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Becoming Irish: How Irish Catholic Identity Was Performed and Changed in the St. Patrick’s Day Parades of Toronto and Montreal (1858 and 1866)

Title:

Becoming Irish: How Irish Catholic Identity Was Performed and Changed in the St. Patrick’s Day Parades of Toronto and Montreal (1858 and 1866)

Groarke, Helene-Jane (2018) Becoming Irish: How Irish Catholic Identity Was Performed and Changed in the St. Patrick’s Day Parades of Toronto and Montreal (1858 and 1866). Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

This thesis argues that by comparing the Toronto and Montreal St. Patrick’s Day parade of 1858 and 1866, it is possible to see how traditions were invented and changed in order to create distinct Irish Catholic identities. The comparison allows us to clearly see how the Toronto parade became more and more Irish nationalistic and secular, while Montreal’s Irish Catholic community used the tradition of parades to insert themselves more and more clearly in the city’s narrative by highlighting their Catholic and loyalist affiliations. Through a performance studies and ritual studies lens, the actions and symbols of the St. Patrick’s Day parade will be analysed to demonstrate that Toronto’s parades became increasingly nationalistic in tone between 1858 and 1866 to culminate in an open debate on the existence of the parade by the influential members of the Irish Catholic community whereas Montreal’s parade used the performances of the day to insert themselves, passively in 1858 and actively in 1866, into Montreal’s and Canada’s society. Looking at the discourses of the leaders in both cities as well as the newspaper coverage demonstrates the fluidity of an immigrant Irish Catholic identity which adapted to its social, geographical and historical contexts which was as dependent on dynamics within the community as it was with outside forces. This thesis contributes to the study of the experience of Irish immigration to Canada by providing an interdisciplinary work grounded in cultural history and strengthened by performance studies.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > History
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Groarke, Helene-Jane
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:Individualized Program
Date:12 July 2018
Thesis Supervisor(s):McGaughey, Jane and Lorenzkowski, Barbara and O'Toole, Emer
ID Code:984043
Deposited By: HELENE-JANE GROARKE
Deposited On:16 Nov 2018 15:21
Last Modified:16 Nov 2018 15:21
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