The dark side of poutine: Canada taking credit for Quebec dish amounts to cultural appropriation, academic says

Thousands of academics have gathered in Toronto this week for the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, presenting papers on everything from whether poutine is a form of cultural appropriation to the ampersand as a symbol of gentrification. In this week-long Oh, The Humanities! series, the National Post showcases some of the most interesting research.Canada’s embrace of poutine as a national dish amounts to cultural appropriation — contributing to a creeping “Canadization” that threatens to absorb Québécois culture, a Quebec academic argues in a new study.Nicolas Fabien-Ouellet, a Montreal-born graduate student at the University of Vermont, will present his paper, “Poutine Dynamics,” at the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences at Ryerson University this week. The paper, he says, exposes “how the Canadian culinary identity is constructed and construed by means of cultural appropriation processes.”In an interview ahead of the presentation, he stressed he isn’t claiming that eating, cooking or adapting the dish is cultural appropriation. (In fact, a particularly inspired section of his paper calls for a change in thinking about poutine — to look at it more as a food category, like soup, rather than a singular dish — to encourage further twists on the classic recipe.)The problem for Fabien-Ouellet is poutine’s status as “Canadian.” He points to poutine festivals across the country and polls that rank it as among the best of Canadian dishes. But poutine is a Québécois creation, not a Canadian one, he insists — and suggesting otherwise ignores that poutine “has been used as a form of stigma against a minority group that is still at risk of cultural absorption.”

Source: The dark side of poutine: Canada taking credit for Quebec dish amounts to cultural appropriation, academic says

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