Photo of Cassandra Marsillo

Cassandra Marsillo

Candidate, M.A. Public History

Degrees:B.F.A. Concordia University (2014), B.A. Concordia University (2017)

Current Program: Public History MA, 2017


Dr. John C. Walsh

Academic Interests:

Oral history, the study of the formation of national narratives, identity, collective memory, and the role of mapping and the imaginary in history.

Select Publications and Current Projects:

“‘Climbing up the maple tree’: Black poetic activism in Montreal, 1970-1980,” Quebec Heritage News, Fall 2017.

“Une porte ouverte sur la rue: the Village Narrative and the Carrefour d’éducation populaire in Pointe-Saint-Charles,” Historiae, April 2016.

Select Conference Publications:

“Scaccia mal’occhio: The petits récits of five local mal’occhio healers,” to be included in a special publication by the Graduate Student Association of Italian Studies (University of Toronto) in conjunction with their annual conference, October 2017.

Teaching Experience:

HIST 1300, The Making of Canada with professor Michel Hogue (Fall 2017)

Description of Research (1-2 paragraphs):

My research project is an oral history focused on the rejection of Italian immigrant children from francophone elementary and secondary schools in post-1945 Montreal, up to the reforms of the late 1960s and early 1970s. After the school board proposed the removal of anglophone and bilingual programs in the East End suburb of Saint-Leonard, the fight for the right to choose one’s language of instruction culminated in a riot on Jean-Talon street in September 1969. My research questions the accepted historical narrative, which suggests that immigrants, including Italian immigrants, chose anglophone schools solely because English was the language of opportunity. In doing so, I hope to also confront and deconstruct the political, linguistic, and historical assumptions surrounding this event. Further, my work challenges boundaries created by the divisive anglophone vs. francophone narratives that permeate the histories of Montreal, Quebec, and Canada.