Yassine Ait Ali

Graduate Student


Yassine is a third-year Ph.D. student in the Department of French & Italian at Princeton University.


Born to Moroccan parents and schooled in the beautiful region of Seine-et-Marne, France, Yassine studied French, Arabic, and Comparative Literature at Sorbonne Université and read for an MPhil in Modern Languages at the University of Oxford where he mainly concentrated on Enlightenment Studies, World Literature, and Disability Studies. He wrote his dissertation on 1750−1830 French and English female authors (Marie-Jeanne Riccoboni, Ann Radcliffe, Charlotte de Bournon, Comtesse de Malarme). His current interests regard receptions studies, creative adaptations, and literary transtexuality in postcolonial contexts, with a particular focus on the way francophone authors mainly from Africa and the Caribbean (Aimé Césaire, Maryse Condé, Assia Djebbar, Patrick Chamoiseau, Tahar Benjelloun, Kamel Daoud, Josué Guébo) engage with classical and canonical works, including Homer's Iliad and Odyssey, Shakespeare's The Tempest, Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe, Albert Camus's L’Étranger, and Alf Layla wa Layla (One Thousand and One Nights).


Yassine also holds a master’s degree in Teaching French as a Foreign Language (F.L.E.) from the Université d’Artois and is a certified examiner for the DELF standardized tests. He acquired a wide experience in teaching and tutoring in English, French, and Linguistics at all levels, including language centers, primary and secondary schools, summer schools, detention centers, the Universities of Exeter (UK), Reading (UK), and Sorbonne-Nouvelle (France).

Recent positions include teaching a series of seminars on 'Narratives Identities' and tutorials on Comparative Literature at the University of Oxford’s 2022 OxNet Access Scheme, teaching an Introduction to Global & Oral History with Princeton's Global History Lab in collaboration with Sciences Po Paris (IEP), and contributing to the instruction of French for the Mc Graw Center for Teaching and Learning’s Prison Teaching Initiative.

On campus

At Princeton, he initiated and presided over the jury of the first-ever Choix Goncourt USA, a literary prize that is part of the Académie Goncourt's initiative to involve university students around the world (The New Yorker’s coverage). He also co-founded, and is currently the President of, Princeton’s French & Francophone Society, a student-run organization that aims to promote Francophone languages and cultures on campus.

He is always happy to discuss and share his experiences with interested students and prospective applicants.

Select Papers

‘A la recherche du thé perdu : des « gardens » de Thomas Lipton aux « jardins » de Marcel Proust’, The Irish Proust, Museum of Literature Ireland (Dublin), October 2022.

'Les robinsonnades de Kamel Daoud', Relire et Réécrire. Mythes et textes sacrés dans le monde arabe et en Afrique, Presses Universitaires de Bordeaux, Centres d'Etudes Linguistiques et Littéraires Francophones et Africaines, forthcoming.

‘Postcolonial Rewritings of Daniel Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe: Reflections on Selfness and Otherness (Michel Tournier, Patrick Chamoiseau, Kamel Daoud)’, The Institute for World Literature, Harvard University, July 2021.

‘An Approach to “La poussière des cabinets de lecture”: the case of Charlotte Bournon-Malarme’, Working with Archives, Society of Dix-Neuviémistes and Association for the Study of Modern and Contemporary France, June 2021.

‘Blind Writers and Writing Blindness, a Counter-Discourse? Jacques Lusseyran, Helen Keller, and Autobiography’, The French Graduate Seminar, University of Oxford (All Souls College), June 2019.