Spotlight on a Faculty of Arts professor at the ACFAS conference: Claudia Bouliane

Faculty of Arts
Acfas 2024
Claudia Bouliane
Claudia Bouliane firmly believes in the power of literature to help us understand our shared reality and experience. However, the Département de français associate professor noticed something odd in Montreal. While the city is often presented as a multicultural, welcoming space for immigrants, it seems that these positive aspects doesn’t come through in Montreal’s literature.

In fact, Claudia says that in Montreal literature produced since 1980, intercultural exchanges most often take place in businesses, such as restaurants, which suggests dealings not seeking true knowledge of the other, but rather, something else. This type of intercultural exchange underlies Claudia’s research, which has been funded by the SSHRC for a number of years, and is the topic of the symposium she’s organizing as part of the upcoming ACFAS conference. Her initial conclusions have led her to observe that immigrants are accepted when they stay in “their” cultural space, but as soon as they try to leave it to do something else, they often suffer the consequences: sudden death, serious illness, etc. What’s even more interesting is that this theme can be found not only in francophone literature but also in that produced in English, and it still appears whatever the author’s place of origin (Canada or another country). As Claudia says, there’s something significant in this, something that goes beyond all these divisions: “It shows that the collective unconscious is speaking.”

Claudia Bouliane’s ACFAS symposiumUne place à table : échanges interculturels dans la fiction montréalaise, will take place May 13 and 14.