When studying for a doctoral degree (PhD), candidates submit a thesis that provides a critical review of the current state of knowledge of the thesis subject as well as the student’s own contributions to the subject. The distinguishing criterion of doctoral graduate research is a significant and original contribution to knowledge.
Once accepted, the candidate presents the thesis orally. This oral exam is open to the public.
As one of the principal European ethnic groups to populate Montreal in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, the Irish have left an indelible imprint on the city’s history, culture and landscape. In carving out a space for themselves in a city which they shared with French-Canadians, English, and Scots, the Montreal Irish relied on the establishment and maintenance of cultural territories, such as Irish parishes and Saint Patrick’s Day parades. Tautologically, these cultural markers of Irishness were once safeguarded by Irish people and by their immediate descendants. However, as Montreal’s Irish population became absorbed into Canadian and Québécois culture over the course of the twentieth century, an increasing number of non-Irish people adopted certain elements of Irish culture, to the point of becoming primary custodians for certain dimensions of Irish culture in Montreal.
This dissertation explores the evolution of one dimension of Irish culture - Irish traditional music – in Montreal from 1970 to 2018. It maps the development of the city’s Irish soundscape and explores the social and cultural forces – local and global – that created this vibrant yet precarious milieu. These include: the acculturation – or ethnic fade – of Irish communities in Canada, Quebec, and Montreal, the privileged place of Ireland and the Irish in Québécois culture, the global flow of commodified forms of Irish culture, and the complex interplay of tradition and innovation in Irish traditional music.