31 March 2011

“From Migration to Homelessness: Self-Narrative and Contemporary Mobility” by Professor Simon Harel (Université du Québec à Montréal) and 2009 Trudeau Fellow. The Lecture will take place at the University of Regina's Institut Français.

What are cultural and social mobility? Or more general, what is contemporary mobility? Narrative, and particularly written speech and the construction of words, images and space, can capture and explain the fundamental dynamic of individual identity and social integration, as well as the basis for the support required in the face of marginalization and immigration. Literature's discussion of mobility contributes to an examination of the apparent "desolidarization" of the socio-cultural body. Simon Harel studies the capacity to move between cultural domains, in the space of the signs and languages we use. His research involves immigrants, the exiled, and professionals obliged to respond to transdisciplinary requirements as victims of discredit, in precarious situations within social space.

2009 Trudeau Fellow Simon Harel is a member of the Royal Society of Canada. Over the last twenty years, he has opened a field of innovative research at the frontier of literary and cultural studies. He was one of the first to articulate the singularity of the migratory experience in Quebec. His book Voleurs de parcours published in 1989 and re-released in 1999, is recognized as one of the most noteworthy Quebec cultural studies of the 1980s and 90s. The prolific author studies intercultural issues and questions that address the place of foreigners in society and investigates the precarity of our life spaces. Highly conscious of the insufficiency of certain critical discourses (on hybridity, creolization, pick-and-choose identity), he is presently intent on defining the unstable and often conflictual forms of cultural mobility.