In 1881 the Acadians, the Francophone population of Canada’s Maritime provinces of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island,
assembled for their first national convention. This convention was to be the prelude to a new life in a changed country as compared with the
period before September 1755 when the Acadians were deported by the English to the American colonies south of Nova Scotia. On their return to their former land they were forced to live separately and partially in hiding for more than one hundred years.
The early colonisation contributed to the fact that many aspects of “the Other”, in the form of Micmac Indians, the French and the
nglish, have flourished and are frequently still present in fiction from this part of Canada. The dissertation notes the way in which “the Other”, often a stereotype, changes guise depending on the period and historical circumstances. Despite this, Birgitta Brown demonstrates that transcultural contacts arise in encounters. Transcultural encounters and contacts are illustrated from various perspectives based on the definition of the term transculturation, a term created by the Cuban sociologist Fernando Ortiz. Transcultural encounters signify that people meet in unequal power structures, frequently in conflict, and that these encounters give rise to a new reality, both of a permanent and a shifting nature.
The authors analysed in the dissertation were published throughout the 20:th century. Sir Charles G. D. Roberts’ /A Sister to Evangeline/(1898) narrates the story of the deportation of the Acadians by the English in 1755. The purpose of the novel is to justify the cruel treatment by the English of the Catholic Acadian population, who had been present in this part of North America since the early 1600s.Thomas Head Raddall’s novel /Roger Sudden /was published in 1944 and it gives an account of the construction of the coastal town Halifax and the fall of the French garrison town Louisbourg from an English perspective. In his two novels, /Phantom Ships /and /Les marées du Grand Dérangement, /the Acadian author Claude Le Bouthillier adds a further perspective to the deportation, the exile and the return to the coastal regions of Eastern Canada. In her novel /Pélagie/ from 1979, the Acadian author Antonine Maillet depicts how the Acadians, sent into exile in 1755, returned in ox-carts to their former territory during the 1770s, a journey that took ten years.
Cohabitation in the 20:th century between Anglophone Canadians and Acadians in this part of Canada is portrayed by authors such as Janice Kulyk Keefer, David Adams Richards and Jeannine Landry Thériault in novels published during the late 1980s and early 1990s. The colonial legacy, social dispossession and marginalisation constitute the background to how deprived characters seek their identity.
All the novels use different perspectives to depict how the “the Other” and transcultural contacts are created, shaped, transformed and how they recreate a new reality.
Title of the dissertation: Anglo-French Relations and the Acadians in Canada’s Maritime Provinces: Issues of Othering and Transculturation.
Time: The disputation takes place on Saturday 24 May 2008 at 10.15.
Location: Lilla hörsalen lecture theatre, Humanisten building, Renströmsgatan 6, Göteborg