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Élise Lepage

Associate Professor | Associate Chair, Graduate Studies

519-888-4567 x33593
Office: ML 330

  • Licence Lettres modernes - Littérature générale et comparée, Université Stendhal – Grenoble 3, 2003
  • Master 2 Langue et littérature françaises, Université Lumière – Lyon 2, 2005
  • PhD French Studies, University of British Columbia, 2010


My interest in places, landscapes, and distances is linked to the various locations I have lived in. I grew up in the beautiful French Alps where I completed my undergraduate studies and my first research project in comparative literature. The project for my “Maîtrise” focused on the representation of family in novels by William Faulkner, Claude Simon, and Birgit Vanderbeke. I first came to Canada as an exchange student at Queens’ University (Kingston, Ontario). It is through this experience that I discovered Québec literature and developed my passion for it. I went back to France, in Lyon this time, to undertake a Master thesis on the construction of identity and alterity in the marginal places where Louis Hamelin set most of his early novels. I then moved to Vancouver to complete a PhD in contemporary Québec literature, questioning more broadly the representation of marginal places in novels, poems, and essays. My first position as Assistant Professor was at Université Saint-Boniface, in the French community of Winnipeg. During my year in Winnipeg, my interest for francophone minorities in Canada started to translate in research publications. Currently working at the University of Waterloo, I continue to teach and research in the two fields of Québec and francophone minorities studies. Some of the key concepts that I reflect on are the transformation of landscapes, the dynamics of regions, conservation and sustainability, tourism, migration, memory, and relationships of power imposed on various minorities or marginalized groups. I am also an active professional and community member who holds positions on executive boards and associations. Last but not least, I am the delighted mother of three children.

Research and teaching interests

  • Québec literature
  • Geopoetics, the representation of landscapes, postmodern places
  • Literature and visual arts
  • Literature and cultural studies of francophone minorities in Canada
  • Ecocriticism
  • Theories of care; the dynamics of power

Current projects

I am currently working on a research project entitled “From the Land to the Landscape: Québec poetry in perspective since 1950”. My objective is to explore how Québec poetry has shifted away from the 1950s and 1960s lyrical evocations and political stances of “la poésie du pays” to create a diversity of contemporary poetics that question landscapes rather than land. I study texts that explore how our use of spaces transforms our landscapes, but also our imaginations and our sense of aesthetics.

I tackle these issues through two theoretical perspectives. On one hand, I use a geopoetical approach to analyze the representations of a place, and the links that are created by the lyrical subject. On the other hand, I use ecocritical theories to study how contemporary texts question the fading, the redefinition, and the conservation of natural landscapes. The purely aesthetic perception of a landscape is often closely intertwined with an awareness of environmental concerns, such as alterations considered as harmful. To what extent has the nationalist engagement of “les poètes du pays” in the middle of the 20th century shifted toward s an engagement for the conservation of local and unique places?   

Any landscape is indeed the representation not only of a place, but of an environment; a milieu built on multiple and complex links. Hence, wider issues are also addressed through this project: political context, community building and engagement, contemporary urbanism (from urban sprawl and the importance of green spaces to intense densification), preservation of unique landscapes or villages despite rural depopulation; tourism and pressures placed by its development on fragile ecosystems or communities; migrations; natural disasters; anthropocentric conceptions of what a landscape is; and the need for caring about endangered landscapes and the cultures they sustain. 

Selected publications


  • Géographie des confins, Ottawa, Éditions David, Coll. « Voix savantes », 2016.

Most Recent Journal Issue Edited

Selected Articles and Chapters

  • « « Coïncidence secrète » : les premiers recueils d’Andrée Lacelle, d’Hélène Dorion, et de Dyane Léger », Francophonies d’Amérique, « La poésie franco-canadienne de la longue décennie de 1970 » Emir Delic et Jimmy Thibeault (dir.), in press – Winter 2017.

  • « L’accueil, la confiance dans l’œuvre d’Andrée Lacelle », La littérature franco-ontarienne depuis 1996. Nouveaux enjeux esthétiques, Lucie Hotte et François Ouellet (dir.), Sudbury, Prise de Parole, Coll. « Agora », 2016, p. 39-61.

  • « Les envers de la ville : de nouveaux paysages en poésie québécoise », « L’écologie dans la littérature canadienne », Pamela Banting, Cynthia Sugars et Herb Wyile (dir.), Studies in Canadian Literature/Études en littérature canadienne, vol. 39, nº1, à paraître en 2014.
  • « « Faire avec ce qu’il y a » : l’humilité du poème chez Michael Delisle », Voix et images, vol. XXXVIII nº3, printemps-été 2013, p. 31-45.
  • « Discrets éclats et éclat de la discrétion dans les nouvelles de Christiane Frenette », René Audet et Philippe Mottet (dir.), La nouvelle québécoise contemporaine (1995-2010) : état des lieux d’une pratique vive, Montréal, Nota Bene, Coll. « Contemporanéités », 2013, p. 149-172.
  • « Nancy Huston, empreintes et failles d’une mémoire sans frontière », Francophonies d’Amérique, nº 29, juin 2011, p. 79-95.
  •  « De la batture à l’écriture : les Histoires naturelles du Nouveau Monde de Pierre Morency », Études littéraires, vol. 41, nº 2, été 2010, p. 121-132.

Awards and achievements

  • 2016-18 : SSHRC Insight Development Grant : “Du pays au paysage : la poésie québécoise en perspective depuis 1950”, principal investigator
  • 2015 : Award to Scholarly Publication Program (ASPP) from the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences for the publication of my book Géographie des confins
  • 2015-16 : UW/SSHRC 4A Award, principal investigator
  • 2014-15 : UW/SSHRC 4A Award, principal investigator
  • 2013 : Lois Claxton Humanities and Social Sciences Award, University of Waterloo, principal investigator
  • 2008 : Association des Professeur.e.s de français des Universités et des collèges canadiens (APFUCC) Best student paper

Selected professional and community affiliations

  • 2016-present : FIGURA, Associate Fellow (Centre de recherche sur le texte et l’imaginaire)

  • 2008-present : Association de Littératures Canadienne et Québécoise (ALCQ)
  • 2005-present : APFUCC
University of Waterloo