The Canadian Committee on Labour History is proud to award a prize for the best thesis on labour history written by undergratudate students.
Camille Blanchard-Séguin, « La participation ouvrière dans l’Institut canadien de Montréal en 1852 ». Thèse de premier cycle, Université d’Ottawa, 2016.
Camille Blanchard-Bégin's investigation provides insight into the reading culture of French Canadian workers in the 19th century. Using the 1852 records of the library of the Institut Canadien, Blanchard-Seguin discovers that between a fifth and a quarter of the library's members were identifiably working class. She has also discovered examples from the early years of the Institute in which workers participated in governing the institute through service as directors. Examining circulation records allows Blanchard-Bégin to show not just that workers used the library, but how they used it. Borrowing novels, works on religion and philosophy -- from Balzac to Rousseau -- the worker members of the Institute had diverse interests, but, also, clearly intellectual curiosity. Blanchard-Seguin's work in this well-executed study is an admirable first step in using library records to better understand the intellectual culture of French Canadian workers in the mid-19th century.
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