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In this search you can find faculty members in a particular area of research, or browse the wide variety of research happening at the U of M.

Our faculty members have maintained information about their research expertise and interests, current teaching areas and other activities. They manage their information from the My Research Tools (MRT) website. More information about MRT is available here.

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Kirouac Massicotte, Isabelle

Assistant Professor, French, Spanish and Italian



Keyword Discipline

Cultural Minorities


Franco-Canadian Literature


Hubert Aquin


indigenous literature


industry imaginary


Mine Imaginary




Popular Culture


Quebec Literature


Regional Literatures


Social Horror


trash aesthetic


Writers' Archives, Diaries and Notebooks


Research Description

My research focuses on different kinds of minorities, it is my desire to explore objects and subjects that are more or less overlooked in literary studies and to make visible what is generally unseen. My main field of research is the cultural study of minorities, which allows me to work on Canadian bodies of work written in French in a comparative approach (Québec, Ontario, Acadie, West and Indigenous literatures). In order to define this area of research, I focus on four research axis; 1) gender and sexual minorities, 2) Indigenous issues, 3) the imagined North and 4) the region in contemporary Québec, Indigenous and Franco-Canadian literatures.

All those four axes are reunited in the essay that I am currently preparing, provisionally titled Trash. Une esthétique des marges dans les littératures francophones du Canada. The first chapter is devoted to a theory of trash, which is more often than not reduced to a superficial label and its pejorative connotation. Trash is seldom conceptualized and theorized in Québec, Indigenous and Franco-Canadian literatures. In common language, trash means discarded matter, refuse, rubbish, waste or junk. It is also said of a person, or people regarded as being of very low social standing. But much more than a word, than an expression to devaluate something or someone, trash is a minority aesthetic. Trash is part of waste studies, a growing multidisciplinary field of study dedicated to the meaning of waste. As Susan Signe Morrison puts it, waste studies examine « waste as not automatically disgusting, harmful or morally offensive, but that both the materials of discards and their meanings are part of wider sociocultural-economic systems. Our task is to interrogate these systems for how waste comes to be, and our work is often to offer critical alternatives to popular and normative notions of waste » (2015 : 8). Trash, waste, rubbish, garbage, dirt are all terms used by waste studies researchers; however, my preference goes to trash, because it bears a more obvious provocative potential and it is already in use in Québec literary studies. I also chose the word trash because of the potential revaluation of the term. Just like the word queer, a revaluation of the term trash is possible and, as Judith Butler puts it, it « suggests that speech can be returned to its speaker in a different form, that it can be cited against its originary purposes, and perform a reversal of effects » (1997 : ePub). Trash is related to devaluation, misery, oblivion and devastation, but also to their opposite; trash is not only dysphoric, because its crudeness and its violence may lead to indignation and solidarity.

My next research project is titled Counter-Culture and Its Filiation in Indigenous, Franco-Canadian and Québécois Contemporary Literatures. With this research project, I seek to examine counter-culture and its filiation, a subject that is still emergent in French Canada literatures. According to Victor-Lévy Beaulieu, Québec is intrinsically and globally counter-cultural because of its cultural and linguistic minorization: it is no different for Acadie, French Ontario and French-speaking Indigenous communities. Studying counter-culture in its literary value, and not only as a historical phenomenon, will allow me to understand it over time and to determine what forms takes its heritage in contemporary literature. The main objective of my work is to find the literary patterns of counter-culture and its filiation in Indigenous, Acadian, Franco-Ontarian and Québécois literatures. The focus is on three key moments; the counter-cultural period (1970-1980), the 1990s and the 2000s, which can be seen as a transition period for counter-culture, and the period of extrême contemporain (2010-2025), a period that is characterized by the publication of many works showing a counter-cultural heritage, such as zines and poetry spectacles from the off-scene.

Teaching Description

I teach language (French) and literature courses (Québec, Acadie, Ontario, West and Indigenous). I regularly use popular culture in my classes, and I plan to create a class on Québec pop culture in the near future. Today, pop culture is often the common ground in the classroom and it can help to discuss issues and notions that can also be used in a literary analysis. I created a class on Québec national cinema in relation to Otherness (race, indigeneity, immigration, gender and sexual orientation). In my courses dedicated to francophone literatures of Canada, I always include Indigenous works written in French. I also teach entire courses about Indigenous literature. My teaching interests also include the imagined North, racism and colonialism in Québec and Franco-Canadian literatures. Even though most of my classes focus on different kinds of margins (gender, sex, race, class, regions, minority language, etc.), I am also interested in more canonical works, such as Hubert Aquin's novels. I enjoy teaching French language classes using various mediums like songs, news, documentaries, etc. I believe it is important to have a dynamic teaching style, particularly when it comes to language learning, because it can be really arid. I also think that it is necessary to expose the students to different French varieties and accents to underscore that there is not just one way to speak French. This is especially important in a minority context such as ours in Winnipeg.

Public/Media (Non-Technical) Description

I am interested in the works (literature, film and pop culture) from all French-speaking parts of Canada (Québec, Ontario, Acadie, West and Indigenous). My research and my teaching focus on different kinds of margins (gender, sex, class, race, regional, etc.).

My current research project is about trash as a minority aesthetic. More often than not, the word trash is used to devaluate a work, to mean that it is bad literature. The expression trash is also used to talk about violent, gore and pornographic works. Even though trash has to do with violence, horror and sex, the concept is much more complex than that. Since trash is matter out of place, something that is seen as valueless in the eyes of certain systems, my hypothesis is that trash is a minority aesthetic. This aesthetic depicts life at the margins of the systems that produce value: it is also a way to call the construction of value into question. Just like the word queer, trash is an insult, but an insult that can be reappropriated and transformed into the basis for revolt. Trash is not an analysis grid, it is a dynamic, a movement and a deconstruction of static categories. I am currently writing a book about the topic, titled Trash. Une esthétique des marges dans les littératures francophones du Canada.

My next project is titled Counter-Culture and Its Filiation in Indigenous, Franco-Canadian and Québécois Contemporary Literatures. The main objective of my work is to find literary patterns of counter-culture in Indigenous, Acadian, Franco-Ontarian and Québécois literatures. I will produce an analysis grid using the works from the counter-cultural period (1970-1980), which will be used to study works from the 1990s and the 2000s, that can be seen as a transition period for counter-culture, and from the extrême contemporain (2010-2025), which is, in my opinion, characterized by many works showing a counter-cultural heritage, such as zines and poetry spectacles from the off-scene. In addition to the published body of word from the three periods, I will establish and analyze a body of work composed of poetry performances from the off-scene and more marginal editions, such as zines, because counter-culture is to be found at the margins of the Institution. This project is innovative because it is dedicated to uncover the blind spots of counter-culture, more often than not associated with white men and, ironically, a literary canon, by including works of women, Indigenous people, and writers of French-speaking communities outside of Québec. There are few studies about the literary value of counter-culture in Québec, as Karim Larose and Frédéric Rondeau put it in La contre-culture au Québec (2016), but this scarcity is even greater in Indigenous, Acadian and Franco-Ontarian studies.


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