Aletha Stahl
Professor of French and Francophone Studies

Aletha Stahl is a Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Earlham. She brings a sensibility for social justice to the study of translation, creole languages, literature and film. Aletha is also a registered yoga teacher.  After long pondering how language learning connects with the contemplative and physical aspects of yoga, she developed a special Basic French course, pairing classroom French instruction with yoga classes in French. This willingness to explore new ways of teaching and learning led Aletha into a role as Earlham’s teaching and learning consultant. Now she helps other Earlham faculty refine their teaching and develop new practices. Her next research — in collaboration with seven students and a fellow professor — will look at the possibilities of virtual worlds for language teaching.

While Aletha says it’s hard to identify a typical Earlham student, she says professors who have taught elsewhere often say that our students are, “particularly self-starting, curious, passionate, and committed to connecting ideas to issues of social justice.”

Contact Info

Campus Mail
Drawer 147



223b Carpenter Hall


  • Languages & Literatures
  • African and African American Studies
  • Comparative Languages and Linguistics
  • French & Francophone Studies
  • International Studies


  • Ph.D., University of Iowa
  • M.A., University of Iowa
  • B.A., Goshen College

Selected Courses:

Contemporary French Thought
Translation Theory and Practice
Basic French I & II
Women and the Unspeakable

I am passionate about language and am particularly fascinated by the relationship between language and social justice, which I explore more specifically through the study of translation, creoles (particularly Haitian Creole), and literature and film. I am also a registered teacher of yoga and continually question how a contemplative practice like yoga connects to language acquisition and how shared physical activity contributes to other kinds of learning.

"« Enfans de l’Amérique » : La citoyenneté dans la presse de Saint-Domingue, 1793." De la créolisation culturelle. Spec. issue of Archipélies 3-4 (2012): 115-130.  

“Does Hortense Have a Hoo-Hoo? Gender, Consensus, and the Translation of Gisèle Pineau’s L’espérance-macadam.” Les Antilles en Traduction / The Caribbean in Translation. Spec. issue of TTR (Traduction, Terminologie, Rédaction)13:2 (2000): 127-148.

Haitian Studies Association

Every year I am "seduced" by the students -- so much to learn from and explore with them. I also greatly value my colleagues, who are also my teachers, and the particular opportunities Earlham affords for developing my interests, including travel with students.

There is no single "Earlham student." However, colleagues coming from elsewhere tend to find Earlham students to be particularly self-starting, curious, passionate, and committed to connecting ideas to issues of social justice.

Early in my career at Earlham I organized a Ford/Knight-funded experience that involved the collective translation (myself and 7 students) of parts of a novel by Guadeloupean writer Gisèle Pineau, whom we brought to campus to work with us. The outcome of that project included an article I authored but just as significantly, it contributed to launching one student into a Ph.D. program (she now teaches translation at a liberal arts college, and we recently roomed together at an academic conference) and other students into areas such as law and speech pathology. I've done other collaborative work since, and this spring, I'm excited to join a colleague from Management and 7 students in a project involving the use of virtual worlds in education. If I were to predict the future of language education, I would guess that it will be one of the first disciplines for which virtual worlds, which go far beyond Rosetta Stone and online language exchange chat rooms, are extensively developed. I want to test how that might happen and some of the differences in language acquisition for students who interact in a physical classroom vs. those who interact through avatars in a virtual space. By the end of the semester, I expect the group to produce at least one learning module to test on a beginning French class. And I'm counting on the students as quick studies to figure out how to design and program the virtual world because I sure couldn't do it myself!

I read, practice yoga, walk as a means of transportation, occasionally run, and spend time with my partner and our son.

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