Led by Dr. Joel Belliveau, Associate Professor in the Department of History, a team of three researchers (Université de Sainte-Boniface and the University of Ottawa) and two collaborators (Université of Sainte-Anne et The University of Ottawa) were recently awarded a $38,015 SSHRC Connection grant for their outreach project titled, “La recherche sur les francophonies d'Amérique: vers l'intégration interdisciplinaire et interrégionale”. The SSHRC Connection program “supports events and outreach activities geared toward short-term, targeted knowledge mobilization initiatives.” The outreach activity proposed by Dr. Belliveau et al. is “designed to engage the broader public in humanities and social sciences knowledge through one or a combination of the following: knowledge dissemination, transfer, brokering, translation, synthesis, exchange, networking or co-creation” (http://www.sshrc-crsh.gc.ca/funding-financement/programs-programmes/connection_grants-subventions_connexion-eng.aspx).
Through a series of regional outreach activities, an international conference and digital engagement activities, this project aims to assess the state of current research on North American francophone communities and to encourage the development of comparatist and interdisciplinary approaches to the subject. While tremendous progress has been made over the last three decades in the field of Francophones in minority situations, geographical realities, including the geographical distances which separate the different Francophone communities, make it difficult for researchers to fully grasp the depth and potential of this area of research. To bridge these gaps, this project proposes to multiply to points of contact and interactions between researchers from different scholarly and cultural horizons and to disseminate their exchanges through videos accessible by way of diverse digital platforms.
This project is composed of a series of pan-Canadian public and intersectoral workshops to be held during 2016-2017, including one that will be hosted by Laurentian University. An international multidisciplinary conference will conclude the series in May 2017, as part of the Acfas Congress 2017 (Association francophone pour le savoir). This conference will be organized in collaboration with le Réseau de la recherche sur la francophonie canadienne (RRF), l'Association des collèges et universités de la francophonie canadienne (ACUFC) et the journal Francophonies d'Amérique.
When asked about the potential impacts of these proposed outreach activities, Dr. Belliveau responded, “Francophone communities share many of the same realities – notably that of being a minority - yet each is distinct. While most communities have been studied considerably since the 1970s, very little comparative work has been done. By creating venues dedicated to this comparative work, as well as to integration of scholarship from different disciplines, we hope that this series of activities will permit us to forge new avenues for research, avenues which will build upon and transform our knowledge of Francophone communities in Canada.