Impact of ‘the French Experience in North America’ To Be Explored

“The Significance of the French Experience in North America” is the theme of a symposium being held Friday-Saturday, Sept. 11-12 at Yale.

This is the eighth annual symposium sponsored by Howard R. Lamar Center for the Study of Frontiers and Borders at Yale.

Jay Gitlin, associate director of the Lamar Center and lecturer in history, will deliver the keynote address at 4:30 p.m. on Friday in Rm. 211 of the Hall of Graduate Studies (HGS), 320 York St.

His address will connect the experiences of Creole jazzmen from New Orleans such as Jelly Roll Morton (Ferdinand Joseph LaMothe), Franco-New Englanders such as Jack Kerouac - who first began writing his celebrated novel “On the Road” in French - and writers and political leaders in Québec and Acadie, emphasizing the themes of double identity, mobility and exile, the color of language, and the struggle for national expression. Gitlin is recognized as an expert on the French world of the Mississippi Valley. His book “The Bourgeois Frontier: French Towns, French Traders, and American Expansion” will be published by the Yale University Press in October.

Following the keynote address, the Yale Collection of Western Americana and the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library will host a public reception at the library, 121 Wall St.

There will be two panels on Saturday: “The History of French North America: A Reassessment,” 9:30-11 a.m.; and “The French Heritage of Louisiana,” 11:15 a.m.-12:45 p.m. Both will be held in Rm. 211, HGS. Featured speakers will be Allan Greer, McGill University; Nicole Neatby, St. Mary’s University, Halifax; Carl A. Brasseaux, University of Louisiana-Lafayette; James A. Babst, Tulane University School of Law and Loyola University, New Orleans; and Ryan A. Brasseaux, doctoral candidate, Yale.

The symposium will conclude with a gumbo lunch in HGS.

All events are free and open to the public. Registration is not required. For further information, call Edith Rotkopf at (203) 432-2328 or visit the Lamar Center website:

Yale has become one of the leading centers for the study of Francophone North America. The director of the Lamar Center, John Mack Faragher, published “A Great and Noble Scheme: The Tragic Story of the Expulsion of the French Acadians from their American Homeland” in 2005 and recently spoke at the Congrès Mondial Acadien at Caraquet, New Brunswick.

Yale first accepted Canadian students in the early 18th century and has now graduated the second highest number of Canadians among American universities.

The Canadian Collection in the Yale Library is considered one of the two best in the United States. The library is one of a limited number in the United States to hold partial depository status for Canadian Government publications. It also possesses the most complete U.S. collection of the provinces’ documents and receives all significant Canadian serials and newspapers.

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