Every June the city of Lowell, Massachusetts, celebrates
Franco-American Day, raising the Franco-American flag and hosting
events designed to commemorate French culture in the Americas.
Though there are twenty million French speakers and people of
French or francophone descent in North America, making them the
fifth-largest ethnic group in the United States, their cultural
legacy has remained nearly invisible. Events like Franco-American
Day, however, attest to French ethnic permanence on the American
topography. In Franco-America in the Making, Jonathan K.
Gosnell examines the manifestation and persistence of hybrid
Franco-American literary, musical, culinary, and media cultures in
North America, especially New England and southern Louisiana. To
shed light on the French cultural legacy in North America long
after the formal end of the French empire in the mid-eighteenth
century, Gosnell seeks out hidden French or "Franco"
identities and sites of memory in the United States and Canada
that quietly proclaim an intercontinental French
presence, examining institutions of higher learning,
literature, folklore, newspapers, women's organizations, and
churches. This study situates Franco-American cultures within
the new and evolving field of postcolonial Francophone studies
by exploring the story of the peoples and ideas contributing to the
evolution and articulation of a Franco-American cultural identity
in the New World. Gosnell asks what it means to be French, not
simply in America but of America.