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2012 Quebec Student Protests

Some Observations on Motives, Strategies, and Their Consequences on the Reconfigurations of State and Media

Audrey Laurin-Lamothe and Michel Ratte

The first part of this article reports the main events of the 2012 student protest in Quebec leading to the government’s adoption of Bill 12. It highlights the major ideological conflict generated through the liberal managerial mutation of the academic institutions as a key to understand more clearly the student’s claims. Rapidly, the standard strike was transformed into a massive mobilization that produced many protests and other forms of resistance. The response given by the government to these unprecedented acts of resistance was Bill 12, to be understood as a symbolic coup d’état with voluntarily disruptive media effects whose aim was to make people forget the massive rejection of a pseudo tentative agreement in relation to Higher Education reform. The bill was also supported through the abusive and twisted use by the government of a series of buzzwords, like “bullying” and “access to education”, which were relayed by the media. The authors also discuss the issues surrounding the traditional conceptions regarding the analysis of discourses, mobilizing Orwell’s concept of doublethink and the notion of selfdeception inherited form Sartre.

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Sex and Death in Quebec

Female AutobioBD and Julie Doucet's Changements d'adresses

Catriona MacLeod

In comparison to the U.S. market, the trend for autobiographical sequential art arrived late within the history of the francophone bande dessinée. Its rising popularity throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium coincided, and to an extent connected, with another belated development in the French-language industry however: that of the growing presence of the female artist. This article considers the strong presence of life narratives in bandes dessinées created by women, before presenting a case-study examining the manipulation of the medium to an autobiographical end in Québécoise artist Julie Doucet's 1998 Changements d'adresses ['Changes of Addresses']. It considers how, in this coming-of-age narrative set first in Montreal and then New York, Doucet utilises the formal specificity of the bande dessinée to emphasise both the fragmentation and then reintegration of her hybrid enunciating instances. It further examines Doucet's usage of the life-narrative bande dessinée to oppose her representation from that of the disruptive male figures in her life, whose sexual presence in her personal evolution is often connected to images of dysfunction and death, finally suggesting via this examination of Julie Doucet and Changements d'adresses the particular suitability of female-created life narratives to feminist reappropriations of the francophone bande dessinée.

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Bill Marshall

The welcome attention paid to Quebec in this issue of European Comic Art immediately points to a cluster of intellectual questions concerning identity, territory and academic discipline(s). What need was there for grouping a corpus, and analysis of it, according to this category, and what meanings are implied in that selection? And what problems are evoked by the adjective ‘European’? These are familiar questions to all those Quebec specialists working in French (‘and Francophone’) Studies, as well as, in my case, Film Studies. On the one hand, Quebec culture in all its forms of expression possesses a relevance and richness, due to historical and spatial factors I shall outline below, but is largely off the radar of the disciplines and sub-disciplines it could enrich. This is no more true than in French Studies, where it is difficult, but also necessary, topical (witness the continuing debate, five years after the manifesto, around littérature-monde) and urgent, to challenge the hierarchy implied in the centre and periphery generated by ‘(and) Francophone’. The challenge is to place Quebec in an endlessly comparative relationship with other French-speaking cultures, with other Atlantic spaces, in order to break down the barriers implied in an often ghettoised ‘specialisation’. Here bande dessinée scholarship has an interesting advantage, in that, despite the phenomenal cultural weight of the art form within metropolitan French life, a decidedly non-metropolitan space, namely Belgium, offers a central position. The opportunity is there to emphasise lateral connections that bypass as well as include metropolitan France, hence the work here on Tintin in Quebec. To an extent, bande-dessinée-monde, to coin a phrase, is already a reality.

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Round and About the Bande Dessinée Québécoise

From Its Early Days to Chiendent

Christopher Rolfe

What follows is an attempt to contextualise the bandes dessinées produced in Quebec from their early beginnings in the late nineteenth century to their renewal and expansion during the years immediately following the Quiet Revolution. The intention, above all, is to give a sense of a changing intellectual, artistic and cultural landscape, and to situate the creators of comic strips within it. In fact, as will become evident, the history of Quebec's comic strips is closely linked to the history of the province and in many ways reflects it. (As we will see, the all-pervasive influence of the Catholic Church and the rise of Quebec nationalism can be traced in the development of the bande dessinée.) Necessarily, given the scope of the topic and the limited space available, the attempted coverage will be sketchy and incomplete. Moreover, it is only right to point out that its author is very much a novice in the field of the comic strip. Nevertheless, it is hoped that - to use an appropriate metaphor - a broader picture and different perspectives will emerge for those unfamiliar with the history of Quebec, and that new avenues of research will be prompted.

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Sivane Hirsch and Marie McAndrew

This article analyzes the treatment of the Holocaust in Quebec's history textbooks, in view of the subject's potential and actual contribution to human rights education. Given that Quebec's curriculum includes citizenship education in its history program, it could be argued that the inclusion of the Holocaust has particular relevance in this context, as it contributes to the study of both history and civics, and familiarizes Quebec's youth with representations of Quebec's Jewish community, which is primarily concentrated in Montreal. This article demonstrates that the textbooks' treatment of the Holocaust is often superficial and partial, and prevents Quebec's students from fully grasping the impact of this historical event on contemporary society.

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Jimmy Beaulieu

A brief historical overview considers a number of factors that were not propitious for the development of a home-grown comics culture in Quebec (notwithstanding the popularity of a few noteworthy artists) including the impossibility of competing with cheaper American production, and the ambient conservatism that dominated much of the twentieth century. Beaulieu goes on to describe the shock and excitement of his discovery in the mid-1990s of an alternative comics scene (more active in Montreal than in Quebec City), and his own involvement in it from the beginning of the twenty-first century as an artist, publisher and teacher. He offers a firsthand account of the realities of negotiating the pressures of alternative comics publishing within the two structures that he set up: Mécanique Générale and the smaller and (still) more radical Colosse. There are pleasures: the ethos of collective work, the opportunity to support up-and-coming young authors and to ensure the survival of work by an illustrious predecessor, invitations to take part in productive exchanges on a local, national and international level, and the sheer obsessive pursuit of perfectionism. But there are also frustrations: the never-ending grind of getting manuscripts ready for the printer, wearying battles with publishers' reps, the constant need to manage the expectations of authors and the skewing of the market by competitors prepared to outsource printing to Asia. The author explains his decision finally to withdraw from his publishing commitments and to focus on his own work. His conclusion, about the future of comic production in Quebec, is, however, optimistic and devoid of cynicism.

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Dangerous Liaisons in 1940s Quebec

Vichy or la France libre

Robert Schwartzwald

Eric Amyot, Le Québec entre Pétain et de Gaulle: Vichy, la France libre et les Canadiens français 1940-1945 (Montréal: Éditions Fides, 1999).

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Béchir Oueslati, Marie McAndrew and Denise Helly

This article examines the evolution of the representation of Islam and Muslim cultures in textbooks in Quebec. Results indicate signicant improvements in the new secondary school history textbooks, both quantitatively (for they contain more information about pillars, key concepts, and relations with Christianity and Judaism) and qualitatively (on account of their depth of coverage, fewer negative views than in the 1980s, and fewer factual errors than in the 1990s). The positive role played by Muslim scientists in preserving old knowledge and enriching is also recognized. However, textbooks still view Islam as a religion of submission, proscriptions, and forced conversion, failing to recognize the diversity within Islam and Muslim cultures.

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Uriel Abulof

Israeli Arabs' "future vision" documents are an ethical-political manifesto, contextualized in academic discourse and informed by socio-historical parallels. Hence, this article examines their political ethics in a comparative perspective, by referencing the case of Israeli Arabs along with two other distinct intra-state conflicts: the strife between Anglophones and Francophones in Canada and the struggle between Macedonians and Albanians in Macedonia. These cases illuminate two main ethical-political alternatives to the present pattern of relations between Jews and Arabs in Israel. Although the Canadian case indicates a renunciation of ethno-nationalism in favor of civic and linguistic patriotism, the Macedonian case presents an attempt to reconcile ethno-national affiliation with democratic principles. Projecting the ethical discussion of the Canadian and Macedonian cases onto Israel, I contend that normative acceptance of the mutual and dual right of self-determination, regarding both the individual's collective identity and the collective's polity, is a precondition for reconciliation between Jews and Arabs.

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Rescuing Early America from Nationalist Narratives

An Intra-Imperial Approach to Colonial Canada and Louisiana

Daniel H. Usner

The effort to compare and connect different French colonies in North America encounters some treacherous roadblocks, including the powerful impact of Canadian and United States nation building on the treatment of French colonial regions and the widely divergent approaches taken by scholars of New France and French Louisiana. This essay attempts to explain why these obstacles appeared in the first place and to suggest how they might be overcome in the future. At a time when historians of early America are vigorously seeking new analytical frameworks and meaningful historical narratives, intraimperial research on complex relationships and comparative issues in French North America constitutes an essential area of study. Whether examining the role of Canadian families in the founding of Louisiana, the influence of Acadian settlers on south Louisiana culture, or the character of Indian relations in French colonies—among other issues—a shared history of early Canada and Louisiana will significantly improve our understanding of North American peoples and places.