Institute on Québec Studies

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Québec Studies at Plattsburgh State


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Introductory Course in Québec Studies

CAS 359: Profiles of Québec

State University of New York, College at Plattsburgh
Division of Arts and Science

  • 3 Credits; 3 contact hours
  • Fall 2006

Prepared by:

Mark P. Richard, Ph.D.
Coordinator, Canadian Studies Program
Associate Professor of History and Canadian Studies
Office: Ward Hall 217B
Phone: (518) 564-2226
Fax: (518) 564-2300


Canada consists of two founding European societies: France and Britain. France claimed northern North America as a result of voyages made by Jacques Cartier in the St. Lawrence River Valley between 1534 and 1542, and the subsequent establishment of a permanent settlement at Québec by Samuel de Champlain in 1608. Britain firmly established its presence in northern North America after conquering New France in 1759-1760. On the eve of the American Revolution--as a security measure--Britain officially sanctioned French institutions, language, religion, and civil laws; since the Québec Act of 1774, there has existed an English-French duality in Canada that continues to the present day. From these French and British origins, Canada evolved into a bilingual and bicultural nation-state.

Since the British conquest of New France, French speakers of northern North America have employed different strategies to preserve their language and their culture. Today, over eighty percent of the Québécois speak French as their principal language. In recent decades, the English-French duality in Canada has found expression in confrontations between Québec and the rest of Canada. Québec has sought more influence over linguistic, cultural, economic, and other matters affecting French speakers in the province. It has argued for "distinct society" status within the nation-state of Canada, and it has had two referenda on whether or not to pursue sovereignty. This course will take a multidisciplinary approach to introduce students to the historical evolution, society, politics, and culture of Québec. Through the study of that predominantly French-speaking North American community, the course will highlight various strategies through which francophones have pursued survivance, or cultural survival, from 1774 to the present.

Profiles of Québec will serve as the cornerstone academic course offering of the newly-created Institute on Québec Studies at Plattsburgh State University. The course will complement existing courses in Canadian Studies. CAS 111: Introduction to Canada will serve as a pre-requisite course, ensuring that students gain an understanding of Canada as a whole before they focus on the particularities of what up to now has been and continues to be one of Canada's ten provinces. Profiles of Québec will also complement the following existing courses on Québec offered by various departments on campus:

  • FRE 333 La Francophonie
  • FRE 335 Le Québec
  • FRE 346 French-Canadian Cultures
  • HIS 173 History of the French in North America
  • HIS 174 Québec since 1760
  • PSC 326 Québec Politics

To be offered every second or third semester, Profiles of Québec will provide a multi-disciplinary introduction to Québec from the perspectives of the social sciences and the humanities. The course will examine Québec's geography, history, economics, politics, culture, literature, and arts, as well as Québec's quest for international status through increased outreach activities with France, la Francophonie, the United States, as well as other countries and international bodies.


The goals of this course are to help students to:

  1. Understand major geographical, historical, economic, political, cultural, and literary themes that have shaped modern Québec;
  2. Analyze and integrate information from readings, lectures, class discussions, and audiovisual materials; and
  3. Sharpen note-taking, discussion, reading, writing, critical thinking, and research skills.

Course Structure

Seminar Format: Class discussions will be supplemented periodically with two or three films, and guest presentations from on-campus faculty, outside lecturers, and distinguished Québec scholars. In addition, students will have the opportunity to experience Québec first-hand through participation in a field trip to la belle province. Attendance to, and active participation in, all class meetings is expected. Missed class time represents an irrevocable loss of part of the course for both the individual and the group. To emphasize the role of each student's contribution to the course, class participation will constitute fifteen percent of the course grade.

Required Readings:

  • Tom L. McKnight, "French Canada," Regional Geography of the United States and Canada, 4th ed. (Prentice-Hall, 2004)
  • John A. Dickinson and Brian Young, A Short History of Quebec, 3rd ed. (Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002)
  • Marta Danylewycz, Taking the Veil: An Alternative to Marriage, Motherhood, and Spinsterhood in Quebec, 1840-1920, ed. Paul-André Linteau, Alison Prentice, and William Westfall (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1987)
  • Ringuet [Philippe Panneton], Thirty Acres (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart/Tundra Books, 1989)
  • Robert G. LeBlanc, "The Francophone 'Conquest' of New England: Geopolitical Conceptions and Imperial Ambition of French-Canadian Nationalists in the Nineteenth Century," American Review of Canadian Studies 15 (Autumn 1985), pp. 288-310
  • Gabrielle Roy, The Tin Flute (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart/Tundra Books, 1996)
  • A.R.M. Lower, "Two Ways of Life: The Primary Antithesis of Canadian History," ed. Ramsay Cook, Craig Brown, and Carl Berger, Approaches to Canadian History, vol. 1 (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1967), pp. 15-28
  • Kenneth McRoberts, Misconceiving Canada: The Struggle for National Unity (Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1997)
  • Louis Bélanger, "The Domestic Politics of Quebec's Quest for External Distinctiveness," American Review of Canadian Studies 32 (Summer 2002), pp. 195-214
  • Earl H. Fry, "Quebec's Relations with the United States," American Review of Canadian Studies 32 (Summer 2002), pp. 323-342
  • James Csipak and Lise Héroux, "NAFTA, Quebecers and Fear (?) of Americanization: Some Empirical Evidence," Québec Studies 29 (Spring/Summer 2000), pp. 25-42
  • Fredric C. Menz and Horst Feldmann, "International Economic Issues of a Sovereign Quebec," Québec Studies 31 (Spring/Summer 2001), pp. 61-75
  • Joseph LeMay, "The Impact of the Quiet Revolution: The Business Environment of Smaller Cities and Regions of Quebec, 1960-2000," Québec Studies 34 (Fall 2002/Winter 2003), pp. 19-30
  • Louis Balthazar, "The Oldest and Most Resistant Section of the Border," Québec Studies 36 (Fall 2003/Winter 2004), pp. 3-27
  • Scott Piroth, "Generational Replacement, Value Shifts, and Support for a Sovereign Quebec," Québec Studies 37 (Spring/Summer 2004), pp. 23-43
  • Pierre Deslauriers, "'Nous irons (...nous encore) à Old Orchard c't'été?': Popular Culture, the Media, and Québécois Vacationing on the New England Coast," Québec Studies 33 (Spring/Summer 2002), pp. 117-128
  • Gisele Tschoungui, "The Quebec Téléroman: Between the Latino and the Wasp, a TV Serial with Gallic Humor in North America," Québec Studies 25 (Spring 1998), pp. 3-22
  • Mark Paul Richard, "The Ethnicity of Clerical Leadership: The Dominicans in Francophone Lewiston, Maine, 1881-1986," Québec Studies 33 (Spring/Summer 2002), pp. 83-101
  • Mark Paul Richard, "From Franco-American to American: The Case of Sainte-Famille, an Assimilating Parish of Lewiston, Maine," Histoire sociale/Social History 31 (May 1998), pp. 71-93
  • Mark Paul Richard, "Coping before l'État-providence: Collective Welfare Strategies of New England's Franco-Americans," Québec Studies 25 (Spring 1998), pp. 59-67

Writing Assignments

All written assignments must be word-processed, proofread for spelling and grammatical errors, and handed in at the beginning of the class period on the date they are due. Grades will be reduced by one full letter grade for each day (or part of a day) an assignment is late.

Summary-reaction papers: For every other class meeting, students will be asked to prepare a one-paragraph summary of the key questions addressed in the readings; in addition, students will be asked to generate a one-paragraph reaction to the issues the authors raise. These two-paragraph summary-reaction papers will serve to focus classroom discussions of the required readings.

Take-home exams: In lieu of formal, written examinations, students will have two take-home essay exams to write. The two essays, of approximately five to eight word-processed pages in length, will require students to analyze and synthesize information from readings, class discussions, and films introduced in the course. They will receive the exam questions one week before the essays are due. Students will be evaluated upon how well they respond to the essay questions, the amount and range of evidence they present in support of their arguments, and the quality of their organization and written expression. Each take-home exam will be worth fifteen percent of the course grade.

Research paper: This assignment is designed to deepen students' knowledge of a topic in Québec Studies. It should also help students sharpen their research and writing abilities, skills that they will find invaluable in their future job, career, or profession.

Students will be asked to submit a prospectus during the fourth week of the semester. The prospectus should describe their proposed topic and the question(s) that will guide their research endeavor. The prospectus should explain how the sources they have found can support a term paper, and it should highlight the ways in which the sources differ in their perspective or interpretation of the topic. In addition, students will need to supply a bibliography containing at least six to eight sources, no more than half of which can be drawn from the internet.

Students will be guided through the other steps of term paper production. They will be required to submit an outline, a draft of their introduction with a thesis statement, and a preliminary draft of their term paper. Individual meetings with the instructor will take place to discuss ways to strengthen the preliminary draft. The final product should consist of 10 to 15 pages that follow a conventional format for citations (e.g., A.P.A. or Chicago Style.) The research essay will be evaluated upon the development of the topic, the amount and range of evidence presented in answer to the research question, and the quality of organization and written expression. Students will be asked to produce two copies of their final paper so that one of their peers can also evaluate/critique their final product, providing students with the opportunity to learn from each other.

N.B.: Students will have the option of submitting written assignments in either English or French.


  • Summary-reaction papers: 15%
  • Class participation: 15%
  • Take-home exams: (2) 30%
  • Research paper: 40%
  • Prospectus: 4%
  • Outline: 2%
  • Intro/thesis: 2%
  • Preliminary draft: 10%
  • Final draft: 20%
  • Peer evaluation: 2%

Proposed Calendar

  • Week 1: Introduction to the course
    • Why Study Québec?
  • Week 2: Physical and Cultural Geography of Québec
  • Weeks 3 & 4: History of Québec from Aboriginal-French Contact to 1960
    • Term paper prospectus due (week 4)
  • Week 5: Literature of Québec
    • Take-home exam #1
  • Week 6: Gender in Québec
  • Week 7: The Québec Diaspora in New England
    • Outline of term paper due
  • Week 8: Government and Politics from the Quiet Revolution to the Present
    • Term paper introduction and thesis statement due
  • Week 9: Public Policy Issues
  • Week 10: Issues of Language, Culture, and Identity
    • Preliminary draft of research paper due
  • Week 11: Québec's International Outreach Activities with France, the U.S.A., and la Francophonie
    • Meetings to discuss draft of term paper
  • Week 12: Economy of Québec
  • Week 13: Inter-culturalism in Québec
  • Week 14: Native Peoples in Québec
    • Final draft of term paper due
  • Week 15: Wrap Up; Take-home exam #2
    • Peer evaluation/critique due

Selected Bibliography of Works in English for Further Reading and Research

  • Bradbury, Bettina. Working Families: Age, Gender, and Daily Survival in Industrializing Montreal. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1993.
  • Clio Collective. Quebec Women: A History. Toronto: Women's Press, 1992.
  • Dechêne, Louise. Habitants and Merchants in Seventeenth-Century Montreal. Trs. Liana Vardi. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1992.
  • Eccles, W.J. The Canadian Frontier, 1534-1760. 1969; rev. ed., Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1983.
  • Granatstein, J.L. and Hitsman, J.M. Broken Promises: A History of Conscription in Canada. Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, 1985.
  • Greer, Allan. The Patriots and the People: The Rebellion of 1837 in Rural Lower Canada. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1993.
  • Jaenen, Cornelius J. Friend and Foe: Aspects of French-Amerindian Cultural Contact in the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries. New York: Columbia University Press, 1976.
  • ________. The Role of the Church in New France. Ottawa: Canadian Historical Association, 1985.
  • Litalien, Raymonde and Vaugeois, Denis, eds. Champlain: The Birth of French America. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2004.
  • Ouellet, Fernand. Economy, Class and Nation in Quebec: Interpretive Essays. Ed. and tr. Jacques A. Barbier. Toronto: Thomson Nelson, 1997.
  • Ramirez, Bruno. On the Move: French-Canadian and Italian Migrants in the North Atlantic Economy, 1860-1914. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1991.
  • Rudin, Ronald. The Forgotten Quebecers: A History of English-speaking Quebec, 1759-1980. Québec: Institut québécois de recherché sur la culture, 1985.
  • Silver, A.I. The French-Canadian Idea of Confederation, 1864-1900. 2nd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997.
  • Trofimenkoff, Susan Mann. The Dream of Nation: A Social and Intellectual History of Quebec. Toronto: Gage Publishing, 1983.
  • Young, Brian. George-Etienne Cartier: Montreal Bourgeois. Kingston and Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1981.
  • Allison, Roland and Bradshaw, Michael. The Concept of French Canada in a Geographical Context. Plymouth, England: College of St. Mark and St. John, 1990.
Government and Politics
  • Allan, James P. and Vengroff, Richard. "The Changing Party System in Quebec: The 2003 Elections and Beyond." Québec Studies 37 (Spring/Summer 2004), pp. 3-22.
  • Cook, Ramsay, ed. French-Canadian Nationalism: An Anthology. Toronto: Macmillan, 1969.
  • Gagnon, Alain-G., ed. Québec: State and Society. 3rd ed. Peterborough, Ontario: Broadview Press, 2004.
  • Kwavnick, D., ed. The Tremblay Report: Report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry on Constitutional Problems. Carleton Library No. 64 (1973), pp. 106-118.
  • Lachapelle, Guy; Bernier, Gérald; Salée, Daniel; and Bernier, Luc. The Quebec Democracy: Structures, Processes and Policies. Toronto: McGraw-Hill Ryerson, 1993.
  • Lemco, Jonathan. Turmoil in the Peaceable Kingdom: The Quebec Sovereignty Movement and Its Implications for Canada and the United States. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1994.
Business and Economics
  • Lachapelle, Guy, ed. Quebec under Free Trade: Making Public Policy in North America. Québec: Presses de l'Université du Québec, 1995.
  • Norrie, Kenneth; Owram, Douglas; and Emery, J.C. Herbert. A History of the Canadian Economy. 3rd ed. Scarborough, Ontario: Thomson-Nelson, 2002.
  • Rudin, Ronald. In Whose Interest? Quebec's Caisses Populaires, 1900-1945. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1990.
  • Caldwell, Gary and Waddel, Eric, eds. The English of Quebec: From Majority to Minority Status. Québec: Institut québécois de recherche sur la culture, 1982.
  • Gagné, Gilles et Langlois, Simon. Les raisons fortes: Nature et signification de l'appui à la souveraineté du Québec. Montréal: Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 2002.
  • Piché, V. and LeBourdais, Céline, dir. La démographie québécoise: Enjeux du XXIe siècle. Montréal: Les Presses de l'Université de Montréal, 2003.
  • Rousseau, Mark O. "Ethnic Mobilization in Quebec, Federalism in Canada, and the Global Economy." Research in Social Movements, Conflicts and Change 21 (1999), pp. 205-223.
  • Fowke, Edith and Johnston, Richard. Folk Songs of Quebec = Chansons de Québec. 6th ed. Waterloo, Ontario: Waterloo Music, 1973.
  • Handling, Pier, ed. Self-Portrait: Essays on the Canadian and Quebec Cinemas. Trs. Marie-Claude Hecquet and Antoinette Vidal. Ottawa: Canadian Film Institute, 1980.
  • Weiss, Jonathan. French-Canadian Theater. Boston: Twayne Publisher, 1986.
  • Coulombe, Pierre. Language Rights in French Canada. New York: Peter Lang, 1995.
  • Levine, Marc. The Reconquest of Montreal: Language Policy and Social Change in a Bilingual City. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990.
  • Gilbert, Paula Ruth and Dufault, Roseanna Lewis, eds. Doing Gender: Franco-Canadian Women Writers of the 1990s. Madison, New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2001.
  • Glover, Douglas. Elle: A Novel. Fredericton, New Brunswick: Goose Lane Editions, 2003.
  • Magnan, Lucie-Marie et Morin, Christian. 100 pièces québécoises qu'il faut lire et voir. Québec: Éditions Nota Bene, 2002.
  • Richler, Mordecai. The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz. 1959; Toronto: Penguin, 1995.
  • ________. Oh Canada! Oh Quebec! Requiem for a Divided Country. Toronto: Penguin Books, 1992.
  • Shek, Ben Z. French-Canadian and Québécois Novels. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1991.
  • Tremblay, Roseline. L'Écrivain imaginaire: Essai sur le roman québécois, 1960-1995. Montréal: Hurtubise, 2004.
  • Vallières, Pierre. White Niggers of America. Tr. Joan Pinkham. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1971.
Native Studies
  • Noël, Michel. Native Peoples of Québec. Québec, Québec: Éditions Sylvain Harvey, 1997.

Questions, Comments, Suggestions?

If you would like more information about the Institute on Québec Studies at Plattsburgh State, please contact:

Christopher Kirkey, Ph.D.
Director, Institute on Québec Studies
Phone: (518) 564-2086
Fax: (518) 564-2112