|TEACHERS INVITED TO PARTICIPATE IN SOUTHEASTERN SUMMER INSTITUTE
HAMMOND -- What is a Creole?
A special Southeastern Louisiana University summer institute for teachers
will examine the meaning of the often-debated term and the portrayal of
Creole culture in literature, history, music, and art.
“Creoles in Fact and Fiction,” directed
by Southeastern English professor Tom Fick and funded by a Louisiana Endowment
for the Humanities grant, is open to Louisiana kindergarten through high
school public, private and parochial school teachers in language arts,
social studies, art, history, music and related fields. The deadline for
application is April 16. Twenty-five teachers will be selected to
attend the institute, which will include 16 sessions between June 2- 29.
Selected teachers will receive a $500
stipend and a tuition scholarship for three hours of graduate credit. Applications
can be submitted online at www.selu.edu/LEH
or can be printed and mailed to Fick at SLU 10861, Hammond, LA 70402. In
addition to the application form, applicants must submit two references
and a one-page letter describing ways the institute may contribute to their
professional development and teaching goals.
Fick, who previously has directed three
Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities seminars for secondary school teachers,
said the definition of “Creole” “is almost as varied as the population
“When Edward Larocque Tinker introduced
his 1928 novel ‘Toucoutou’ by asserting that Creole ‘can mean only one
thing and that is a pure white person born of European parents in Spanish
or French colonies,’ he was firing another salvo in a cultural debate that
began many years before and continues in the present,” Fick said. “Today,
most people would take exception to Tinker's definition, but the issue
is far from resolved. The ‘Creole’ still inhabits a uneasy space between
fact and fiction that reflects debates over race, culture, and identity
in the nation at large.”
To examine the debate, Fick said the
institute will discuss some of the seminal works dealing with Creoles,
from the first work by an African American -- Victor Sejour's "Le Mulatre,"
published in 1837 -- to George Washington Cable's short stories and novel
“The Grandissimes,” to Lalita Tademy's “Cane River” and Anne Rice's “The
Feast of All Saints.”
Participants will also look at literature
and historical documents by both white and Afro-Creole writers as well
as Creole music and art. They will explore contemporary efforts to revive
and promote the Creole heritage, and will have the opportunity to share
their own experiences and pursue individual research interests.
The institute also will feature two
visiting scholars. Thomas Klingler, professor of linguistics at Tulane
University and author of a book on the Creole language of Pointe Coupee
Parish, will discuss the history and development of the Creole language,
as well as issues dealing with its representation in literary and other
Mary Pichon Battle, a teacher, playwright,
and founder of the north shore organization “Creoles Sans Limites,” will
discuss her original plays in Creole, her research into the north shore
and surrounding Creole communities, and her efforts to revive and preserve
Creole traditions, language, and culture.
Those chosen for the institute will
also be invited to attend an orientation in May and a post-institute evaluation
in October, Fick said. Field trips will be scheduled to the Historic New
Orleans Collection, the French Quarter and the city’s Faubourg Treme, with
a possible optional weekend trip to the Cane River Creole National Historical
For additional information about the
institute, contact Fick at 985-549-2104/2100 or firstname.lastname@example.org.