Catherine Desbarats

Catherine Desbarats
Contact Information

Department of History, 855, rue Sherbrooke Ouest
Montreal, Quebec
H3A 2T7

514-398-4400 ext.094345
Email address: 
catherine.desbarats [at]
Associate Professor & Department Chair
Leacock 621

PhD History (McGill); D Phil Economics (Oxford)

Specialization by time period: 
1450 - 1800
Specialization by geographical area: 
North America
Atlantic World
Office hours: 

Wednesday 2-4

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Trained as both a historian and an economist, Professor Desbarats is a founding member of the French Atlantic History Group.  Her research and writing concerns mainly the history of the early modern colonial state, particularly its financial aspects.  In both her teaching and writing, she has a deep interest in decolonizing French imperial history, beginning with narratives relating to New France.  She has published historiographic pieces on that topic in journals such as the William and Mary Quarterly, the Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française and the Journal of Early American History.  Her attempts to understand "early modern" indigenous vantage points have led her to think differently about the financing of empires, and the history of economic thought itself.  Canada’s seventeenth-century playing-card currency appears less as a picturesque footnote known only to monetary specialists, and more of a window into technologies of imperial violence and expansion.  Such themes are explored in her SSHRC-financed book- in-progress, “Money and Empire in New France.” In the same spirit, she is also co-writing, with Allan Greer, “New France: A Concise History,” under contract with Oxford University Press.

 In cooperation with the Jesuit Archives in Montreal, and with graduate students Fannie Dionne and Sandra-Lynn Leclaire, she is also engaged in a pilot project to identify, transcribe and digitize early modern iroquoian/French language material written down by Jesuit missionaries

Graduate supervision: 

New France, French Empire and French Atlantic, European/Indigenous Encounters.


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