media release

SFU historian sparks Trudeaumania revival

October 11, 2013
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Contact:
Elise Chenier, assoc. professor of history, 604.255.9236, echenier@sfu.ca
Allison McMahon, history department communications, 778.782.5512, histcomm@sfu.ca
Carol Thorbes, PAMR, 778.782.3035, cthorbes@sfu.ca

Photos: http://at.sfu.ca/JeCvOJ

Simon Fraser University historian Elise Chenier will have an eye out for red roses popping out of jacket lapels and other telltale signs of Trudeaumania on Sunday, Oct. 13.

That’s the day 43 years ago when the late Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau said something in response to a reporter’s query that launched a turning point in his political career. Asked how far he would go to end the threat posed by the Front de libération du Québec (FLQ), Trudeau replied: “Just watch me.”

To mark the now notorious anniversary, Chenier will launch the Trudeaumania Project on Sunday via a Trudeaumania Facebook page that she already has up and running.

It’s part of her traditional and social media campaign to solicit photos and objects from, related to and reminiscent of the Trudeaumania phenomenon.

As a lead up to a Nov. 28 SFU history department panel discussion that she will be involved in, Chenier is collecting letters, photos, paintings, and other memorabilia that capture people’s personal experience of Trudeaumania.  

The panel discussion, Trudeau 2.0: Pierre’s Legacy and Justin’s Future, hosted by SFU historian Roxanne Panchasi, will bring together three other SFU historians, including Chenier, to critique Trudeau’s and his son’s leadership. Their evaluation will be through the lens of an ongoing lecture series, which includes the panel discussion. The series, Heroes & Villains: Rethinking Good and Evil in History, aims to break down the good-evil binary in people’s perception and evaluation of leaders by revisiting the lives of celebrated and vilified ones.

The panel discussion will analyse how and why Trudeau and his son have become political figures that the public both love and deride.

Fascinated by his looks, charm and bachelor status, the Canadian public followed the senior Trudeau’s career and personal life with an intensity usually reserved for pop stars.

Chenier will share all memorabilia she receives for the Trudeaumania Project via the Facebook page she has created, and ultimately use the material to compile a coffee table book.

While electronic files of photos and objects can be submitted via social media, actual objects can be sent to the SFU history department, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, B.C., V5A 1S6.

Chenier says a student planted in her mind the seed for reviving a cultural history of Trudeaumania. In a class, the student revealed that her aunt had a framed certificate for the Trudeau fan club.

Simon Fraser University is Canada's top-ranked comprehensive university and one of the top 50 universities in the world under 50 years old. With campuses in Vancouver, Burnaby and Surrey, B.C., SFU engages actively with the community in its research and teaching, delivers almost 150 programs to more than 30,000 students, and has more than 120,000 alumni in 130 countries.

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Simon Fraser University: Engaging Students. Engaging Research. Engaging Communities.

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