Living disability, collecting and researching it academically

Meggie Boyle is a 3rd year student of French in the Faculty of Modern and Medieval Literature and Linguistics. Earlier this year, she got in touch with us at Cambridge University Libraries with book recommendations for her Year Abroad Dissertation project. She suggested titles that we did not have, and we arranged digital alternate formats for books that were only available to buy in print format, via the Cambridge Libraries Accessibility Services. You can read here about her experience of disability which fueled her dissertation project.

“Disability has dominated my life, not only pervading every part of my physical body, but also seeping into the very core of my being, my mind: I see it in everything I do and everywhere I go.

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The Good Friday Agreement at 25

This post has a rare domestic focus, on the watershed moment in the history of Northern Ireland when the Good Friday Agreement was signed, 25 years ago today.  Most libraries are closed today, so this post looks at a small sample of ebooks about the Agreement and how to find others in the catalogue.

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Older Ukrainian material via the HathiTrust

Cambridge has standard, unlocked access to books out of copyright held in the HathiTrust digitised book collection.  Covid-era Cambridge readers may remember that we had full access to the whole collection for some months, when physical restrictions made our print copies almost inaccessible, but even the limited HathiTrust access we have in more normal times is a great bonus for those reading older material.

Screenshot of the first results of my search

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Current Francophone Haitian literature

Colonised by the Spanish and then the French until its successful revolution and independence in 1804, Haiti plays an important role within Francophone literature. However, it still bears the traces of the catastrophic 2010 earthquake (which claimed between 100,000 and 300,000 lives), followed by an extended period of political uncertainty and upheaval. This was further aggravated by the 2016 Hurricane Matthew (which, though less lethal, left 175,000 people homeless). This series of disasters has meant that at Cambridge University Library, sourcing books published in Haiti has been challenging. Over several years, our regional supplier Libros Latinos was not able to travel to the country. However, as is often the case for Francophone literature, many Haitian authors are also published in Canada and France, whether they are still residing in Haiti or have emigrated.

One example is the writer and publisher Rodney Saint-Éloi, born in Haiti, who founded the publishing house Mémoire, as well as the magazine Cultura and the journal Boutures. He moved to Québec in 2001, is a member of the Académie des Lettres du Québec, and in 2003 created the publishing house Mémoire d’encrier, based on the principle of cultural diversity:

Mémoire d’encrier publie des auteur.e.s québécois.e.s, autochtones, antillais.e.s, arabes, africain.e.s… représentant ainsi une large plate-forme où se confrontent les imaginaires dans l’apprentissage et le respect de la différence et de la diversité culturelle. Continue reading

Francophone writing and indigenous literature in Canada 

Multilingualism is a crucial part of the diversity of library collections, although it presents challenges in terms of linguistic expertise from both librarians and readers. We have written previously about Francophone Quebecois literature and want to highlight here the work of literary societies and the importance of French language literature produced by indigenous writers in Québec, through a list of recently published works.

book coverKwahiatonhk! is an association dedicated to the promotion and dissemination of “la littérature et les livres autochtones”, whose name means “we write!” in the Wendat language. It is based in Wendake, two urban reserves of the Huron-Wendat Nation in Quebec. Kwahiatonhk! organises literary events, such as the Salon du livre des Premières Nations (SLPN), which started in 2011, with the sponsorship of the Wendake bookseller and publisher Librairie Hannenorak. It is the only festival entirely dedicated to indigenous literature in Quebec, offering events in both French and English.

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