Guillaume Teasdale, Assistant Professor at the University of Windsor
Teasdale, G. (2019). Fruits of Perserverance. The French Presence in the Detroit River Region, 1701-1815. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
Founded by French military entrepreneur Antoine Laumet de Lamothe Cadillac in 1701, colonial Detroit was occupied by thousands of French settlers who established deep roots on both sides of the river. The city’s unmistakable French past, however, has been long neglected in the historiography of New France and French North America. Exploring the French colonial presence in Detroit, from its establishment to its dissolution in the early nineteenth century, Fruits of Perseverance explains how a society similar to the rural settlements of the Saint Lawrence valley developed in an isolated place and how it survived well beyond the fall of New France. As Guillaume Teasdale describes, between the 1730s and 1750s, French authorities played a significant role in promoting land occupation along the Detroit River by encouraging settlers to plant orchards and build farms and windmills. After New France’s defeat in 1763, these settlers found themselves living under the British flag in an Aboriginal world shortly before the newly independent United States began its expansion west. Fruits of Perseverance offers a window into the development of a French community in the borderlands of New France, whose heritage is still celebrated today by tens of thousands of residents of southwest Ontario and southeast Michigan.
Katherine Ann Roberts, Associate Professor at Wilfrid Laurier University
Roberts, K. A. (2018). West/Border/Road. Nation and Genre in Contemporary Canadian Narrative. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
The North American entertainment industry is rapidly consolidating, and new modes of technological delivery challenge Canadian content regulations. An understanding of how Canadian culture negotiates its rapport with American genres has never been more timely.West/Border/Road offers an interdisciplinary analysis of contemporary Canadian manifestations of three American genres: the western, the border, and the road. It situates close readings of literary, film, and television narratives from both English Canada and Quebec within a larger context of Canadian generic borrowing and innovation. Katherine Ann Roberts calls upon canonical works in Canadian studies, theories of genre, and a wide range of scholarship from border studies, cultural studies, and film studies to examine how genre is appropriated and sometimes reworked and how these cultural narratives engage with discourses of contemporary Canadian nationhood. The author elucidates Guy Vanderhaeghe’s rewriting of the codes of the historical western to include the trauma of Aboriginal peoples, Aritha van Herk’s playful spoof on American western iconography, the politics and perils of the representation of the Canada-US border in CBC-produced crime television, and how the road genre inspires and constrains the Québécois and Canadian road movie.A reminder of the power and limitations of American genres, West/Border/Road provides a nuanced perspective on Canadian engagement with cultural forms that may be imported but never foreign.
Patrick Coleman, Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles
Coleman, P. (2018). Equivocal City. French and English Novels of Postwar Montreal. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
The study of Montreal as a specific location in French and English writings has long been subordinated to the demands of linguistically divided and politically contentious narratives about national development. In this cross-linguistic study, Patrick Coleman models an inclusive and post-national literary history of the city itself.
Tracing a sequence of moments in the emergence of the Montreal novel from World War II to the turbulent 1960s, Equivocal City offers close readings of fourteen key works of fiction, focusing on the inner dynamic of their construction as well as the unexpected convergences and contrasts in the narrative structures they adopt and the aesthetic perspective they seek to achieve. Critically sophisticated but accessibly written, this book gives a sympathetic account of how writers in both languages struggled to give integrated artistic expression to their experience of a city that was still linguistically compartmentalized and culturally insecure. By analyzing the interplay between story and narrative form, the book explores what French and English novelists could – and could not – imagine about the Montreal they sought to portray. From the responsible realism of Hugh MacLennan and Gabrielle Roy to the fractious phantasmagorias of Jacques Ferron and Leonard Cohen, Equivocal City traces the evolution of the Montreal novel with the aim of retrieving a shareable literary past.
Louis Patrick Leroux, Professor at Concordia University
Charles R. Batson, Professor at Union College
Leroux, L. P. and C. R. Batson (2017). Cirque Global. Quebec’s Expanding Circus Boundaries. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press.
With a billion-dollar industry centred in Montreal, the province of Quebec has established itself as a major hub for contemporary circus. Cirque du Soleil has a global presence, and troupes such as Cirque Éloize and 7 doigts de la main are state-of-the-art innovators. The National Circus School of Montreal – the only state-funded elite training facility in North America – is an influential leader in artistry and technique. Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil’s Cirque du Monde supports arts for social change on many continents and is renowned for its social-circus training and research.
Cirque Global is the first book-length study of this new variety of circus and its international impact. The contributors offer critical perspectives on this rapidly developing art form and its aesthetics, ethics, business practices, pedagogical implications, and discursive significations. Essays explore creative, entrepreneurial, and cultural forces that are shaping Quebec’s dynamic nouveau cirque. Lavishly illustrated with photographs from circus performances, the volume showcases Quebec circus’s hybrid forms, which have merged the ethos and aesthetics of European circuses with American commercial and industrial creativity.
Cirque Global is the definitive study of the phenomenon of Quebec circus and is an important model for future research on contemporary circus.
Erin Hurley, Professor at McGill University
Hurley, E. (2017). De l’Expo 67 à Céline Dion. Essai sur la performance nationale. Montreal: Éditions Nota Bene.
Comment une performance en vient-elle à être considérée comme nationale? Comment certains événements spectaculaires qui n’apparaissent pas a priori comme distinctivement québécois réussissent-ils à cultiver une idée de la québécité à l’intérieur comme à l’extérieur de la province? En explorant tour à tour l’Expo 67, les discours entourant la publication de la pièce Les belles-sœurs de Michel Tremblay, le théâtre de l’image de Carbone 14, les pratiques d’écriture de Marco Micone, la musique pop de Céline Dion et les performances féministes des années 1970 et 1980, Erin Hurley examine les mécanismes qui permettent d’établir de nouvelles articulations entre les concepts de performance et de nation. Chaque chapitre s’interroge sur un moment particulier de l’histoire du Québec moderne ainsi que sur un type de performance emblématique du moment, le tout en réhabilitant l’importance du rôle des femmes dans la production du fait national.
Entre autres gagnant du prix Pierre Savard du Conseil international d’études canadiennes en 2012 et du Prix de la Société québécoise d’études théâtrales remis au meilleur ouvrage sur le théâtre québécois en 2014, cet essai novateur et rigoureux cherche à élargir les paramètres de lecture de la «performance québécoise» tout en offrant un vibrant plaidoyer en faveur d’un renouvellement des discours sur l’idée de nation au Québec. Une lecture nécessaire.
Traduit de l’anglais par Anne-Marie Régimbald.
Carol A. Chapelle, Distinguished Professor at Iowa State University
Chapelle, C. A. (2016). Teaching culture in introductory foreign language textbooks. London: Palgrave Macmillan.
Through chronological analysis of French textbooks in the United States, this book explores the representations of Canada and Quebec in French beginner textbooks produced from 1960 to 2010. Chapelle couples a large collection of 65 textbooks with a social-semiotic qualitative analysis of the genres, language and images that communicate Quebec’s cultural narrative to learners. Findings about the amount and type of content are presented by decade to track the trends in foreign language teaching and changes in Quebec’s representation. Particular attention is given to how language politics is presented to students through text and images. This book will be of interest to scholars of Canadian Studies, Quebec Studies and Second Language Acquisition, as well as foreign language materials developers.