We were never Cajun: créolization and whitened identity at the margins of memory

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dc.contributor.author Fontenot, Tyler
dc.date.accessioned 2020-09-04T03:15:29Z
dc.date.copyright 2020 en_US
dc.date.issued 2020-09-03
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1828/12109
dc.description.abstract In restaurants, dance halls, and travel brochures around the world, the word “Cajun” brings to mind a plethora of significations related to flavorful foods, exotic language, and geographical affiliation with South Louisiana— but what exactly is “Cajun” anyway? How has “Cajun” emerged as a community, culture, and identity? Who are the Cajuns today? This thesis rereads “Cajun history” in the larger context of Créole Louisiana, tracing issues of class, language, colonization, racialization, and modernization from Colonial Louisiana through 2020. This is accomplished with the aid of literary analyses, including authors such as Cable, Chopin, de la Houssaye, and Arceneaux, films such as Louisiana Story, and folk stereotype humor in the form of Boudreaux and Thibodeaux jokes. The thesis introduces postcolonial theoretical frameworks of mimicry, fixity, hybridity and créolization as methods for understanding the oft-forgotten historical relationality of identities, cultures, and languages in Southern Louisiana. In the 1970s Caribbean writers such as Édouard Glissant put forward the unfinished and unpredictable creativity of the historical, geographical, and anthropological space of Creole society and culture from the Antillean point of view. In a similar move, my introduction of the theory of creolization to Louisiana history seeks to wrestle back the power of Acadie or even France as the fundamental matrix of non-Anglophone culture, history, and identity in Louisiana. Instead, the complex perspective of Creolité threatens the stability of these origin myths, revitalizing our concept of history, culture, and identity in the localized touchstone of South Louisiana, while understanding that this localized perspective is always already an ongoing production at the borders of culture(s) in contact. Ultimately, I argue that Southern Louisiana since colonization has consistently been a site of créolization, destabilizing claims of Acadianness as the sole figurehead for francophone or franco-créolophone identity in the region. en_US
dc.language English eng
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Available to the World Wide Web en_US
dc.subject Cajun en_US
dc.subject Creole en_US
dc.subject Créole en_US
dc.subject Creolization en_US
dc.subject Créolization en_US
dc.subject Louisiana en_US
dc.subject hybridity en_US
dc.subject cultural studies en_US
dc.subject North American Francophonie en_US
dc.title We were never Cajun: créolization and whitened identity at the margins of memory en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US
dc.contributor.supervisor Ross, Stephen
dc.degree.department Department of English en_US
dc.degree.level Master of Arts M.A. en_US
dc.description.scholarlevel Graduate en_US
dc.description.embargo 2021-09-19

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