Skip links

Studying French-speaking communities: Interview with the director of Francophonies d’Amérique

Visuel de la revue Francophonies d'Amérique

For this second interview, we talked with Rémi Léger, Professor of Political Science at Simon Fraser University (British Columbia) and director of the journal Francophonies d’Amérique.

Founded in 1991, Francophonies d’Amérique creates and strengthens ties between French-speaking researchers from Acadie to the United States and the French West Indies. The journal confronts the diverse political, social and cultural issues experienced by Francophone communities across the continent.

1. Could you explain the context in which the journal Francophonies d’Amérique was created?

The journal was created when the field of research on Canadian French-speaking communities outside of Quebec began to expand. Researchers were studying separate issues using separate theoretical and analytical tools. They decided to create a journal that could serve as a meeting place while also disseminating their research results. The journal has been multidisciplinary from its inception because researchers interested in these francophonies come from all disciplines of humanities and social sciences.

2. Why pay special attention to francophonie within academia?

The journal publishes research that documents and/or analyzes many dimensions of the lives of French-speakers outside of Québec. These francophonies in minority settings are faced with specific social, cultural, and political issues, but these conditions also make for rich, complex, and varied sites of study. The French-language dimension is one of the unique features of the communities studied, and it’s partly this dimension that makes them a stimulating research object.

3. What issues and challenges confront the francophonie in the age of research internationalization?

One issue is that the English language does not always allow us to express the historicity and the richness of our analytical tools. Another issue pertains to teaching: how can we give lectures and facilitate student discussions in French if most of the research is published in English?

Finally, the contributions that research makes to its society is also an issue. Are we contributing to the advancement of French-speaking communities if we’re publishing research in English? In the humanities and social sciences, it seems to me that the question of what language is used by a society is an especially important consideration when choosing a language of publication.

4. To what extent can this journal contribute to making French more attractive in academia?

For the last thirty years, our journal has studied French-speaking communities in French. The francophonie and the French language are integral to the journal; they are part of our DNA.

5. Do you have any suggestions for articles to read that highlight the French language in Francophonies d’Amérique?

I recommend the introduction written by the founding director of the journal, Jules Tessier, in the journal’s first issue, published in 1991:

In the issue encompassing numbers forty to forty-one, Martin Normand published an article taking stock of the first twenty-five years of the journal. It covers the research themes and the major trends in the field:

  • Normand, Martin. «Francophonies d’Amérique, acteur important et témoin privilégié de l’évolution de l’étude des francophonies nord-américaines.» Francophonies d’Amérique, numéro 40-41, automne 2015, printemps 2016, p. 233-257.

Francophonies d'Amérique

All issues of the journal are available on A subscription is required for issues published in the last 12 months of this journal.