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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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Land, Resistance, and Indigenous Filmmaking in Quebec (Isabelle St-Amand)


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Land, Resistance, and Indigenous Filmmaking in Quebec

Isabelle ST-AMAND

As Indigenous Canadian writer and essayist Thomas King pointed out in The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, land and the legitimacy of its occupation have been at the basis of the relationships between settlers and Indigenous peoples in Quebec and elsewhere across the Americas. To this day, colonial settlement remains associated with the doctrine of discovery, a powerful set of colonial representations that act on legal and political levels as well as in social discourses, media representations, film, literature, and the arts. With the doctrine of discovery come two false assumptions, one stipulating that the land was uninhabited upon the arrival of the first European explorers on the continent, the other purposefully predicting the inexorable disappearance of the peoples indigenous to the coveted lands. These assumptions, based on dehumanizing politics of erasure, work to simultaneously legitimize and conceal a continued colonial appropriation of Indigenous lands (St-Amand, 2015, pp. 258-259). In his book Indigenous Aesthetics. Native Art, Media and Identity, American film scholar and art historian Steven Leuthold (1998) stated that as long as there will be pressure on natural resources, “relations to the land will continue as the source of the greatest intercultural conflict between natives and non-natives”. Leuthold identified as a further hindrance to conflict resolution the disjunction between Western and Indigenous perceptions of the land, one conceiving it in legal terms, the other “in religious...

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