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Title: Inhabiting New France : bodies, environment and the sacred, c.1632-c.1700
Author: Macdonald, Robin
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2015
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The historiography of colonial and ‘religious’ encounters in New France has tended to focus on encounters between human beings, between ‘colonisers’ and ‘colonised’ or ‘natives’ and ‘newcomers’. This thesis will focus on encounters between people and environment. Drawing on recent anthropology, notably the work of Tim Ingold, it will argue that whilst bodies shaped environment, environment also could shape bodies – and their associated religious practices. Through the examination of a broad variety of source materials – in particular, the Jesuit Relations – this thesis will explore the myriad ways in which the sacred was created and experienced between c.1632 and c.1700. Beginning with the ocean crossing to New France – an area largely unexplored in the historiographical literature – it will argue that right from the outset of a missionary’s journey, his or her practices were shaped by encounters with both humans and non-humans, by weather or the stormy Ocean Sea. Reciprocally, it will argue, missionary bodies and practices could shape these environments. Moving next to the mission terrain, it will analyse a variety spaces – both environmental and imaginary – tracing the slow build up of belief through habitual practices. Finally, it will chart the movement of missionaries and missionary correspondence from New France back to France. It was not only missionaries, it will argue, who could experience and shape the colony, but their correspondents and readers in France.
Supervisor: Ditchfield, Simon ; Jenner, Mark Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available