30 October 2015

Suivi: Cage de la Corriveau en exposition!

Vous voulez voir la cage de la Corriveau en personne? Vous voulez assister aux conférences en lien avec le sujet? Suivez ce lien pour avoir plus d'information : Musée de la civilisation.

Photo: Joseph Gagné, 2013

27 October 2015

Confirmé: C'est LA cage de La Corriveau!

Il n'y a presque plus de doute. Le gibet trouvé au musée Peabody-Essex à Salem, au Massachusetts, serait correctement attribué à Marie-Josephte Corriveau. C'est ce que vient de publier Le Devoir. C'est une nouvelle qui me rend heureux, puisque j'ai été le premier à contacter le musée américain pour savoir si la cage y était toujours (pour l'histoire entière de La Corriveau et de la redécouverte de sa cage, lire La Corriveau. De l'histoire à la Légende). 
Nous n'avons pas encore tous les détails, mais on peut s'attendre à quelques activités et annonces de presse sur le sujet au début de novembre. C'est un rendez-vous!

18 October 2015

CFCS Windsor 2015

Uh oh... apartment is empty, I have a glass of rum in my hand, and I'm listening to some Gordon Lightfoot... I must be scrambling to write a conference paper! 

Yes indeed, this week I will be presenting at the Center for French Colonial Studies in Windsor. Come join us and say hi! For more information on the conference, visit this address: http://frenchcolonialstudies.org/annual-meeting/

Hope you see you there!

Abstract of my presentation:
On September 8, 1760, the governor of New France signed the capitulation of Montreal. The event marked the final act in the military conquest of Canada. Remaining French forces were directed to lay down their arms and surrender to the enemy. However, a large company of soldiers from the troupes de la Marine du Canada blatantly ignored these orders and fell back onto Louisiana which had, up to then, avoided being conquered. What is most remarkable about this troop is that it was lead by the young Captain Pierre Passerat de la Chapelle, second in command at Fort Détroit. Aged only 26 and with no maps to guide him, the young officer had managed to fray his way across a continent without a single loss. Despite the winter snows, the fear of British pursuit, and the danger of hostile natives, La Chapelle’s most pressing danger would not have been any of these, but a fellow officer: Louis Liénard de Beaujeu, commander of Michilimackinac, equally exiling himself into the Illinois Country. The following clash between these men’s military schools of thought would create a contest of ranks and age, and threaten La Chapelle’s honour and command of his men. The story of this important retreat from the Pays d’en Haut to the Pays des Illinois and Louisiana has been overlooked by the historiography of the Seven Years’ War. This talk will describe and analyse the journey of La Chapelle in the geographical and military context of the period, one of crumbling social order on the cusp of Conquest.

12 October 2015

A funny thought...

Those in the know will find these two images side by side hilarious. Couldn't resist...

(Hint: Go watch Reel Injun)

11 October 2015

To My Friends Thinking of Voting Conservative

Back in 2012, I was fortunate enough to do research in the New Orleans State Museum Archives. Even though I had a scholarship covering my needs for a month, I barely got to do any research in this particular institution: the center was dramatically underfunded, having only a single archivist to help me. To make matters worse, the center was only open three days a week to visitors. And I happened to be on the wrong end of a waiting list of researchers before me...

I kept repeating to myself: Thank god we have good services in Canada. Thank god people have more respect and love for history in Canada. That is, until that morning when I caught up on news from back home. To my horror, it was announced that Library and Archives Canada (LAC) was moving forwards with draconian cuts to its budget. In essence, the repercussions were: 
  • Laying off of people
  • Cutting public services
  • Restricting access to documents
  • Eliminating interlibrary loans
  • Slashing the budget for new acquisitions

My work depends on having access to archives. It’s what historians do: they do research in archive centres. Yet, in one fell swoop, I’ve lost access not only to interlibrary loans that saved me countless wasted time, effort and money going to Ottawa, but I’ve also lost knowledgeable colleagues who can help me identify and find documents I need among the mountains of material at LAC.

Word was also spreading that the Harper government was planning on « compensating » this travesty by digitizing what turns out is only a mere fraction of the archives. Worse: though these documents have been already payed for by Canadian tax dollars, the digital content would be pay-per-view only for the coming decade. The epitome of bad news is the -still- circulating rumour that the Conservatives wish to sell the digitized material to private collectors. I don’t know how much credence I can give to this last rumour, but I can confirm that on the flip side, the actual elimination of a strong acquisitions budget robbed me of important documents that otherwise would have - should have - been purchased by LAC instead of being lost forever to the collectors' market.

And the Harper government was not done: Parks Canada was also the target of senseless  cuts (or rather, a straight-out economic amputation) of about 28 million dollars. Over 600 jobs were eliminated, many being archaeologists and historians. In Quebec city alone, over 30 researchers were fired (only one is left). 

Strangely, a whopping 70 million dollars was invested in the commemorations of the War of 1812 (a war that even the Times described as The War No One Wants to Commemorate). The Harper government’s fascination with this event still boggles the mind of Historians today: this war did nothing more than reinforce the status quo which preceded it. All in all, the events and commemorations smacked of propaganda rather than of history: suddenly, Canada was supposed to be a warrior nation of some sort...

And frankly, I have no idea where much of that money went besides the renovation of a few small forts and the creation of mediocre heritage minutes on television. As I recall one journalist pointing out, one million was supposedly spent on an event that was nothing more than a handful of reenactors in a field next to a tiny stage where an actress portraying Laura Secord sang with a dancing cow in front of a crowd of less than 50 people… One million for that??? Shady if you ask me. 

I could go on enumerating the various cuts to museums and research programs, the commandeering of history away from historians to create nationalistic propaganda and the blatant silencing of historians and archeologists… I’ll simply stick to saying to my friends out there who claim/believe Harper creates jobs, I would like to remind you that his government made my search for a job precarious and even dangerous thanks to all these cuts.

If you love museums, if you love history, if you love the search for knowledge and understanding, please, don’t vote for Harper. Historians, archivists and archaeologists are the custodians of history. Not politicians. Help us safeguard public memory from the skewing of reality. 
Help us save Canadian history. Help us make Harper history. 

PS don’t forget that voting day is October 19th.

Sources and suggested reading: 

09 October 2015

Monuments intellectuels de la Nouvelle-France et du Québec ancien

Pour les intéressés, un livre numérique disponible gratuitement :

Monuments intellectuels de la Nouvelle-France et du Québec ancien : 
Aux origines d'une tradition culturelle
Dirigé par Claude Corbo
Collectif PUM-Corpus Libre Accès
398 pages
octobre 2014

Cliquez sur la couverture pour y accéder :

02 October 2015


Bonjour chers lecteurs(trices),
J'aimerais vous inviter à prendre connaissance du nouveau blogue Borealia. Ce dernier se décrit ainsi:
The goal of Borealia is to provide an energetic, professional, and respectful space for conversation about research and teaching in early Canadian history. We believe that a dedicated forum for discussion, alongside broader historical associations and publications, will nurture informal networks of scholars and will demonstrate the vitality of the field among colleagues and the public. Borealia (“northern”) is a title expansive enough to take in the breadth of our field. We are interested in all regions of what eventually became Canada, to about 1867, and connections to the wider world. We hope our contributors will reflect the diversity of our field, encompassing cultural, intellectual, political, religious, economic, and other perspectives, and will come from every stage of academic careers. We will strive to have content in both English and French.
J'invite donc mes collègues professionnels à se joindre à la liste des collaborateurs pour fournir un contenu français! En espérant vous lire bientôt,