Maya Angela Smith
Having received my PhD in romance languages and linguistics at the University of California, Berkeley, I investigate identity formations among marginalized groups in the African diaspora, particularly in the postcolonial francophone world. Much of my work has been focused on Senegal and its diaspora. For instance, my first book, Senegal Abroad: Linguistic Borders, Racial Formations and Diasporic Imaginaries (University of Wisconsin Press), offers a critical examination of language and multilingual practices in qualitative, ethnographic data to show how language is key in understanding the formation of national, transnational, postcolonial, racial and migrant identities among Senegalese in Paris, Rome, and New York. This is a book about language attitudes, how they influence people's local and global interactions with the world, how they change through the experience of migration and how in turn they affect migrants' language use.
My most recent publication, "The Journal Rappé: 'Edutaining' the Youth Through Senegalese Hip-Hop," is an essay in the edited volume Africa Every Day (Ohio University Press), which explores how Senegalese hip-hop artists Xuman and Keyti rap the news in French and Wolof in order to spark civic engagement among the youth population.
For me, international justice is not just meted out in international courts and tribunals. Justice is also experienced in everyday interactions as people engage with a range of institutions and negotiate various power dynamics. How can people's reflections on language broaden our understanding of societal belonging?
Areas of Interest
- Francophone Africa
- Diaspora studies
- Smith, Maya Angela. "The Journal Rappé: 'Edutaining' the Youth through Senegalese Hip-Hop." Africa Every Day: Fun, Leisure, and Expressive Culture on the Continent, edited by Kemi Balogun, Lisa Gilman, Melissa Graboyes, and Habib Iddrisu. Athens, OH: Ohio University Press, 2019.
- Smith, Maya Angela. "Senegal Abroad: Linguistic Borders, Racial Formations and Diasporic Imaginaries." University of Wisconsin Press, 2019.
- Smith, Maya Angela. "Negotiating Martinican Identity amid French Universalism: Racial and Linguistic Considerations." (2018). Francospheres 7(1), 49-69.
- Smith, Maya Angela. "French Heritage Language Learning: A Site of Community-Building, Cultural Exploration and Self-reflection." (2017). Critical Multilingualism Studies 5(2), 10-38.
- Smith, Maya Angela. "Who Is a Legitimate French Speaker? The Senegalese in Paris and the Crossing of Linguistic and Social Borders." (2015). French Cultural Studies 26(3), 317–329.
- Smith, Maya Angela. "Multilingual Practices of Senegalese Immigrants in Rome: Construction of Identities and Negotiation of Boundaries." (2015). Italian Culture 33(2), 126-146.
- "Using Interconnected Texts to Highlight Culture in the Foreign Language Classroom." (2013). L2 Journal. 5(2).
- 2020. "Black Motherhood Amidst Two Pandemics: A Lament for My Unborn Son." Medium.
- 2020. "As a Black Mother-to-be, I’m Already Full of Heartache." The Boston Globe.
- 2019. "Presenting Senegal Abroad." University of Wisconsin blog.
- 2018. "Black Pain, Meet Black Joy: Coming Home to Wakanda," with Carvell Wallace and Marcie Sillman. Radio interview, KUOW.
- 2018. "How Black Panther Is Rewriting Hollywood’s Narrative of Blackness." Nerdist.
- 2014. "Premios Sentiido a los Oscars 2014: Doce años de esclavitud." Sentiido. Film review of Twelve Years a Slave.
- 2012. "Teaching Intertextuality and Recontextualization Through Music." Berkeley Language Center Newsletter. Vol. 27, no. 2.