Placing Louisiana in the Francophone world: Opportunities and challenges
AbstractLouisiana has had a varied relationship with the geographical construct known as the Francophone World. Until the second half of the twentieth century, the state was only rarely associated with this particular geographical framing. Beginning in the 1960s, however, an explicit effort was made to embrace the Francophone World idea. The endeavor met with some success, yet this occurred precisely at a time when the use of French was declining in Louisiana and when concerns were mounting over the commodification of the culture of the Louisiana French. The irony is that these trends needed to be downplayed in order to claim a place for Louisiana in the Francophone World. Exploring the nature and significance of the effort at geographical positioning shows the importance of looking at spatial conceptualizations not just as passive compartments, but also as actively constructed frameworks that reflect and promote social, economic, and political agendas.