Senegal Abroad

Linguistic Borders, Racial Formations, and Diasporic Imaginaries

“A groundbreaking interdisciplinary book that breathes fresh air into the study of migration, which has been dominated by economic perspectives. It brings together migration studies, the practice of strategic multilingualism, and racialized identity formation.”
—Cilas Kemedjio, University of Rochester

This volume explores the fascinating role of language in national, transnational, postcolonial, racial, and migrant identities. Drawing on extensive interviews with people of Senegalese heritage, Maya Angela Smith contends that they are notable in their capacity for movement and in their multifaceted approach to speech, shaping their identity as they purposefully switch between languages and structure. Offering a mix of poignant, funny, reflexive, introspective, and witty stories, Senegal Abroad blurs the lines between the utility and pleasure of language, allowing a more nuanced understanding of why and how Senegalese move.

This book was awarded a 2019 Modern Language Association’s  Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Studies, and a paperback edition was published in May 2020.