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spectacle of champlainArrow vol 9 no 1 contents
About borderlands VOLUME 9 NUMBER 1, 2010


The Spectacle of Champlain

Commemorating Québec

Darryl Leroux
University of Ottawa


This essay examines the process of foundation through which Samuel de Champlain's public image as the founder of Québec has been instituted both historically and during Québec City’s 400th anniversary commemorations in 2008. Through analyzing the official commemorative event, Rencontres, I demonstrate how Champlain's memory is deeply informed by spectacularized forms of politics. In particular, I argue that the Québec 400 places Champlain as the founder of a culturally diverse Québec by underlining the peaceful encounter between French colonizers and indigenous peoples. By relying on a strategy of familiarity that builds on the politics of spectacle and a semiotics of space, this discursive move solidifies the normative Québécois subject's ability to legitimately manage national space and define its own boundaries. I end by arguing that commemoration stands out as an important technique of the nationbuilding project in Québec.

The full article is available as a PDF document: click here.

© borderlands ejournal 2010



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ISSN 1447-0810