Quand le Canada partait en croisade : de la réalité au mythe des zouaves pontificaux canadiens, 1868-1941

Authors: Bouchard-Tremblay, Mathieu
Advisor: Charles, Aline
Abstract: Between the years 1868 and 1870, just over five hundred French Canadians volunteered in the Regiment of the Pontifical Zouaves. Nevertheless, the 20th September 1870, Rome, the capital of the Papal States, fell to the army of the young Kingdom of Italy. The next day, the Papal army was disbanded and the return of all the international volunteers was organised. Albeit militarily ineffective, the expedition of the Canadian Zouaves acquired a mythic dimension in the collective imaginary, the memory of which was perpetuated by an associative movement founded by the veterans themselves and which was still active by the end of the 20th century. This Master thesis investigates the evolution of this Zouave myth and movement from 1868 to 1941. It relies on the theory developed by Gérard Bouchard according to which the myth, as a form of collective representation producer of meaning, is fundamentally imbedded in social relations and practices. Indeed, the Zouave myth was inseparable of the associative movement that conveyed it and into which it developed. Inversely, the myth contributed to shaping the movement by giving it meaning. In this regard, the idealistic figure of the Pontifical Zouave – i.e. the one conveyed by the myth – was always articulated between five axiomatic characteristics: religiosity, nationalism, masculinity, youth and militarism. The associative movement was built upon the same characteristics: it was a paramilitary movement formed of more or less young men dedicated to serving the Church and the Nation. Thereby a dialectic relation is profiling between the myth and the praxis, where one tends toward the other and conversely, bringing its lot of reciprocal influences and contradictions.
Document Type: Mémoire de maîtrise
Issue Date: 2019
Open Access Date: 10 January 2020
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/37746
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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