In exploring the dynamics of religion and society among the anglophone Protestant minority in the Eastern Townships, Little employs the methodology of microhistory, an examination of select personal papers such as letters, diaries, and personal accounts. At its best, microhistory intimately dissects societal trends and practices, revealing the implications of historical 'interrelationships in constant movement within configurations that are in constant adaptation.
Fortunately, The Other Quebec is an excellent source of microhistory, demonstrating the varieties and vagaries of religious experience in the nineteenth century, and how Protestant religion emerged as a crucial social force in the Eastern Townships. The first half of the collection cuts across class and gender lines, and scrutinizes both the private and public religiosity of four families and how their religious practices and beliefs contributed to the fostering of domestic piety, class identity, gender formation, and economic behaviour.
The reader is first introduced to the millenarian world of Ralph Merry, an itinerant tinware peddler, occasional farmer, and religious ecstatic. What emerges from this portrait of a religious radical is how popular religion and visionary quasi-mysticism differed completely from institutionalized belief systems of the Protestant churches in the district.
The writings of Anglican clergyman James Reid and the diary of gentlewoman Lucy Peel emphasize the primacy of male domesticity and piety in the Christian home, along with a more public and cultured sociability of women than was previously imagined. Marguerite Van Die's article on the Colby family reveals that the post-Rebellion ascension of liberal-capitalism, with its industrial and commercial development and the discipline of the embryonic state, was not always a smooth transition, and religion became the anchor in a world of shifting economic, cultural, and social values.
Thus, Charles Colby's moral leadership in the family and his commercial [End Page ] theology became intrinsically interwoven in the complete Christian life. The thematic elements in the second half of the collection are more institutional, although religion remains an underlying focal point in all four articles.
Essays on Eastern Township temperance societies and on noted school inspector Marcus Child illustrate that social reform was not always an imposition stemming from ruling elites. Rather, Child often utilized persuasion and negotiation, rather than coercion, in furthering school reform among his agricultural constituency, a process duplicated by clergy-inspired temperance societies. Little therefore concludes that, at the local level at least, the forces of 'state formation and religious motivation were far from antithetical' However, as the century progressed, the forces of liberal modernity and religion would tend to collide, and the resulting conflict produced fascinating social dynamics in rural communities in transition.
Little's study of Adventist camp meetings Project MUSE promotes the creation and dissemination of essential humanities and social science resources through collaboration with libraries, publishers, and scholars worldwide. In The Other Quebec , J. Little - one of the foremost scholars on the Eastern Townships and on rural society in Canada - assembles seven of his essays and one by Marguerite Van Die on this unique region into one volume. The collection examines the role and influence of religion in the Eastern Townships.
Little uses a microhistorical method, focusing on individuals who left behind informative and revealing diaries or personal letters, including those of a religious ecstatic, an Anglican clergyman, a genteel Englishwoman, and an entrepreneur. Through intimate glimpses into the lives of ordinary people, The Other Quebec explores some of the complex ways that religious institutions and beliefs affected the rural societies in which the majority of Canadians still lived in the nineteenth century.
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The collection examines the role and influence of religion in the Eastern Townships. Little uses a microhistorical method, focusing on individuals who left behind informative and revealing diaries or personal letters, including those of a religious ecstatic, an Anglican clergyman, a genteel Englishwoman, and an entrepreneur. Through intimate glimpses into the lives of ordinary people, The Other Quebec explores some of the complex ways that religious institutions and beliefs affected the rural societies in which the majority of Canadians still lived in the nineteenth century.
Little provides an intimate look at both a time and a place of singular importance and unique character in Canadian history. Jack Little.