Quebec Studies

Presentation

Quebec Studies (2005), 39, (1), 1–4.

Abstract

1 Presentation Susan Ireland Grinnell College Patrice J. Proulx University of Nebraska, Omaha As scholars who have a continuing interest in exploring issues related to themes of exile and alienation in contemporary Québécois literature, we were pleased to be asked to edit this special Québec Studies dossier on "l'écriture migrante." Our prior work on this topic, which resulted in the publication of an edited collection of essays entitled Textualizing the Immigrant Experience in Contemporary Quebec, has provided us with an appreciation for the broad range of approaches used to discuss the rich diversity of fictional and non-fictional narratives emerging from different cultural communities in Quebec. Indeed, the presence of ethnic minorities in Quebec has increased dramatically over the last few decades as large numbers of immigrants have taken up residence there for economic, political, or personal reasons. As a consequence, the subject of multiculturalism itself has moved to the center of many social and political debates, and has become the focus of discussions about national identity. As Yannick Gasquy-Resch contends, "L'arrivée d'immigrants d'origines diverses a permis aux Québécois de s'ouvrir à l'Autre, de découvrir une québécité plurielle où l'identité n'est pas seulement la langue française ou la fidélité à des origines raciales ou filiales mais un ensemble de potentialités qui permettent de revoir autrement les problèmes de langue et d'identité" (235). The steadily growing body of literary texts written by authors of recent immigrant origin reflects the changing composition of Québécois society and is reshaping the ways in which Québécois literature is perceived and defined. The writers, who come from such diverse geographical regions as the Caribbean (Haiti), the Middle East (Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon), North Africa (Morocco), Europe (Italy, Poland), Asia (China, Korea), and Latin America (Brazil, Chile, Uruguay), bring to their work a rich blend of diverse cultural and literary traditions and are represented in virtually all genres of Québécois literature, from the novel to poetry. Their works are increasingly being featured in courses, conferences, and research seminars in many parts of the world. The appearance of this contemporary corpus has led to a modification of critical categories, as scholars have sought ways to conceptualize the new literature, proposing various terms to describe it — ethnic, transcultural, néo-québécois, immigrant, postcolonial, multicultural, and postnational, for example. Most recently, "l'écriture migrante" has become the preferred term, suggesting as it does the creation of new styles and forms, while avoiding categorization based on ethnic origin. At the same time, the new terminology used relates to broader literary concepts such as deterritorial- Québec Studies, Volume 39, Spring/Summer 2005

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Author details

Ireland, Susan

Proulx, Patrice