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Francophone Academics ponder English-speaking Quebec

May 10, 2010

lorraine.jpgThe world's largest French-language multidisciplinary academic congress will host a two-day conference on English-speaking Quebec as part of its program.

This is the first time a French-language event of this scale has been held on this topic. Organizers hope it will forge new perspectives and avenues for inquiry as Francophones and Anglophones learn about the common challenges they face as minorities.

The Association francophone pour le savoir (Acfas), is hosting the conference on May 10 and 11 as one component of a larger, multi-conference program held at Université de Montréal.

The conference is organized by the Quebec English-Speaking Communities Research Network (QUESCREN).

Launched one year ago by Concordia University (Montreal) and the Canadian Institute for Research on Linguistic Minorities (Moncton), QUESCREN is a network of academic researchers, community organizations and government partners engaged in research on English-speaking Quebec. The Eastern Townships Resource Centre (Sherbrooke) is also involved as co-organizer of the conference.

"This is a rare forum for researchers to meet their peers in academia and beyond," says QUESCREN coordinator-researcher Dr. Lorraine O'Donnell. "There are more Francophones doing research on English-speaking Quebec than you'd think, many of them working in isolation from each other and English-speaking researchers. We are delighted with the welcome ACFAS has extended to us" Indeed, the conference goes beyond the academic realm by featuring many presentations from community organizations.

"One of the major strengths of Concordia University is engagement with the broader community," says Noel Burke, Dean of Concordia's School of Extended Learning. "QUESCREN was founded as a means to foster these academic-community partnerships allowing us to support community vitality through research, which is a building block of sustainable communities."  

The conference will focus on different regions and a broad range of topics, including demographics, education, health, history, identity, literature, language acquisition and economic conditions. Research into the latter, for instance, reveals a little-known portrait of poverty within the community that will be explored in one of the sessions.

The timely questions of Anglophone demographics in Montreal will also be examined in a panel that brings together a broad range of viewpoints.

Those interested in taking part may consult a detailed programme under "colloque 643" on the ACFAS website. It is also possible to register online.

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