[PAST EVENT] N.Rabalais: "Acadies divergentes: Language, Education, & Identity in Louisiana and Maritime Canada"

December 3, 2015
3:30pm - 5pm
Washington Hall, Room 315
241 Jamestown Rd
Williamsburg, VA 23185Map this location
Professor Nathan Rabalais (French & Francophone Studies), Bellini Colloquium:

The Grand derangement of 1755, the Acadian Expulsion carried out by the British from what is now Nova Scotia, resulted in the Acadian population's dispersal throughout much of the Atlantic world.

In Louisiana, the arrival of the Acadians and the story of the Grand derangement arguably occupy a disproportionately large space in representations of the often overlooked diversity of French and Creole Louisiana, offering an overly simplified and easily digestible narrative of how 'Cajun' identity came into being. While the number of native Cajun French speakers declines, French language seems to play a less important role in the identity paradigm in favor of Cajun-Creole cultural lifestyles, race, and genealogy as younger generations renegotiate cultural identity. The linguistic reality and the official discourse differ sharply with that of the Acadian communities of Maritime Canada, where the French language has proven to be a sine qua non of Acadian identity. Can and should these differences be reconciled, and what is at stake in this cultural renegotiation as the Acadian communities of 'Acadie du Nord' and 'Acadie tropicale' progress into the 21st century?