, race and public schools. In three ethnographies spanning two cities and four high school communities, she found evidence of and developed the construct hyper-diversity.  With massive demographic shifts following 1965 immigration law reform, areas of the United States have become a veritable microcosm of the world. Within the hyper-diverse cultural context, the social world that Dr. Malsbary maps out demonstrates new ways of engaging with multilingualism, transculturalism, and identity. Across research publications, talks, book chapters and videos, Dr. Malsbary argues that immigrant youth living in hyper-diversity provide racialized, broken America with a way forward. Their everyday actions to negotiate hyper-diversity are exemplars of how schools should work, how we should learn– and indeed, how we should love one another across difference.

Special emphasis on schools. Dr. Malsbary started her journey in education as a public school teacher in the South Bronx, and was later a founding member of a progressive high school for recent-arrival immigrant & refugee youth in Brooklyn. In 2005,Dr. Malsbary began training educators to develop culturally-affirming & anti-racist curricula, working in Los Angeles, New York City, Honolulu, Hawai’i, and American Samoa. Dr. Malsbary developed a credential program at University of Hawai’i for teacher educators to integrate multilingual and ESL pedagogy into their coursework — the first of its kind in the state.

For more information to book a speaking engagement, contact:

Christine Malsbary, Ph.D. at



Kickin’ It in the Transcultural City – Talk at CU Boulder  (title links to video)

Select Bibliography

The Refusal: Teachers making policy in NYC

Description: The article showcases an ethnographic case-study. Dr. Malsbary interviewed teachers who refused to administer a high-stakes test on the grounds that it harmed their immigrant students. Dr. Malsbary theorizes that teachers’ activism is a form of local policy-making that narrates what policies teachers’ themselves hold as meaningful for learning.

Liana’s learning in a democratized classroom

Description: The article shares results of a video-based qualitative case-study in a classroom serving multilingual, immigrant high school students. Dr. Malsbary and her co-authors track the learning trajectory of one girl embedded within a diverse student group. She demonstrates how the group used their linguistic and cultural differences to learn together. The case-study acts subversively, demonstrating that cultural differences are actually a way to learn rather than a challenge, and that immigrant young people are actual true intellectual leaders in a world that devalues their humanity.

Suggested Citation: Malsbary, C., Espinoza, S. & Bales, L. (2016). Liana’s learning in a democratized classroom. Pedagogies: An International Journal,




Malsbary, C. B. (2016). Youths’ and schools’ practices in hyper-diverse contexts. American Education Research Journal.


Malsbary, C. B. & Appelgate, M. (2016). Working Downstream: A beginning ESL teacher negotiating practice and policy. Language Policy 15(1), 27-47.

Hopkins, M., Malsbary, C. B., & Morales, P. (2016). Responsive Federal Policy for Bi/Multilingual Students. Education Law and Policy Review.

Malsbary, C. B., Espinoza, S., & Bales, L. (2016). Liana’s learning in a democratized classroom. Pedagogies (11)3, 1-20.

Malsbary, C. B. (2015). Teachers as creative designers in transnationalism. Urban Education. doi:10.1177/0042085915613548

Malsbary, C. B. (2014). “Will this hell never end?”: Substantiating and resisting race-language policies in a high school. Anthropology and Education Quarterly, 45(4), 373-390.

Malsbary, C. B. (2013). “It’s not just learning English, it’s learning other cultures”: belonging, power, and possibility in an immigrant contact zone. International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, 27(10), 1312-1336.

Malsbary, C. B. (2012). “Assimilation, but to what mainstream?”: Immigrant youth in a super-diverse high school. Encyclopaideia: International Journal of Phenomenology and Education- Special Issue on Migration and Social Justice Education, vol. 1, XVI (33), 89-112.

Malsbary, C. B. (2016). Qualitative research in super-diverse schools. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 2016 (241), 9-37.


 Malsbary, C. B. & Torres, C.A. (2012). Special Issue on Migration and Social Justice Education. The role of social justice education in transforming the politics of belonging for global migrants. Encyclopaideia: International Journal of Phenomenology and Education: vol. 1, XVI (33), 1-9.


Title: Coming of Age in the Transnational, Multilingual, Hyper-diverse City. Rutgers University – Newark, Newark, NJ, April 4th, 2017.  

Title: The Challenges of Institutional Monolingualism for Bi-/Multilingual Youth. 7th Annual Hawaii Conference on Language Access. Hawai’i Office of Language Access, Department of Health, Honolulu, Hawai’i. August 7th, 2014.

Title: Teacher Education & ELLs. Hawai’i Teacher Education Advisory Council, Honolulu, HI. April 15, 2014.

Title: Ethnographic research with vulnerable youth populations- immigrants, undocumented, and linguistic minorities. Second Language Studies Department, University of Hawaii-Manoa, November 18th, 2013.

Title: On the Back of Our Children: Cultural Diversity and the Politics of Schooling in an Age of Migration. Intercultural Studies Program Talk Series, University of Hawaii-Manoa, October 9, 2013.