Book exploring issues of migration launches Wednesday

Pluri-Culture partial book cover

The history of the human race is a history of migration. Migration south-north, east-west, voluntary, forced, across nations, cultures, religions and languages, as well as the various issues it raises are explored in a new book of essays launching Wednesday.

Pluri-Culture book coverPluri-Culture and Migrant Writings/Pluri-Culture et Écrits migratoires (Human Sciences Monograph Series, Laurentian University) is comprised of 33 of the best essays culled from the proceedings of an international conference organized by the Canada-Mediterranean Centre.

It is edited by York English Professor Emerita Elizabeth Sabiston and University Professor Emeritus Robert J. Drummond, former dean of arts. The launch will take place Nov. 19, from 2:30 to 4:30pm, at the York University Bookstore, Keele campus. Everyone is welcome to attend the event. Light refreshments will be served.

This bilingual and interdisciplinary collection includes an introduction by Sabiston and a conclusion by Drummond. It focuses on a variety of discourses, both oral and written, to address key issues of migration, which has been increasingly problematized in the global village we inhabit. As Drummond notes, it moves beyond the facts and numbers of the social sciences to put a human face on the immigrant experience.

The aim of the book is to create cultural dialogue, a bridge between similarity and difference, which may mitigate the “clash of civilizations.” By using the tools of both the humanities and the social sciences, the collection underlines the ways in which humans create their own cultures and thereby present a model of tolerance, understanding, peace and acceptance of difference in the context of cultural pluralism.

Denise Brahimi of the Sorbonne, Paris, says “The originality of these writings is that they do not restrict themselves to developing the theme of exile, but are engaged in reflections that one could call essential or existential …”

And Rafik Darragi of the Université de Tunis, Tunisia, calls it “… a striking work in its richness and diversity … a profound and unified scholarly work … to be read and reread.”

International scholars are represented from Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Cameroon, Sénégal, France, Italy, Spain and China, as well as the United States and Canada. A number of York scholars contributed essays, including Lesley Higgins and Marie-Christine Leps, Allan Weiss, Kay Li, Wally Dyba, Hernán Humaña and Olga Stein.

The conference and the proceedings were supported by a grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada. The organizers and editors also acknowledge the help of the Office of the Dean, Faculty of Liberal Arts and Professional Studies (Dean Martin Singer and then-associate dean research Barbara Crow), Stong College, and the Departments of French Studies and English.

Éric Cader, CIUT, Toronto, notes that the collection “… deserves to be read by all government agencies concerned with immigration.”

Copies of the book will be available for sale at a special discounted price of $25 (a $10 reduction from the list price). This is a one-time only offer. Sabiston and Drummond will be available to sign copies.

For those unable to attend, the book is available at the York University Bookstore.