British Journal of Canadian Studies

'Mère, je vous hais!': Quebec Nationalism and the Legacy of the Family Paradigm in Pierre Vallières' Nègres blancs d'Amérique

British Journal of Canadian Studies (2007), 20, (2), 289–304.

Abstract

The gendered rhetoric of Quebec modern nationalism has come under recent scrutiny by political scientists who have questioned its equation of citizenship with a masculine universal (Lamoureux 2001). At the heart of this discourse of liberation is the desire on the part of the Québécois national subject, figured as castrated by Anglo-Canadian political and cultural domination, to leave the posture du fils (within a female-dominated single-parent family) and become a fully-fledged father-citizen. Central to this revolt is the rejection of the mother whose perceived close association with the church at a time of rapid modernisation and secularisation in Quebec society resulted in her embodying retrograde rural and religious values. This article traces the obsession with and denigration of the maternal figure in a key essay of the Quiet Revolution period: Pierre Vallières' Nègres blancs d'Amérique (1969). I call attention to the author's naturalisation of the public and private spheres and his inability to conceive of women as partners in the revolutionary struggle.

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Author details

Roberts, Katherine