Quebec Studies

Book Reviews

Quebec Studies (2012), 54, (1), 127–142.

Abstract

127 Book Reviews Edited by Patrice Proulx History, Culture, and Politics REDONNET, JEAN-CLAUDE, RONALD ST. ONGE, SUSAN ST. ONGE, et JULIANNA NIELSEN. Héritagesfrancophones:enquêtes interculturelles. New Haven and London: Yale UP, 2010. Pp. 336. ISBN: 978-0-300-12545-0. While many cultural readers do not include chapters on "la francophonie de l'Amérique du nord," Héritages francophones: enquêtes interculturelles, places the francophone cultures of North America at the forefront of the dis­ cussion. As someone who is a strong proponent of making American stu­ dents aware of the importance of French in North America, I find the material in Héritagesfrancophonesto be ideal. Plus, after introducing stu­ dents to the French-speaking populations of the United States, Héritages francophones includes sections on Haiti (particularly pertinent given the recent devastating earthquake and its traumatic aftereffects), Vietnam (a nebulous region for most students other than the fact that it was in Vietnam that the U.S. lost its first war), the Machrek (the spelling used by the authors) and the Maghreb, francophone Africa, and France (with a partic­ ular emphasis on the changes in diplomacy between the U.S. and France since the American and French Revolutions, as well as on how the revoca­ tion of the Edit de Nantes directly impacted the Huguenots). The preliminary chapter of Héritagesfrancophones,"Nos racines fran­ cophones," provides key historical background information and a portrayal of immigration patterns that led to the founding of vibrant francophone communities in the United States that are working hard to preserve their language and culture. By far the most intriguing chapter for my students was "Les Vietnamiens, une Francophonie asiatique éprouvée par les guerres." Even though they had heard about the Vietnam War, they really did not know much about the French presence in Indochina in the early part of the twentieth century and how the Vietnamese declared indepen­ dence during World War II due to France's reduced political power during the German Occupation. Another section discusses how immigrants from Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia continue to struggle after their arrival in the U.S. In contrast, the chapter on "Les Francophones du Machrek et du Maghreb: Le dialogue des cultures," while providing an analysis of the Arab Muslim and non-Muslim populations from the Maghreb (Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia) and the Machrek (Egypt, Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria), could use more concrete information on the struggle of immigrants from these cultures as they integrate into American society post 9/11 (e.g. are they clinging to the French language and culture or to the Arabic lan­ guage and culture?). Lastly, it would have been useful if the final chapter, "Les Français: La permanence d'une présence," came earlier in the text. As

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Proulx, Patrice