Prof. Michel DeGraff

Professor / Founder & Director, MIT / MIT-Haiti

United States

Michel DeGraff is Professor of linguistics at MIT, co-founder of the MIT-Haiti Initiative and founding member of Akademi Kreyòl Ayisyen. His research contributes to an egalitarian approach to Creole languages and their speakers. His writings also engage intellectual history and critical race theory, especially the links between power-knowledge hierarchies and (mis)representations/(mis-)uses of Creole languages and their speakers. His work is anchored in a broader agenda for human rights and social justice, with his native Haiti as one spectacular case of a post-colony where the national language spoken by all (Haitian Creole) is systematically disenfranchised while the (former) colonial language spoken by few (French) is enlisted for élite closure and political and geo-political domination. The MIT-Haiti Initiative (, http://MIT-Ayiti.NET) tackles these political challenges heads-on as it tries to democratize access to quality education in Haiti, thus setting up a model for other communities in the Global South where language is often use as a pernicious tool for hegemony and exploitation, especially in the context of language-and-education policies. More details at:,,,

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