Round table: What Is a Minority Situation?

Round table: What Is a Minority Situation?

Francophones, their Relationships, and their Relations in Canada

Call for proposals

This round table will take place as part of the Conference of the Society for Existential and Phenomenological Theory and Culture (EPTC) during the Humanities Congress, Regina, May 26-June 1 2018.

The concept of minority situation has gained in popularity and in use since the expression “linguistic/francophone communities in minority situations” (“communauté francophone en situation minoritaire”) has replaced the more centralist “Francophones outside Québec” and the “French-Canadian” ethnonym. The minority situation refers to what is shared by French-language communities in a context of official bilingualism, of linguistic duality, and of political coexistence. However, the differences between the minority situations of Francophones in Western Canada, of Acadians, and of Franco-Ontarians, as well as the use of the same term to refer to Anglophone communities in Québec, make it so that it may be easy to forget the distance that separates these communities and the divergences in their modes of community life.

Existential and phenomenological philosophy has contributed much to the understanding of the concept of situation. It has also developed related concepts such as: horizon, structure, ordinary or daily life, and lifeworld. It is thus able to suggest a deepened content for the concept of minority situation (or context, or setting). Rather than focus on public policy, rights, and the enumeration of populations, this philosophy can turn toward lived experience to highlight its general traits, shed light on its meanings, and then suggest orientations for coexistence. Above all, it allows a reflection about the relationship between milieu, belonging, difference, and language to intentionality. An interrogation is then possible as to the modalities of the inherence of a conception of the self as a minority to the individual consciousness: does the concept of minority situation reflect the experience of the members of the communities it names, or rather the aims of institutions and organisms that make use of it?

In order to better understand what this minority situation is and how it manifests itself in these various contexts, we invite paper proposals dealing with:

· the definition and the understanding of what a minority situation is;

· the institutional and cultural factors that create distinct minority situations;

· the active and potential relationships between Francophones and other minority groups, from alliances to conflicts;

· the minority situations that Francophones share with other groups.

While the application of existing theories to this situation will be an important part of this round tables, texts that develop new theories based on the experience of Francophone communities in minority contexts are particularly solicited.

This workshop is also a part of the Transversal conference of the Centre canadien de recherche sur les francophonies en milieu minoritaire (CRFM) at the University of Regina. Constituting of panels and round tables dealing with the same question in the respective conferences of five disciplines, this transversal or embedded conference will shed light on the situation of Francophones in minority contexts through multidisciplinary and comparative contributions. Following Congress, the texts from these conferences will be gathered and published in an edited volume that will launch new debates on the Canadian Francophonie. Texts in English are welcome and will be translated for this volume. Please send your proposals by December 8, 2017 to the CRFM at Texts for 20-minute presentations will need to be completed by January 5 in order to undergo peer review. Please send your queries or questions to the same address, or to the organizer of this round table, Jérôme Melançon, CRFM Director, at

For more information about EPTC: About the CRFM: