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UMFK's new French professor to offer course entitled "La litterature québécoise"

December 17, 2004


Katharine Harrington, the new French professor brought on board at University of Maine at Fort Kent earlier this year, has long wanted to teach a course in Quebec literature.

The subject matter is of such interest to her that it served as the topic of her master's thesis at Texas Tech University in 1998.

Beginning next month, Harrington will share that passion in a three credit course entitled "La litterature québécoise", which is open to both UMFK students and local community members interested in learning more about the works of some of French-Canada's most prolific writers.

"I believe this course could be of great interest to the people of the St. John Valley. The proximity of Quebec to our region, coupled with this area's large population of people of Acadian and Quebecois descent, makes this an ideal course to teach here," said Harrington.

The course will cover nearly two centuries of literature in Quebec.

According to Harrington, major French-Canadian literary texts, as well as the dominant literary movements of Quebec from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, will be examined in an effort to identify the emergence of a "national" literature.

The selected texts will also be supplemented with a variety of socio-historical and critical articles, web references, and audio-visual materials.

"Quebec is the most prominent francophone community in North America. It is comprised of a people that illustrate one of the most fascinating quests for identity in the contemporary world," said Harrington.

The UMFK faculty member will demonstrate how that quest for national identity in Quebec has evolved throughout the past two centuries, and how that voice has been manifested through literary works.

By exposing students and the community to major French-Canadian literary works and situating the texts in a socio-historical context, Harrington is looking to provide a stimulating environment for communication and discussion in French.

She will also bring the lesson home to class participants by drawing parallels between Québécois identity issues and those of Franco-Americans here in Maine.

In addition to holding a master's degree in French, Harrington earned her PhD in French studies from Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.

Prior to joining UMFK, she was an instructor in the department of French studies at Brown University, where she created and taught beginner and intermediate language courses for adult education.

"La litterature québécoise" will be taught on Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m., beginning January 11th. The three-credit course will run through May 3rd.

For more information or to register for the course, contact the UMFK registrar's office at (207) 834-7521 or toll free at 1-888-TRY-UMFK.