Quebec Studies

Le base ball, Assimilation, and Ethnic Identity: The National Pastime in Franco-America

Quebec Studies (2018), 66, (1), 49–75.

Abstract

This article explores the meaning of baseball in areas of New England where immigrants of French-Canadian descent settled permanently. It examines representations of the sport in the French-language press of Massachusetts, notably to demonstrate how the game both affirmed the assimilation of a working-class, Catholic, and culturally French-Canadian group, as well as helped to articulate its distinct Franco-American identity. One does not typically think of baseball being played in French or as an expression of French sporting prowess in the United States or in Canada. While people of French heritage in North America have struggled with the historical trauma of loss and defeat since the British Conquest, athletic confrontation in the contemporary arena, symbolizing the rivalry that played out over several centuries in the Atlantic world, has provided regular opportunities to measure success.

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Gosnell, Jonathan