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Gérard Bouchard Historian and sociologist

Gérard Bouchard was among the first members of CIFAR’s Successful Societies program. Most of his current research deals with issues related to politics of memory, the future of national cultures and identities, the social functions of myths, the management of ethnocultural diversity, and more generally the structure and functioning of collective imaginaries as informed by myths. He and Charles Taylor wrote the landmark 2008 Bouchard-Taylor report about reasonable accommodation of Quebec’s ethnic and religious minorities. He is also the founder of the BALSAC Project, created in 1971, with the goal of developing and exploiting a computerized population database covering the whole population of Québec from the 17th century to the present time, including population genetics and epidemiology information. In the 1990s, Prof. Bouchard initiated a new research program in the comparative history of new societies (or founding cultures). The objective was to study the formation of national identities and cultures in the New World (Americas, Australasia, some parts of Africa). The issues under investigation include: national myths, political emancipation, collective differentiation from the European mother countries, the growth of the State and of the national idea, the formation of collective imaginaries (identity, memory, utopia), the evolution of the relationship with the Natives, and other themes.


Appointed to the French Legion of Honour, 2002.

Canada Research Chair in Collective Imaginaries, 2002.

Gérard-Parizeau Prize for Québec History, 2001.

Literary Award, Governor General of Canada, for "Genèse des nations et cultures du Nouveau Monde: Essai d’histoire comparée", 2000.

Sir John A. MacDonald Prize awarded by the Canadian Historical Association for "Quelques Arpents d’Amérique. Population, économie, famille au Saguenay, 1838-1971", 1996.

Relevant Publications

G. Bouchard, "Pour une nouvelle sociologie des mythes sociaux : un repérage préliminaire", European Journal of Social Sciences, no 51-1, pp. 95-120, 2013.

G. Bouchard, “What is Interculturalism?”, McGill Law Journal/Revue de droit de McGill, vol. 56, no 2, pp. 435-468, 2011.

G. Bouchard, “L’imaginaire de la Grande Noirceur”, Recherches sociographiques, vol. XLVI, no. 3, p. 411-436, 2005.

G. Bouchard, "Economic Inequalities in Saguenay Society, 1879-1949 : a Descriptive Analysis", The Canadian Historical Review, vol. 79, no. 4, p. 660-690, 1998.

G. Bouchard, "La nation au singulier et au pluriel. L’avenir de la culture nationale comme “paradigme” de la société québécoise", Cahiers de recherche sociologique, no 25, p. 79-99, 1995.


G. Bouchard, Raison et déraison du mythe. Au cœur des imaginaires collectifs. Montréal, Boréal, 234 pages, 2014.

G. Bouchard, The Making of the Nations and Cultures of the New World. An Essay in Comparative History. Trans. Michelle Weinroth and Paul Leduc Browne. Montréal & Kingston, McGill Queen’s University Press, 448 pages, 2008.

G. Bouchard, La pensée impuissante : Échecs et mythes nationaux canadiens-français (1850-1960). Montreal, Boréal, 319 pages, 2004.



Advisor Successful Societies


Université du Québec à ChicoutimiDepartment of Human and Social Sciences


PhD (History) University of Paris

MA (Sociology) Laval University

B.A. (Arts) Collège de Jonquière

B.A. (Sociology) Université Laval Québec



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CIFAR Advisor Gérard Bouchard publishes new book

Gérard Bouchard, an advisor to CIFAR’s program in Successful Societies, has published a new book delving into the stories that...