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Language, Schooling, and Cultural Conflict

Language, Schooling, and Cultural Conflict: The Origins of the French-Language Controversy in Ontario

Copyright Date: 1987
Pages: 272
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  • Book Info
    Language, Schooling, and Cultural Conflict
    Book Description:


    eISBN: 978-0-7735-6136-6
    Subjects: Education

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-vii)
  3. Tables
    (pp. viii-x)
  4. Figures
    (pp. xi-xii)
  5. Preface
    (pp. xiii-2)
  6. Prologue
    (pp. 3-3)
    Oliver Mowat

    The Prescott and Russell schools are the nurseries not merely of an alien tongue but of alien customs, of alien sentiments, and, we say it without offence, of a wholly alien people ... The systemn in vogue in the schools renders it quite impossible for the young to rise above the intellectual level of the average Lower Canadianhabitant; and if it be allowed to continue, the Eastern part of Ontario, into which the French are steadily marching, is doomed before many years to be as dark a spot on the map of intelligence, as any portion of Quebec.


  7. CHAPTER ONE Ryerson, Ross, and the Concept of Voluntary Assimilation
    (pp. 5-30)

    In the past fifteen years, the history of education in Ontario has attracted enormous interest among historians. The result has been a great number of journal articles and books involving heated theoretical and methodological debates. Surprisingly, however, social historians have given the history of non-English-language schooling very little attention. This neglect is the result of several factors. Social historians have focused on cities;¹ almost all non-English-language schools were in small towns and rural areas. Moreover, recent historians of education have stressed that the Ontario school system, as it was established in the nineteenth century, adopted the cultural character of generalized...

  8. CHAPTER TWO “Invaders” and “Fugitives,” or Families in Motion?
    (pp. 31-61)

    The position of minority-language education is always debated most vehemently when population patterns are changing. Shifting levels of majority and minority status have a dramatic impact on the ways in which policymakers, journalists, and the public at large define the educational implications of diversity. Historians have long recognized this relationship, and, in the case of Ontario, many studies point out that during the period of intense controversy in the 1880s, the proportion of francophones was rapidly increasing, especially in the eastern corner of the province, and that the contemporary perception of massive francophone immigration was central to the concern of...

  9. CHAPTER THREE Farms, Forests, and Family Economies
    (pp. 62-98)

    A crucial result of the population patterns we saw in the last chapter was that firm demographic foundations supported both the minority anglophones and the majority francophones of Prescott County in their pursuit of social, economic, and political ambitions in the later part of the century. The question of identity and thus schooling emerged at the core of these local ambitions. To understand the context of this process, we must next examine the changing economy of Prescott County.

    The engine of the Ottawa Valley economy in the nineteenth century was the forest industry. In the first years of the century,...

  10. CHAPTER FOUR Language and the Social Structure of Schooling
    (pp. 99-130)

    Demographic and economic change in Prescott County during the second half of the nineteenth century formed the context of controversy about minority-language education. In the period from the 1840s to the early 1870s, the anglophone population generally formed more mature communities than did the francophone, as a result of the former’s earlier settlement and, in some cases, more advantaged backgrounds. Meanwhile, heavy immigration from Quebec led to French Canadians’ assuming a numerically dominant position in areas such as in Alfred Township, but in other areas, such as Cale- donia Township, the anglophone population remained better established. This complexity raises questions...

  11. CHAPTER FIVE Quatre fantômes et la foule: The Politics of Cultural Conflict
    (pp. 131-152)

    Political studies of minority-language education usually narrate the major electoral campaigns in which the school question has been a focus of debate. Historians have carefully reconstructed the chronology of discussion of, for example, the Ontario elections of 1890 and the federal election of 1896, in which the Manitoba school question attracted national attention.¹ These histories are valuable, but they limit our understanding of minority-language educationn in three ways. First, they assign an episodic quality to the language question, rather than portraying it as an ongoing issue in the evolution of certain communities. Political studies which emphasize particular elections deny a...

  12. CHAPTER SIX Parishioners, the Catholic Church, and Separate Schools
    (pp. 153-179)

    In 1971, Jean-Pierre Wallot summarized the established conclusions of historical research on the relationship of the Catholic Church to French Canadians. Wallot perceived two quite contradictory interpretations in which French Canadians were treated as either

    [a] devout, obedient, pastoral, and God-fearing people, entrenched behind parish and family life, endowed with the noble mission of permeating materialistic Anglo-Saxon America with spiritual values; or a traditional, semifeudal, ignorant, priest-ridden, and backward people, impervious to change and sealed to the outside world for two centuries until a grudging acceptance of industrialization unleashed the “Quiet Revolution.”¹

    These interpretations presented different images of French Canadians...

  13. CHAPTER SEVEN Cultural Fission in Prescott County
    (pp. 180-189)

    Can official policies actually change attitudes and behaviour? Canadian policymakers, to say nothing of historians, have rarely even considered this question. Rather, they have assumed their own ability to control and change, sometimes through force but more often through argument and then legislation. This study of Prescott County documents the folly of this assumption, at least with respect to the language-of-instruction issue in the nineteenth century. The evidence emphasizes the importance of understanding the circumstances within which official educational policies can and cannot be effective. As N. Ray Hiner recently argued, “Any educator who assumes it is possible to gain...

  14. Appendix
    (pp. 190-192)
  15. Notes
    (pp. 193-238)
  16. Index
    (pp. 239-249)