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In addition to the special section on ‘Women in Asia’, this edition of PORTAL contains two essays in its general academic section. François Provenzano’s ‘Francophonie et études francophones: considérations historiques et métacritiques sur quelques concepts majeurs’ offers a sustained meditation and critique of the discourse of Francophonic unity, and suggests a range of possible critical directions for future research into the study of French-speaking zones, peoples and cultures. Barbara Elizabeth Hanna and Juliana de Nooy’s ‘The Seduction of Sarah: Travel Memoirs and Intercultural Learning’, focuses on a big-selling memoir that was also something of a media-sensation on its publication in Australia in 2002, expatriate Australian journalist Sarah Turnbull’s account of her ambivalent ‘new life’ in Paris, France, after her marriage to a local: Almost French: A New Life in Paris. Interested in Turnbull’s autobiography as a potentially useful and productive classroom text for demonstrating, and enabling discussion of, intercultural difference, the authors’ rich analysis demonstrates that such texts present a host of problems to the teacher keen to work with students’ self-critical capacities to locate themselves in international and transcultural frameworks.
We are delighted, as well, to present three cultural works in this issue: Katherine Elizabeth Clay’s evocative ‘comic’ narrative of study abroad, ‘From Penrith to Paris,’ itself a lively visual-textual antidote to Turnbull’s ambivalently romanticized view of (not-quite)-belonging in Paris (as discussed by Hanna and de Nooy in this issue); a typically idiosyncratic satire about the current German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, from Anthony Stephens, expertly deploying an ancient Celtic narrative verse form; and California-based Chicana writer Susana Chávez-Silverman’s code-switching chronicle/crónica, ‘Oda a la ambigüedad Crónica,’ a beautifully concise exploration of loss and the sensory regime of memorialisation.
Paul Allatson, Chair, PORTAL Editorial Commitee
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