Senegal Abroad : Linguistic Borders, Racial Formations, and Diasporic Imaginaries
Part of the Africa and the Diaspora: History, Politics, Culture series
Senegal Abroad explores the fascinating role of language in national, transnational, postcolonial, racial, and migrant identities.
Capturing the experiences of Senegalese in Paris, Rome, and New York, it depicts how they make sense of who they are-and how they fit into their communities, countries, and the larger global Senegalese diaspora.
Drawing on extensive interviews with a wide range of emigrants as well as people of Senegalese heritage, Maya Angela Smith contends that they shape their identity as they purposefully switch between languages and structure their discourse. The Senegalese are notable, Smith suggests, both in their capacity for movement and in their multifaceted approach to language.
She finds that, although the emigrants she interviews express complicated relationships to the multiple languages they speak and the places they inhabit, they also convey pleasure in both travel and language.
Offering a mix of poignant, funny, reflexive, introspective, and witty stories, they blur the lines between the utility and pleasure of language, allowing a more nuanced understanding of why and how Senegalese move.