Montreal: Colonization, Urbanization, Migration
103B :  Language and Culture
Spring 2022
Class No: 24462
241 Cory
Will Burton

Like those in any North American city, Montreal’s writers and filmmakers have long found in colonisation, urbanisation, and migration both artistic inspiration and an aesthetic challenge. But Montreal’s status as the second-largest French-speaking city in the world has also produced a distinctive political and artistic culture in comparison to the continent’s other metropolises. In this course, we will read and watch works from the past century or so that grapple with the city’s double identity. Our material is grouped into four categories: (1) francophone settlers’ efforts to construct a uniquely North American voice; (2) the social, moral and economic dislocations and changes caused by North American-style industrialisation; (3) Indigenous resistance to colonisation in and around Montreal; and (4) migration to the city in the wake of slavery and war in the francophone world.


Students must have either previously completed French 102 or its equivalent, or be concurrently enrolled in French 102. For additional placement information please see Placement Guidelines.

Tentative list of works to be studied in whole or in part:

Berthelot Brunet, Les Hypocrites (roman) (extraits)
François Girard, Hochelaga, terre des âmes (film de fiction)
Dany Laferrière, Comment faire l’amour avec un n— sans se fatiguer (roman)
Émile Nelligan, Poésies (sélections)
Alanis Obomsawin, Kanehsatake, 270 ans de résistance (film documentaire)
Gabrielle Roy, Bonheur d’occasion (roman) (extraits)
Sherry Simon, L’Hybridité culturelle (essai)
Michel Tremblay, Les Belles-Sœurs (pièce de théâtre)


Image: Gabor Szilasi, Club Supersexe et cinéma Palace, 696-698, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, Montréal, 1979