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Iconoclastic Unmaking

Iconoclastic Unmaking

The Quiet Revolution’s Aesthetic Revolt (1959–69)

(p.73) 3 Iconoclastic Unmaking
Beheading the Saint
Geneviève Zubrzycki
University of Chicago Press

Chapter 3 analyzes debates about the traditional representation of the Saint and the parades in his honor. As the site of performance and subversion of an established national narrative embodied in the saint, parades providing the stage for the spectacular articulation of new secular national identity in the 1960s. Because St. John the Baptist embodied the dominant national vision, and the celebrations on his name day pictorially narrated that vision in elaborate allegorical floats and tableaux vivants moving through public space, the saint became the object of protests through which social actors and political contenders performed and ultimately transformed their national identity in the 1960s. The vehicle of these protests was the parade itself. The material form of the saint and of his core attributes fomented a debate about national identity and religion in the public sphere, and the altering of the physical aspect of the icon—its iconoclastic unmaking through what I call an aesthetic revolt—was a turning point in the articulation of a new, secular national identity in Québec.

Keywords:   Quiet Revolution, Québécois nationalism, St-Jean-Baptiste Parades, protests, aesthetic revolt

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