Quebec Studies

Editor's Note

Quebec Studies (1991), 12, (1), 0–1.


EDITOR'S NOTE Historians today are reconsidering the grounds on which Quebec history is discussed as well as the ideological assumptions that have framed traditional historiography. Likewise, the parameters and tools of historical research on Quebec culture and society are being reassessed in light of contemporary economic and cultural theories. The essays in our special focus on "Refiguring History / Rewriting the Past" reevaluate the history of Quebec from a number of vantage points. John Dickinson and Brian Young introduce this section with a reexamination of the periodization of Quebec history, placing their own emphasis on change in economic systems, social structures, cultural institutions, the legal system, gender relations, and demography rather than on constitutional developments and political events. In another overview of research practices, Andrée Lévesque offers a useful summary of contemporary feminist historiography, highlighting the primary subjects of inquiry in recent research on the history of Quebec women. Several essays in this section reexamine specific periods, places, and historical figures. In her essay on the autobiographical writings of missionary women in New France, Chantai Théry links letter writing to women's social adaptability and to their developing sense of cultural belonging in the new colony. Underscoring the continuing importance of landownership in nineteendvcentury Quebec, Daniel Salée argues that the transition to capitalism was not as clear-cut as earlier historical interpretations have suggested. And in his case study of the emergent francophone petty bourgeoisie of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, Pierre Anctil characterizes this Franco-American community as having close ties to its Quebec roots until well into the twentieth century. New views of history have prompted literary critics to explore the changing function of history in Quebec literature as well. In their respective essays on postmodernism and historiographie fiction, Marie Vautier and Jane Moss explore some of the ways in which history is decentered, reclaimed, and rewritten in contemporary Quebec fiction. In a similar vein, Lori Saint-Martin returns to the historical figure of die witch in women's writings of the 1970s in order to rethink the bases for the witch's power and the cultural implications of her perceived danger. This issue of Québec Studies contains a mini-dossier as well on the quarrel between the regionalists and the "exotiques." Essays by Annette Hayward, JeanGuy Hudon, and Esther Trepanier situate the grounds of the debate that polarized the literary and artistic worlds in Quebec in the early years of this century. Anne Brown's essay addresses the treatment of feminine archetyes in women's novels of the 1960s, while Katharine Gingrass compares surrealist views of the unconscious with dream work and gender politics in Kamouraska for a fresh reading of this contemporary classic. Raising questions of autobiography and representational structure, Alain-Napoléon Moffat discusses the first feature film of Claude Jutra. Finally, Robert Whelan concludes this issue with a study of the redevelopment policies pursued in Montreal since the 1960s. Due to the reemergence of the debate over Quebec's future political status, (Quebec Studies will devote the special focus section of volume 13 to this topic. Volume 14 will include a special section on "Cultural Pluralism in Quebec," and

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Author details

Gould, Karen