Raoul Blanchard

Raoul Blanchard, geographer (b at Orléans, France, 1877; d at Paris 1965). He was considered the father of modern geography in Québec, and exercised a profound influence on the future founders of geography departments at universities in Montréal and Québec.

Blanchard, Raoul

Raoul Blanchard, geographer (b at Orléans, France, 1877; d at Paris 1965). He was considered the father of modern geography in Québec, and exercised a profound influence on the future founders of geography departments at universities in Montréal and Québec.

Blanchard, a disciple of Vidal de La Blache, was one of the first geographers to prepare a theory of regional geography in 1905, according to the methods of the French school. Throughout his entire career, he would remain faithful to this working method, making it a "complete" geography adapted to physical as well as human geography. On a regional level, his 290 works cover territories as varied as Flanders, the Middle East, North America, and particularly the French Alps, to which he devoted a major 12-volume classic, and Québec.

Raoul Blanchard's university career unfolded in Grenoble, where he was a professor, dean and rector. He was a guest professor at Harvard from 1922 to 1936, and precisely during this period, in 1929, he developed an interest in Québec, where he stayed on about fifteen occasions, up until 1960.

His Études canadiennes, a collection of 35 books and articles, comprise an incomparable source for the study of Québec. His works inspired generations of Canadian and European geographers, and enthusiasts of "Regional Science" even consider his studies on Québec a pioneer work in the field. His last book, published in 1964 a year before his death, is equally revered in Québec. In recognition of his contribution, one of the highest peaks in the LAURENTIAN HIGHLANDS near Québec was named after him.