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A Nation Beyond Borders

A Nation Beyond Borders: Lionel Groulx on French-Canadian Minorities

Michel Bock
Translated by Ferdinanda Van Gennip
Copyright Date: 2014
Pages: 282
  • Book Info
    A Nation Beyond Borders
    Book Description:

    Recipient of the 2005 Governor General's Literary Award in non-fiction,Quand la nation débordait les frontièresis considered the most comprehensive analysis of Lionel Groulx's work and vision as an intellectual leader of a nationalist school that extended well beyond the borders of Québec.

    For over five decades, historians and intellectuals have defined the nationalist discourse primarily in territorial terms. In this regard, Groulx has been portrayed-more often than not-as the architect of Québecois nationalism. Translated by Ferdinanda Van Gennip,A Nation Beyond Borderswill continue to spark debate on Groulx's description of the parameters of the French-Canadian nation. Highlighting the often neglected role of French-Canadian minorities in his thought, this book presents the Canon as an uncompromising advocate of solidarity between all French-Canadian communities.

    eISBN: 978-0-7766-2157-9
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science, History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. ii-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vii)
  3. Translator’s Note
    (pp. ix-ix)
    Ferdinanda Van Gennip
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
    Michel Bock
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-11)

    “The dominant fact about French life in America, during the past century, is without a doubt that it became dispersed. French Canada can no longer be defined as a geographical expression limited by the borders of Québec.”¹ Those were the parameters used by Lionel Groulx in 1935 to describe the French-Canadian nation. This small excerpt from his vast study on the French minority schools, written while he was at the peak of his influence, alone reveals a major aspect of Abbé Groulx’s nationalist doctrine. The priest, who later became Canon Groulx, was the nationalist school’s intellectual leader from the 1920s...

  6. Chapter One The French Minorities in the Work and Thought of Lionel Groulx: The Blind Spot of Historians of French-Canadian Nationalism
    (pp. 13-50)

    The French-Canadian national identity issue is one that historians rarely seem to tire of. There is in our historiography—from François-Xavier Garneau to Gérard Bouchard, including Fernand Dumont and, of course, Lionel Groulx—a tradition which, despite different interpretive and methodological frameworks, makes the nation one of our preferred subjects of study. Is this just the normal reflex of a minority afloat in a vast Anglo-Saxon sea, anxious about its own precarious state? A partial explanation, no doubt, but a passion for national history has evidently not been the preserve of French Canada alone.

    Immediately after the Second World War,...

  7. Chapter Two The French Minorities, Remnant of an Empire: French Canada, Its Apostolic Vocation and Founding Mission
    (pp. 51-94)

    We have observed, in the preceding chapter, that the vast majority of historians of French-Canadian nationalism and of Lionel Groulx’s thought tend to ignore the issue of the French minorities. The theory of “provincialism,” first proposed in the 1950s, has only in the last twenty years been seriously contested. Many historians misunderstood the ideology developed by Lionel Groulx because they exaggerated the importance he gave to the territorial factor in his definition of the French-Canadian nation. They very often transposed the paradigm of the “Québécois” nation into French Canada’s past. This was a common paradigm in French-Canadian political and intellectual...

  8. Chapter Three Québec and Its Relationship to the French Minorities: The Ties That Bind
    (pp. 95-131)

    Lionel Groulx regarded the French-Canadian nation as an organic entity or a “being” whose emergence, willed by Providence, dated back to the era of New France. As such, the national organism continued to evolve, grow and develop. Groulx’s view was that the English Protestant majority had not been able to contain it, despite their repeated offensives against the two key foundations of the French “race” in America, namely, the Catholic faith and French culture. The schools crises in Acadia, in the Canadian West and in Ontario were eloquent testimonies to this. However, in the mind of Abbé Groulx, the legislative,...

  9. Chapter Four The Franco-Ontarians and Regulation 17: The Awakening of the Nation
    (pp. 133-178)

    The Regulation 17 crisis (1912–1927) is considered even today as a foundational event for the Franco-Ontarian¹ identity. In fact, it was during those years of conflict that some of the most important Franco-Ontarian institutions were born, the Association canadienne-française d’éducation d’Ontario (ACFEO) and the daily,Le Droit, among them. The French Canadians of Ontario thus provided themselves with a common voice for their struggle against the assimilating policies of the Ontario government. By virtually prohibiting the use of French in the schools, the provincial government was able to garner the support of the Anglo-Protestant extremists (found principally in the...

  10. Chapter Five The French Minorities and the “French State”: The Indépendantiste Theory During the Interwar Period
    (pp. 179-208)

    To what extent did Abbé Groulx contribute to pushing the French-Canadian nationalist movement towardindépendantismeor, at least, a more territorial version of nationalism that limited itself to Québec and excluded the French minorities in the other provinces? The minorities, as we have demonstrated, occupied an important place in his historical and polemical work. Groulx was in frequent communication with several of their leading thinkers and had adopted their cause, which was, in his view, that of all French Canadians. This did not, however, prevent certain of his contemporaries from watching him closely and accusing him of “provincialism” and even...

  11. Chapter Six From the Second World War to the Quiet Revolution: Lionel Groulx, the French Minorities and Québécois Neo-Nationalism (1945–1967)
    (pp. 209-250)

    Historians of French Canada generally consider the postwar years as a period of extraordinary transformation. Impelled by the young intellectuals of the 1940s and 1950s, the nationalist movement sought to “modernize” the French-Canadian nation. It wanted to see the nation reconciled with the new industrial and urban realities, with the consumer society that, after the war, had begun to expand considerably. At the same time, nationalist discourse centred on Québec, to the great displeasure of the French minorities, who saw themselves being excluded from this rebuilding of the national identity. On a great many questions, breaks with Lionel Groulx’s thought...

  12. Conclusion
    (pp. 251-258)

    The political and ideological upheavals of the postwar period and the Quiet Revolution in Quebec, provoked a mixed reaction from Lionel Groulx. On the one hand, he applauded the ever-increasing numbers in the French-Canadian political class supporting nationalism (especially with regard to the economy). On the other hand, he watched as a helpless bystander while part of the nationalist doctrine he himself had helped formulate over many decades faded away. The postwar neo-nationalist movement was losing its way, as far as he was concerned, by affirming Québec at the expense of part of its cultural and religious heritage and by...

  13. Selected Bibliography
    (pp. 259-270)
  14. Index
    (pp. 271-277)
  15. Back Matter
    (pp. 278-278)