Maya Smith

Associate Professor, French

Contact Information

PDL C-246


Maya Smith completed her undergraduate and master’s degree at New York University in the joint MA/BA program with the Institute of French Studies. She received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley in Romance Languages and Linguistics. Her current research focuses primarily on language use, language acquisition, and identity construction among Senegalese immigrants in France, Italy, and the United States. Through ethnographic fieldwork incorporating interviews, recorded conversations, and participant observations, the study shows how Senegalese immigrants in different countries, conceptualize and perform their identities through multilingual practices. Based on the discourse-analytic approach adopted in the study, it is not only what they say that conveys certain understandings of self and environment. It is also how they speak—the ways in which they switch between languages and structure their discourse—that contributes to their means of making identity claims.

Maya is also interested in language pedagogy, particularly how to limit stereotyping when teaching culture in the foreign language classroom. Her article, “Using Interconnected Texts to Highlight Culture in the Foreign Language Classroom,” can be found in L2 Journal at