Retelling Exodus: Cultural Negotiation among Pennsylvania Acadians
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“Retelling Exodus” focuses on one group amongst thousands of French Canadians expelled from Acadia, modern-day Nova Scotia, by the British in 1755 as the French and Indian War intensified. By 1790, many of the Acadians exiled during this “Grand Dérangement” had reunited and formed strong communities in New Brunswick and Louisiana, where they would become the Cajuns. However, relatively understudied in the expanse of the Acadian diaspora is the decade-long period after exile and before relocation to Louisiana when Acadians were resettled in American colonies: often harsh, inhospitable environments for Acadian culture. Pennsylvania in the mid-eighteenth century presents an interesting focus for questions of cultural adaptation because the colony contained a diverse demography of ethnic and religious groups. This research considers how the cultural, political, and religious landscape of 1750’s Pennsylvania contributed to diverse and fragmented patterns of resettlement and a practice of cultural negotiation among the colony’s Acadian refugees.