Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Jacques Henripin, demographer and public intellectual, 1926-2013

It's sad that it took a death of a very notable figure in my research field to jump-start my blogging for the fall term, but I didn't want to let this pass without comment.

Jacques Henripin passed away earlier this week.  He was an incredibly influential scholar and demographer whose work had a tremendous impact on the political face of Quebec.  In the 1960s and 1970s, his studies of Quebec's birth rate, immigration trends, and linguistic assimilation trends predicted that if patterns continued as they were, by the year 2000 less than half of Montreal's population would be francophone.  I think it is fair to say that in many respects, his work was highly influential in shaping the recommendations of the Gendron Commission of the early 1970s, and the language legislation of both the Liberal Party of Quebec and the Parti Québécois. 

Although I was not a tremendous fan of all of his politics, I do have great respect for a scholar who played such an influential role in shaping the public life of Quebec, and whose work had such an impact on my own field of study.  May he rest in peace.

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