Quebec Studies

Presentation: Robert G. LeBlanc and Franco-America

Quebec Studies (2002), 33, (1), 1–3.

Abstract

1 Presentation: Robert G. LeBlanc and Franco-America Debra Straussfogel University of Northern British Columbia We, in North America, all lost something in the events of September 11, 2001. But many of us were also able to find meanings we may never have realized were lost or buried beneath the rubble that accumulates in all lives. We all lost Bob LeBlanc on 9/11. We struggle to comprehend how this bi­ zarre twist in human history could have included our beloved friend and colleague. But out of that struggle, we relive our remembrances of him, and we find how intricately he and his work pervade much of our own. Bob LeBlanc was a geographer whose study of people and places was as much a personal expression as it was a professional career. He experienced what he studied. His published scholarship examined his own ethnic roots as a Franco-American. And so in my own struggle to cope with the loss of my colleague, mentor, and friend, in trying to find a meaning amid the emo­ tional rubble, I thought nothing more fitting than to showcase current schol­ arship in the study of Franco-Americans presented in tribute to Bob LeBlanc. The editors of Québec Studies accepted the idea enthusiastically and the call for papers has produced a rich array of articles from both the hu­ manities and the social sciences. The desire of the editors and contributors to participate in the project, to be part of a celebration of the career of Bob LeBlanc, is a tribute in itself. And to use that opportunity as a springboard to highlight the scope of Franco-American studies from both emerging and established scholars is a lasting and positive testament. What follows is a dossier encompassing a wide range of aspects of Franco-American geography, history, culture, society, and literature. To be­ gin the dossier, Stewart Doty presents a detailed and deferential summary of Bob's career and scholarly contributions, highlighting the two themes that guided his work—the Acadian migrations and the impact of Quebec émigrés, including the Quebec élite, in Northern New England. As a mem­ ber of a new generation of Franco-American scholars, Susan Pinette also pays tribute to the pioneering work of Bob LeBlanc in defining a field that has much to add to our understanding of American ethnic studies, FrenchCanadian history, and francophone cultural studies. Together, Doty and Pinette provide the perfect framework for the other contributions. In their article, geographers Dean Louder and Cécyle Trepanier underscore the key role played by Laval University in perpetuating and documenting the French legacy in North America. They chronicle twenty years of visiting minority francophone communities outside Quebec as part of an undergraduate course on "Le Québec et l'Amérique française." Like their friend and colleague Bob LeBlanc, they were interested in docu­ menting the evolution of the Quebec and Acadian diasporas. Over the years, they arrived at the conclusion that while "l'Amérique française Québec Studies, Volume 33, Spring/Summer 2002

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Straussfogel, Debra