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Abstract

How has the image of the early feminist movement in Quebec been biased by modern ideas of feminism, and what ramifications does this have for how Canadian history is viewed and taught? Building upon current research by historian Micheline Dumont, this paper explores publications by several pioneering feminists of late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Quebec, measuring these primary sources against their portrayal in feminist historiography. Contrary to value judgments espoused by feminist historians who have tended to characterize the early feminist movement as “mild” and “maternal,” this paper argues that these women were in fact bold in their unique brand of feminism. As such, these findings aim to reorient the historiography of feminism in Canada, advocating for a multifaceted approach to feminist history which fully considers the lived experiences and cultural contexts of women of the past.

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