Comparative Migrations

September 8, 2017

The George L. Graziadio Center for Italian Studies at CSULB is please to sponsor “Comparative Migrations,” a lecture series promoting interdisciplinary dialogue about the cultural, social, and political impact of transnational migration beyond U.S. borders. This is the first part of a two-semester series that will continue in Spring 2018.


FALL 2017

“Senegal Abroad: Linguistic Borders, Cultural Imaginaries, and Racial Formations”
A guest lecture by Dr. Maya Smith, University of Washington

This talk examines language and multilingual practices in qualitative, ethnographic data to shed light on the construction of national, postcolonial, racial, and migrant identities among the Senegalese diaspora in Paris, Rome, and New York. On the one hand, I investigate how ideologies of race travel. On the other hand, through an exploration of multilingualism, I argue that there is more to both mobility and language learning/use than simple utilitarian purposes. I demonstrate that while the people in my study express complicated and fraught relationships to the languages they speak and the places they inhabit, many of them also find joy and pleasure in both travel and language.  I, therefore, go beyond the political economy perspective found in most research on West African migrations to show how the stories my informants recount blur the lines between utility and pleasure, allowing for a more nuanced understanding of why and how people move.  

Co-Organizers: Dr. Clorinda Donato (CSULB), Dr. Jeannette Acevedo Rivera (CSULB), and Dr. Martin Repinecz (USD)
Co-Sponsors: The George L. Graziadio Center for Italian Studies and the University of San Diego
Information: For more information please contact Manuel Romero, Assistant to the George L. Graziadio Chair of Italian Studies at: or 562.985.1396.