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Engaging with Diversity

Multidisciplinary Reflections on Plurality from Quebec


Edited By Stéphan Gervais, Raffaele Iacovino and Mary-Anne Poutanen

Contributed by leading scholars of Quebec Studies, both emerging and established, the 30 essays of this comprehensive collection offer a multidisciplinary survey of the study of diversity in Quebec over space and time. The volume is organized around a variety of themes through which Quebec’s plural reality is expressed, including conceptual, historical and contemporary approaches, covering a wide range of social and economic cleavages, identity markers, political contestation and, broadly, the lived experiences of Quebecers negotiating difference over time. In an environment increasingly demarcated by conflicts around values and cultural and social practices, this collection hopes to contribute to broadening the spectrum of voices to the current debate, adding an inclusive reflection to a conversation that has only intensified over the last decade. Quebec as a pluri-national and multi-ethnic society has been and remains a great laboratory to study and to test public policies on ethnic diversity. It allows us to identify the tensions and to evaluate the balance between the majority and the minority; and between settler society and indigenous nations, in conceptualizing and finding a normative consensus around the configuration of collective rights. In short, the contributions in this volume seek to illustrate how pluralism has and continues to constitute the lifeblood of belonging in Quebec.

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Beyond the Historiographical Enclave? Studying Migration and Ethnicity in Quebec (Sylvie Taschereau)


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Beyond the Historiographical Enclave?

Studying Migration and Ethnicity in Quebec1


In North America, the history of ethnicity was first developed along with the history of immigration and of the communities that immigration birthed, a subject area now known as the history of migration. Studies in this field abounded in the United States and English Canada until the late 1990s but were and are still relatively few and far between in Quebec. In this province, the history of migration has scarcely been institutionalized or established as an independent field of research, and very few historians working in Quebec universities have been hired as specialists in this area. Of course scholars in the United States and English Canada far outnumber those in Quebec. But history seems to be the only discipline among the human and social sciences where this lack of institutionalization can be observed. There are several multidisciplinary research centers for the study of migration and related phenomena in Quebec. Historians, however, are only marginally represented within these organizations. Notwithstanding the humble development of this historiography, it continues to progress and historical research is now following tangents that could have the effect of better integrating at least the history of ethnicity, if not that of migration, into future analyses of Quebec society.

I will begin by briefly explaining the social and political context in which this field of research (migration and ethnicity) first appeared and some of...

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