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Meet Concordia's 2 new inductees to the Royal Society of Canada

Robert Tittler and Louis Patrick Leroux are honoured for their scholarship
September 13, 2017
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By Renée Dunk

Leroux’s research examines how the province of Quebec has redefined contemporary circus over the past 30 years. Leroux’s research examines how the province of Quebec has redefined circus over the past 30 years.


Two Concordians have been elected to the Royal Society of Canada.

On November 24, Robert Tittler, distinguished professor emeritus of history, will be inducted into the Academy of the Arts and Humanities. Louis Patrick Leroux, professor of both English and Études françaises, will join the College of New Scholars, Arts and Scientists.

“Acknowledgement of excellence from a pre-eminent organization like the Royal Society of Canada is extremely rewarding,” says Christophe Guy, vice-president of Research and Graduate Studies at Concordia.

“The consistent annual election of our researchers to the society speaks to the university’s leadership as a knowledge-creation institution in the arts, the humanities and the natural and social sciences,” he adds.

“It demonstrates that Concordians are contributing to society in very meaningful ways.”

Concordia is also an institutional sponsor of the college, which, Guy says, exemplifies the university's commitment to next-generation researchers.


Cataloguing art during the country’s Golden Age

History professor Robert Tittler spent his 35-year academic career at Loyola College, then Concordia — and the 12 years since he left full-time teaching — studying the Tudor and Elizabethan eras. The period of time marked by the English Renaissance, William Shakespeare and the English Reformation is often referred to as the Golden Age of British history. 

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In 2015, he published an authoritative reference containing biographical information on 2,578 English, Welsh, Scottish and Irish painters. The Excel spreadsheet database, “Early Modern British Painters, c. 1500–1640,” lives on Spectrum, the open access research repository run by Concordia’s libraries. It has gone through two subsequent editions — most recently in February, 2017 — and now includes well over 2600 entries.

Tittler has also made significant contributions to the study of early modern British art and architecture, working some of the time in collaboration with the U.K. National Portrait Gallery.

“This is a signal honour which reflects well on the Department of History as well as on Concordia,” says Norman Ingram, professor of history.

“Since retirement, Bob has published two books and 21 scholarly articles and essays, as well as bringing out a third edition of an earlier book. This is in addition to the eight books he had written before retiring from Concordia.”

Ingram points out that Tittler has a third new post-retirement book about to go to press, and that he was presented with a Festschrift — a volume of writings published in honour of a scholar — in 2007.

 “This means a lot to me,” says Tittler. “It is very gratifying to know that those distinguished historians who nominated and spoke for me, and the Royal Society of Canada itself, have acknowledged the importance of my field of British History, and my contributions to that field, at a time when it is often overlooked.

“I am particularly honoured to have been nominated by Daniel Woolf, professor of history, principal and vice-chancellor of Queen’s University and to have had the support of other eminent scholars from Yale, Cambridge, Toronto, and Dalhousie universities.”


Total immersion in circus culture

How are Canadian circuses — and more specifically, Quebec circus productions — re-inventing theatrical spectacles and big-top performances as we know them?

This is the central research question for Louis Patrick Leroux, professor of both English and Études françaises in the Faculty of Arts and Science

By immersing himself in circus dramaturgy and culture, and contributing to the development of a new field of study in North America along the way, Leroux has earned a top national honour — membership in the College of New Scholars, Artists and Scientists.

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“I’m deeply touched,” Leroux says. “This recognition is great for Concordia and an excellent opportunity to shed light on the emerging field of circus studies.”

“I’m especially excited about the fact that it’s an interdisciplinary college bringing together scholars, artists and scientists from across the country who are actively engaged in field-transforming research.”

A playwright, director and scholar, Leroux has spent much of his research career examining the creative process in theatre and circus, and how Quebec has developed a discourse on its own creativity and know-how through the performing arts.

He has mapped the emergence of spectacles that rely on acrobatic and performative exceptionalism, theatrical narrative, and a high-art allure that appeal to a broad audience. This has brought him to work closely on Cirque du Soleil and les 7 doigts de la main.

Leroux’s ongoing collaboration with the National Circus School of Montreal’s Canada Industrial Research Chair in Circus Arts has provided opportunities to study circus in new ways — from its creative process to its neglected history and, more recently, to its positive impact on physical literacy, creativity and resilience in children who practice it.

These research projects all involve graduate students, and draw international students to Concordia.


Read more about Robert Tittler’s
post-retirement work, Louis Patrick Leroux’s research on contemporary Quebec circus.

 



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