On Monday, March 20, Mary Rice-DeFosse, professor of French and Francophone Studies at Bates College, will speak at a conference called “French Connections: Franconnexions.” While the event will take place at the University of Vermont, those who want to see her speak need only travel as far as USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College, where the Franco-American Collection will stream all three sessions live via Facebook for viewing in Room 283.
The conference will highlight the historical, cultural and economic contributions of the French Canadians who migrated from Québec to Vermont and the rest of New England. Close to one million immigrants from Québec came into New England between 1830 to 1930, and the history of the Lewiston-Auburn area was forever changed by this migration. The conference will look at the past, present and future of these cross-border migrations and relationships.
In three consecutive panel discussions, the event will examine these fundamental questions: Past: How and why were Vermont and other New England state populated by so many French Canadians in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries? When, how and why did this massive influx assimilate? How were they received? Present: How do cross-border connections with Québec, in tourism and in trade, continue to shape the culture and economy of Northern New England? And Future: How does the French-Canadian wave of immigration relate to current immigration trends? What can we learn from the past as we think about the future?
The conference will take place from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m., with breaks between the three sessions. Prof. DeFosse will speak during the last segment of the day. The public is invited to come view any or all three sessions. There is no charge to attend. This will be the last local event of “La Semaine de la Francophonie,” a week celebrating the French language and those around the world who speak it.
L-A College’s Franco-American Collection is one of the largest repositories in the Northeast for the culture of French Canadian immigrants to the United States. For more information, call 753-6545 or see http://usm.maine.edu/franco.