On Monday, March 20, Mary Rice-DeFosse, professor of French and Francophone Studies at Bates College, will be speaking at a conference at the University of Vermont. But local residents only need to travel as far as USM’s Lewiston-Auburn College to hear her speak. The conference, “French Connections: Franconnexions,” will be streamed via Facebook Live, and one of the college classrooms (Room 283) will be showing the sessions.
You should also be able to stream it on your own, either from the Franco-American Collection's Facebook page or from the page of the Center for Research on Vermont.
For more information about the conference, and a more detailed schedule, go to
The conference will highlight the historical, cultural and economic contributions of French Canadians from Québec to Vermont and New England. Close to one million immigrants from Québec came into New England between 1830 and 1930, and the history of the Lewiston-Auburn area was forever changed by this migration. The conference will look at the past, the present and the future of these cross-border migrations and relationships.
In three panels, it will ask these fundamental questions:
- Past: How and why was Vermont and New England populated by so many French Canadians in the 19th-early twentieth centuries? When, how and why did this massive influx assimilate? How were they received?
- Present: How do cross-border connections with Québec, in tourism and in trade, continue to shape the culture and economy of Northern New England?
- Future: How does the French-Canadian wave of immigration relate to current immigration trends? What can we learn from the past as we think about the future?
The sessions run from 9am to 3:15pm, with breaks between the sessions, so you may want to bring something to do during the breaks. People are welcome to come for any or all of the sessions. Prof. DeFosse will be speaking during the last segment of the day.
** Reservations are not required for the local event, but would be helpful for our planning. Just call 753-6545 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The local event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Franco-American Collection, located at University of Southern Maine’s Lewiston-Auburn College, 51 Westminster St., Lewiston. Room 283 is upstairs in the Community Wing of LAC. The easiest access is from the back parking lot, off Saratoga St.