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French in North America exhibit opens Friday

Sept. 17, 2008

KALAMAZOO--A display of 16 54-inch-by-42-inch panels depicting the history of the French empire in North America will go on display beginning Friday, Sept. 19, at Western Michigan University, kicking off a year of events that focus on the enduring legacy of the French on culture, landscape, language and politics.

A gala opening of the exhibit "The French in North America/Les Français en Amerique du Nord--An Enduring Presence" will begin at 5 p.m. on the third floor of WMU's Waldo Library. It will be on display through August 2009. The event, like others in the series, is free and open to the public.

Related events this week include:

  • Thursday, Sept. 18, 2 to 4 p.m., Bernhard's Center's Brown and Gold Room: "Historical and Archaeological Perspectives on New France"--Speakers include Gregory Waselkov of the University of South Alabama, who will speak on "French Colonial Archaeology in the Americas"; Elizabeth M. Scott of Illinois State University speaking about "French Cultures in Comparative Regional Perspective"; Allison Bain of Université Laval on "The Intendant's Palace in Québec City"; and Michael S. Nassaney and José António Brandão of WMU on "Commemorating French Heritage at Fort St. Joseph." A reception will follow.

  • Friday, Sept. 19, 2 to 4 p.m., Bernhard's Center's Brown and Gold Room: "Language Debates in Contemporary Québec"--Speakers include Leigh Oakes of the University of London on "Language Policy and Planning: New Realities, New Challenges"; Marie McAndrew of the Université de Montréal on "Schooling in a French-Speaking but Pluralistic Society: Changes and Outcomes"; and Matthew Hayday of the University of Guelph on "Bilingualism versus Unilingualism: Federal and Provincial Language Policies in Quebec, 1960-1985."

French in North America will be a continuing focus with events slated through the summer.

The events are supported by the WMU departments of Anthropology, Environmental Studies, Foreign Languages, Geography and History, the College of Arts and Sciences, the Fort St. Joseph Archaeological Project, Friends of University Libraries, Diether H. Haenicke Institute for Global Education, Lee Honors College, the Joseph L. Peyser Endowment for the Study of New France, University Libraries and the Office of the President. External sponsors include the Government of Canada, the Government of Québec and Cultural Services of the French Embassy.

For more information, visit WMU's Canadian Studies program online , or contact Stacey Moore at stacey.l.moore@wmich.edu or (269) 387-4666.

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WMU says 'Mais oui!' to French in North America

Media contact: Deanne Molinari, (269) 387-8400, deanne.molinari@wmich.edu

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