For me, Québec has been more than a focus of study for the students in my classes. As an area of research, Québec offers a rich array of authors that bear on questions of post-colonial identity and the province’s complex place within the field of post-colonial studies.
Since arriving at the University of West Georgia in 2010, I have had the good fortune to work with dedicated colleagues as well as bright and engaged students. A regional college located less than an hour from Atlanta, the University of West Georgia hosts a diverse community of international students, many of whom have ties to Québec. In the French-language classroom, this Québec-Georgia connection not only gives American students an international learning environment, but also reminds them of the deep roots French has as a North American language.
My upper-level literature and culture classes integrate Québécois literature, culture, and politics as a way to contextualize the vast differences within French-language communities. Most recently, my class on revolt, revolution, and rebellion in the French-speaking world used Québec as a case-study of a contemporary independence movement as a way to not only familiarize students with the political currents of their northern neighbors, but also as a way to think through American issues of immigration, language, and cultural identity.
For me, Québec has been more than a focus of study for the students in my classes. As an area of research, Québec offers a rich array of authors that bear on questions of post-colonial identity and the province’s complex place within the field of post-colonial studies. Currently, I am researching Haitian-Québécoise author, Marie-Célie Agnant, and how her texts provide insight into Québec’s linguistic policies and recent debates on the politics of la francophonie. I am particularly looking forward to presenting some of this research at this year’s American Council for Québec Studies conference in Montréal.
Throughout these past four years, the example of interdisciplinary work provided by the Canadian Studies Center has been a crucial touchstone for my teaching and research interests and methods. Be it from the summer course on contemporary Québécois culture I took at the Université de Montréal in 2005 to the advanced conversation class centered on Québécois literature, culture, and politics I taught my last semester at UW, the Canadian Studies Center has been an invaluable part of my academic path. When I walked through the Center’s doors my first semester at UW in 2003, I had no idea that I would become part of such an enthusiastic community, and it is this same enthusiasm and sense of opportunity that I hope to pass on to the students in my classes.
Lisa Connell is currently the Assistant Professor of French at the University of West Georgia. Lisa Connell successfully defended her thesis, “Pedagogically Speaking: Francophone Women’s Autobiography and the Learning Subject,” in July 2010. Richard Watts served as her chair. She earned her Ph.D. in French Studies in 2010 from the University of Washington.