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"Becoming a 'Villa Girl': Youth Culture and the Student Experience at a Single Sex Private School in Montreal, 1916-1980"

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"Becoming a 'Villa Girl': Youth Culture and the Student Experience at a Single Sex Private School in Montreal, 1916-1980"

Moore, Lisa (2015) "Becoming a 'Villa Girl': Youth Culture and the Student Experience at a Single Sex Private School in Montreal, 1916-1980". Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Historians have often characterized Catholic private schools for girls exclusively as privileged, homogenous, and strictly regulated institutions that provide little insight into the lived experiences of female adolescents. The following study aims to challenge this perception by providing a microhistorical analysis of the youth culture that thrived at Villa Maria, an all-girls private school in Montreal, from 1916 to 1980. While the private school is acknowledged as a socializing force that influenced students’ development, this examination demonstrates that teenage girls actively produced meaningful adolescent experiences within institutional settings. Far from assuming positions of passivity, students at Villa Maria played an important role in shaping and transforming their school. More specifically, this study illustrates the ways in which students borrowed from the normative messages of their superiors, from popular culture, and even from broader social changes occurring within Quebec society to produce a youth culture that reflected their age-based needs and desires and that often challenged institutional values. By foregrounding Villa girls’ daily rituals and activities as the foundational basis of this youth culture, this study also tests conventional notions of historical agency, which have largely excluded young women as historical actors. Through its investigation of the student experience at Villa Maria during the twentieth century, this analysis questions established understandings of private schools and calls for the reconsideration of educational institutions as spaces for observing female adolescent agency.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Moore, Lisa
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:History
Date:19 January 2015
ID Code:979658
Deposited By: LISA MOORE
Deposited On:09 Jul 2015 14:45
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:49
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