SFU Department of French professors interviewed on CBC Radio Canada

August 01, 2023

Last month, CBC Radio-Canada’s Grégory Bernard invited Simon Fraser University’s Department of French faculty members Jorge Calderón and Joel Akinwumi for a roundtable discussion on visibility and inclusion in post-secondary studies in French at SFU.

Appointed the new department chair of SFU French, Jorge Calderón has taught at the university since 2006 and teaches courses on queer literature in French. Joel Akinwumi is the department’s most recent faculty hire as a joint appointment with the Department of World Languages and Literatures. Starting in fall 2023, Akinwumi will be teaching courses on African and Caribbean Literatures, in both French and English.

As the first gay, racialized department chair of SFU French, Calderón believes we are living in an exciting time as post-secondary institutions are becoming more reflective of our changing society, enthusiastically embracing diversity and inclusion.

Akinwumi adds that he sees his new position as an opportunity to promote to young SFU students the immense cultural and language diversity of the African continent. As someone who began his own post-secondary studies outside of Canada, he believes that literature offers a way outside of travelling, in which to explore the world and learn about different cultures.

During the discussion, Calderón stressed that it is of the utmost importance for young people to witness the promotion of diverse ideas and perspectives, so they can grow to understand themselves and their place in our society. He goes on to say that SFU is prioritizing engagement in social justice at all levels, from its course offerings across all disciplines up to SFU President Joy Johnson’s priorities for the university.  

The Department of French works closely with SFU’s Office of Francophone and Francophile Affairs (OFFA), to create and promote our events, courses and programs.

Courses offered by SFU French include topics on literatures of sexual and gender diversity, Canadian Indigenous literatures, French cinema and media, African and Caribbean literatures, and decolonizing linguistic ideologies.

Listen to Calderón and Akinwumi’s full CBC Radio-Canada interview here: