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French 3651

Québec Culture

What do expressions like pure laine, les filles du roi and le bas du fleuve refer to ? What kind of music do young Québécois listen to ? What kind of TV shows do they watch ? How is Québec different from Newfoundland ? And how are the two provinces similar ? Why is the French spoken in Québec different from the French spoken in France ? How did French-speaking people come to be in Canada in the first place ? What does Québec want anyway ?

These are the types of questions that French 3651, Québec Culture, attempts to answer. Many of our notions of Québec may be based on stereotypes which are either outdated or false. Such stereotypes can lead to misunderstanding, fear and animosity. This course attempts to foster a better understanding of Québec by an examination of its culture. "Culture" is a very broad term which includes anything which defines a society as distinct from other societies : its history and customs, its institutions and way of life. A culture is defined by space and time ; more specifically, Québec culture is the result of the transplantation of the culture of 17th century France in North America, and of its contact with the realities of its new geographic position : not just the physical geography of eastern North America, but also the other cultures with which it came into contact in its new home.

Course Content

French 3651 is a course on Québec culture as well as a third-year course in a programme of study of French as a second language (FSL). The course content is drawn from a broad range of topics which make up the notion of "culture." Some instructors may favour oral comprehension and expression as the modes of communication in the FSL component of the course. The course normally includes an overview of Québec linguistics (its roots in regional dialects of 17th century France, its evolution in the North American context and the resulting particularities of phonology and vocabulary). Where oral comprehension and expression are favoured, students may be asked to use this new knowledge of Québec linguistics by listening to radio and/or watching television regularly and reporting on this activity. The course may also include an introduction to Québec history, geography and toponymy and an overview of the makeup of contemporary Québec society, among other topics. A presentation of selected Québécois personalities and their contributions to the culture may be included. Some instructors may also include one or more complete novels as well as a number of shorter texts or excerpts of a historical, literary, journalistic or other nature.


15 credit hours in French at the 2000 level or permission of the Head of the Department.


The readings will vary from term to term and according to the instructor. In recent years, they have included La terre paternelle by Patrice Lacombe, Le libraire by Gérard Bessette, Le matou by Yves Beauchemin, La chasse-galerie by Honoré Beaugrand and a selection of shorter readings from works by Lionel Groulx, Louis-Joseph Papineau, Philippe Aubert de Gaspé and others.


This course normally includes a final exam and a variety of assignments throughout the term. These assignments may include short written papers, short oral presentations and a journal of radio listening and/or television viewing. Some instructors may also include a mid-term test. The relative weighting of the assessment components will vary according to the instructor.


French 3651 is normally offered in the Winter semester.

After 3651

The Department of French and Spanish also offers courses in French Culture (French 3650), French-Canadian Culture outside Québec (French 3653, 4400 and 4420) and Québec linguistics (French 4301 and 4310). Literature courses at the 3rd- and 4th-year levels often include works by Québécois authors and the Department will from time to time offer Special Topics courses on Culture (French 4651-4659).