Michel Bock

E-Card

Michel Bock
Professor and holder of the Research Chair on the French Ontario, French Canada and the Identity Issue

Bureau: 613-562-5800 ext. 1304

Courriel professionnel: mbock@uOttawa.ca

Photo Michel Bock

Biography

French Ontario, French Canada and the Identity Issue

Faculty of Arts
Department of History

This research will make it possible to identify and study some of the major issues that emerged in francophone Ontario and in French Canada as a whole during the 20th century, particularly in terms of the development of community-based representative structures.

Research Focus

  • Changes in intellectual, political and cultural relations between Quebec and the Francophone minorities in other parts of Canada
  • The role of intellectual and political elites, as well as of social movements, in constructing French Canada's identity
  • The role of pluralism, individualism and memory in constructing the identity of French Ontario and French Canada

Research Relevance

Situated at the intersection of intellectual, political and social history, this research will make it possible to identify and study some of the major issues that emerged in francophone Ontario and in French Canada as a whole during the 20th century, particularly in terms of the development of community-based representative structures.

Nation, ethnic group or linguistic group? French Ontario, French Canada and the identity issue

Many researchers share the view that French Canada, as a nationalistic political enterprise came to an end in the 1960s during the Quiet Revolution in Quebec and the modernization of the French-language minorities in the other provinces. While the few studies dealing with the issue of relations between these minorities and Quebec after this period often identify in the former feelings of distrust, lack of understanding, and even hostility vis-à-vis the latter, we need to ask ourselves: what exactly is the true situation, how did these minorities' evolving relations with Quebec affect the way in which they defined their own identity and can the identity that they developed, after the goal of creating a national French-Canadian space was dropped, still claim to be "national" or is it rather condemned to be limited to its ethnic and linguistic dimensions (in the strict sense of the words)? What kind of relationship are the francophone minorities outside Quebec now seeking to cultivate with Quebec, the historical homeland of French culture in Canada, which has nevertheless shelved the enterprise of French-Canadian nationalism? And what is these communities' position vis-à-vis the provincial governments, which, with the federal government, have become increasingly involved in developing networks of these communities' associations and institutions?

With a particular focus on the case of French Ontario, this research will analyse the impact of the intellectual, political, social and economic upheavals of the second half of the 20th century on (de)constructing the identity of Canada's French-language minorities outside Quebec. The analytical framework for this research will consist of the following parameters: the relative position of French Ontario in French Canada as a whole; the consequences of the secularization of French-Canadian society at the level of community structures and other representative forms; development of the internal dynamics of the network of franco-Ontarian associations and this network's relationships with government bodies; specific regional identities in French Ontario; and the ethnocultural diversity of Ontario's francophones.

Awards and Accomplishments

  • Governor General's Literary Awards (2005)
  • Michel Brunet Prize (2005)
  • Champlain literary award (2005)
  • Medal from the Quebec National Assembly (2005) 
Back to top