Friday, January 4, 2013

Dispatches from the AHA in New Orleans (4)

Erin Bartram weighs in on Thursday afternoon panel on Canadian Catholic Influences in America --JF

This afternoon, I attended a panel on Canadian Catholic influences in America which provoked a lively discussion on borderlands, cultural transformation, and identity politics. Molly Burns Gallaher, of the University of New Hampshire, discussed the Madawaska region, on the Maine/New Brunswick border, and the way that its residents, settled Francophone Catholics used to managing their own religious affairs, resisted the imposition of control from the Diocese of Portland. Jack Downey, of La Salle University, told us about one of Dorothy Day's spiritual influences, French-Canadian Jesuit Onesimus Lacouture, whose retreats were "translated" for an American audience by Father John Hugo. Marion MacLeod, from the University of New Brunswick, examined the structures and lyrics in Acadian and Cajun music, focusing on themes of pilgrimage, traveling, and longing for home. After an excellent comment by Elizabeth McGahan, complete with maps to help the Americanists in the audience unfamiliar with the Canadian borderlands, we all had a good conversation about lay-clerical relationships in the 19th and 20th century, and the ways that space and ethnicity inflect those relationships. 

After a break for lunch, I took some time to wander around the book exhibits, and resisted the urge to buy, though I will say I was rather tempted by a few at the University of Massachusetts Press booth. They had lots of great books on gender, religion, and disability in U.S. history, so I might need to stop by again and indulge.