“When I became head of the CRCCF, I wanted to give it the impetus to reflect the historic evolution witihnfrancophone communities, today’s reality and our vision of the future,” says Lucie Hotte, full professor at uOttawa’s Département de français. The CRCCF will now be called the Centre de recherche sur les francophonies canadiennes, and will have a brand new visual identity.
A multidimensional mandate
“What’s unique about our centre is that it’s a group of researchers working on the social, historical and cultural aspects of French-language communities in Canada, and to a lesser extent, of the Americas as well as a publisher and an archive. Our publications include two book collections published in partnership with University of Ottawa Press (Amérique française and Archives des lettres canadiennes), as well as three journals (Francophonies d’Amérique; Mens : revue d’histoire intellectuelle; @nalyses : revue des littératures franco-canadiennes et québécoise). As for our archives, they house over 610 fonds documenting the heritage of Ontario’s and Canada’s francophones,” says Hotte, centre director since 2018. “In recent years, we’ve been able to create a genuine synergy among these three sectors.”
For Hotte, who has been reappointed for another term until 2026, perpetuating the CRCCF’s legacy while implementing the changes needed to best position the centre’s activities in an evolving francophone environment has always been a priority.
“Since the fragmentation of French Canada and the provincialization of identities, it’s clear that there’s no longer a single term to designate all the country’s francophones, but rather, many francophone communities, made up of Acadians, Franco-Manitobans, Franco-Ontarians or Québécois,” says Hotte, who held a University research chair on francophone cultures and literatures of Canadafor 15 years.
“When I became head of the centre, I wanted to give it the impetus to reflect the historic evolution within francophone communities, today’s reality and our vision of the future”
Professor Lucie Hotte
— Director of the Centre de recherche sur les francophonies canadiennes
Diversity and renewal
“More than just a facelift, this process is meant to reflect new identities, the new francophone demographics in Canada and the new issues of concern to us,” says Hotte. The success of workshops on francophone immigration and of roundtables on French-language health care, ageism and the challenges of research in French speak to this. Some activities have been organized in partnership with the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research on Citizenship and Minorities or the Collège des chaires de recherche sur le monde francophone.
Among current issues, francophone immigration and immigrants who adopt French as their language of use are certainly among the most important. Language’s rootedness in cultural diversity is addressed in the piece “Perspectives littéraires sur le rap québécois” in the most recent edition of the journal @nalyses, now published by the centre. The Balados du CRCCF podcast helps promote the centre’s multidisciplinary research activities on Canada’s francophones to a large audience.
The francophonie at issue
With 60 or so members and new partnerships, the centre will unveil its 2022–2023 programming, focused on the theme of “La francophonie en jeu” (the francophonie at issue). The centre’s annual symposium, organized as the 25th anniversary of the SOS Montfort movement is commemorated, will revisit a major episode in the recent history of French Ontario and French Canada. It will also use the opportunity to honour the late Gisèle Lalonde, the symbol of the fight to keep the only francophone teaching hospital in Ontario. The centre will also present the CRCCF annual award, given out for two decades to researchers or artists for outstanding work on the French fact in Canada.
The promotion and dissemination of French-language research remains a continued central focus of action for the centre. “It’s time to hold an assembly on francophone research in a minority setting in Canada,” says Hotte, who has already begun organizing for the 91st Association francophone pour le savoir conference, a scholarly event which will take place on the uOttawa campus in 2024.