Authorized to supervise theses. and Full Professor, Department of History

1980 – PhD in Social Anthropology, New School for Social Research, New York
1975 – Maîtrise en anthropologie sociale, Université Laval
1973 – Baccalauréat en géographie, Université Laval

Desmarais Building
55 Laurier Avenue East, Room 9125
Office Hours: Tuesday 10:30 - 12:00

Office: 613-562-5800 ext. 1289

Work E-mail: panctil@uOttawa.ca

Pierre Anctil



Areas of Specialization

  • Domain: Social History; Political History; History of Immigration; Comparative History
  • Geographical Concentration: Canada; Europe; Middle East
  • Chronological Focus: Contemporary Period


Biographic Profile

Pierre Anctil is a full professor at the department of history at the University of Ottawa since 2004. He was the director of the Institute of Canadian Studies from 2004 to 2008, when he obtained a Killam fellowship from the Canada Council of Arts for a period of two years. Pierre Anctil is one of the first francophone researchers that developed an interest in the history of immigration in Canada during the period of the first half of the twentieth century, a field in which he has been active for more than thirty years. His goal has been to account for the richness of the cultural interaction between the Canadian population and newcomers. To understand the perception of the immigrants and their experience inside their adopted country, he has used the methods of social anthropology and history. He has paid particular attention to the cultural and literary production of the Jewish East European populations that arrived in Canada during the great migration wave of 1905-1914.

To gain access to the many contributions made by immigrant communities, he has learned Yiddish and Hebrew, and spent large amounts of time in the archives of Canadian Jewish organizations. He has also worked in the archives of the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research in New York and in the National Library of Israel in Jerusalem. Pierre Anctil’s main contribution has been to study Yiddish literary culture in Canada and to translate many for the first time into French. He is a member since 2012 of the Royal Society of Canada and has received in 2014 the Canada Prize in the humanities of the Federation for the Humanities and the Social Sciences, for his biography entitled: Jacob-Isaac Segal (1896-1954), un poète yiddish de Montréal et son milieu. In 2015 he was awarded the Louis Rosenberg Canadian Jewish Studies Distinguished Service Award by the Association of Canadian Jewish Studies. 

Ongoing Research

  • A history of Le Devoir newspaper through its editorials over the period 1910-1963, mainly as a means to understand the evolution of political ideologies inside Canada / Québec. Three volumes have appeared in 2010-2013 for the periods associated with Henri Bourassa (1910-1932), Georges Pelletier (1932-1947) and Gérard Filion (1947-1963) (Éditions du Septentrion). One last volume appeared in the Fall of 2014 under the title: À chacun ses Juifs. 60 éditoriaux pour comprendre la position du Devoir à l’égard des Juifs(1910-1947).
  • A history of the Jews of Québec City for the period 1600 to 2000, following an exhibit on this subject that took place in 2008. The finished book, written by several authors, will appear in 2015.
  • Co-researcher for an Insight grant from the SSHRC (2012-2017) for a project entitled: « La presse montréalaise de l’entre-deux-guerres, lieu de transformation de la vie culturelle et de l’espace public ». Pierre Anctil will explore the Yiddish press of Montreal.
  • Co-researcher for a SSHRC Partnership Development grant from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (2012-2014) for a project entitled : « Vers une ville interculturelle, problématiques, pratiques et expertises ». Pierre Anctil will supervise the historical dimensions of this research project.


Select Publications


Awards and achievements

  • Killam fellowship of the Canada Council of Arts for 2008-2010 for a research project entitled: “Parcours migrant, parcours littéraire canadien, le poète yiddish Jacob-Isaac Segal”.
  • 2014 Canada Prize for the best French language book in the Social Sciences from the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, for Jacob-Isaac Segal (1896-1954), un poète yiddish de Montréal et son milieu, Québec, (Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2012»).
  • Winner of the Luc-Lacoursière medal, awarded every two years by the Centre interuniversitaire d’études sur les lettres, les arts et les traditions (CELAT) for the best ethnographic study published in the French language in North America. The medal was for Jacob-Isaac Segal (1896-1954), un poète yiddish de Montréal et son milieu (Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2012).
  • Winner of the Helen and Stan Vine Canadian Jewish Book Award (Yiddish studies section) given by the Koffler Center for the Arts, Toronto, for the book entitled Jacob-Isaac Segal (1896-1954), un poète yiddish de Montréal et son milieu (Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2012).
  • Member of the Royal Society of Canada in 2012
  • Guest professor in 2012 at the Halbert Center for Canadian Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
  • Winner of the Jacob-Isaac Segal award (for a book in French on a Jewish theme) given by the Jewish Public Library of Montreal for Trajectoires juives au Québec (Les Presses de l’Université Laval, 2010).
  • Winner of the Jacob-Isaac Segal award (in the field of translation) given by the Jewish Public Library of Montreal for a translation from Yiddish to French of a book by Sholem Shtern entitled Shrayber vos ikh hob gekent : esayn un memuarn / Nostalgie et tristesse : mémoires littéraires du Montréal yiddish (Éditions du Noroît, 2006).

Fields of Interest

  • Jewish History in Montreal
  • Yiddish literature in Montreal
  • History of Immigration in Canada
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