Welcome to the virtual home of our bilingual research project, “Vocabularies of Identity II: The evolution of collective identity in Acadian and Loyalist texts published in New Brunswick newspapers from 1880 to 1940.” 

This project is funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant (2013-2017), and we are working in partnership with the Centre for Digital Scholarship and the Atlantic Canada Studies Centre, based on the UNB Fredericton campus, and the Laboratoire d’Analyse de Données Textuelles (LADT) at l’Université de Moncton.

What is Vocabularies of Identity?

Collective identity, in the context of this project, is defined as common values, a common past, and common goals for the future shared by a group of individuals. That identity is shaped and disseminated by using a specific lexicon, with the purpose of ensuring cohesion within the group, and to reinforce identification of the group members with this collective identity. 

New Brunswick provides a unique window on the coalescing of Loyalists and Acadians identities, starting in the 1880s and continuing well into the 20th century. At this time, descendants of Loyalists (and those who identified with Loyalists) and Acadians in New Brunswick were marking important anniversaries. Both groups experienced large-scale upheaval in the mid to late 18th century and, by the 1880s, were in a position to either celebrate their accomplishments – as was the case for the descendants of Loyalists – or to begin organizing themselves by choosing national symbols – as did Acadians. 

Combining quantitative and qualitative approaches, this interuniversity and multidisciplinary project analyzes the evolution of collective identities in public discourse among Acadians and Loyalist descendants in New Brunswick at the end of the 19th century and in the first part of 20th century. 

Vocabularies of identity database

A significant component of this research project is the creation of a database of journalistic texts compiled from New Brunswick newspapers between 1880 and 1940. In this period, newspapers were important vehicles for communication and the construction of collective identities for both linguistic communities. We wish to thank the Centre for Digital Scholarship, the staff at Microforms in the Harriet Irving Library (UNB) and our many research assistants for contributing to the creation of this valuable collection of documents.