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Last modified: Thursday, September 27, 2012

Conference will highlight French, Native American and African interaction in colonial Midwest

Sept. 27, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Workshops, academic papers and a keynote address and performance by a fiddle player who is also a specialist in North American French Creole and Cajun language, culture and music will be part of the 2012 annual conference of the Center for French Colonial Studies this weekend at Indiana University Bloomington.

The conference is hosted by the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology and the Mathers Museum of World Cultures. Its theme is "French, Native American, and African Interaction in the U.S. Midcontinent: Evidence from Ethnohistory, Folklore, and Material Culture Studies."

This topic will be highlighted and discussed through a new exhibit on Indiana's 18th-century French and Native American heritage at the Glenn Black Lab, a special workshop on the Ohio Valley-Great Lakes Ethnohistory Archives, 11 scholarly presentations and a tour of IU's Lilly Library. The conference takes place Friday through Sunday, Sept. 28 to 30, at the Glenn Black Lab and the Indiana Memorial Union.

Christina Snyder, assistant professor of history and American studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at IU Bloomington, and doctoral student Christopher Clements will lead the ethnohistory workshop Friday. Papers presented Saturday will address the theme from the perspectives of several disciplines, including history, folklore, archaeology and linguistics.

Dennis Stroughmatt will give the keynote presentation during a banquet Saturday evening. A native of Southern Illinois, he attended college in southeastern Missouri and learned to play fiddle and speak Creole French from French Midwest Creoles living in the "Old Mines" district of the Missouri Ozarks.

The exhibit at Glenn Black Lab on Indiana's 18th-century French and Native American heritage will have its official opening at a conference reception Friday evening. Exhibits at the Glenn Black Lab are open to the public from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 1 to 4:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Sponsors of the conference are the IU Bloomington Office of the Vice Provost for Research, the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures, the departments of history and American studies, and the Lilly Library. Conference organizers are Christina Snyder and Timothy Baumann, curator of archaeology with the Glenn Black Lab and the Mathers Museum.

For more information, including registration instructions, visit the conference website or contact Baumann at 812-855-0022, 812-391-3197 or