Published on August 11, 2016
Dan Horner is assistant professor at Ryerson University, Department of Criminology. He holds a PhD in History from York University. His research focuses on the notion of public order and crowd events in nineteenth-century urban contexts.
An interview by Martin Robert, in preparation of the communication to be given on August 31 at 10:30 a.m. entitled « Policing the Disorderly Migrant on Montreal’s Urban Fringe, 1840-1850. »
What was your original interrogation when you started to study crowd events in nineteenth-century Montreal for your doctoral dissertation?
When I first embarked on my doctoral project my plan was to write about protest and political violence on the streets of nineteenth-century Montreal. When I began combing through the newspapers in search of reports on this, however, I realized how collective violence was unfolding against the backdrop of a much wider array of crowd events—parades, religious processions, public celebrations and funeral processions—to give just a few examples. The riots that had originally pulled me towards this topic were, in other words, just one example of many of people using the streets of a tumultuous urban environment like mid-nineteenth-century Montreal to advance their political agenda; policing riots was just one way that civic elites were wrapping their heads around the project of making an orderly city—organizing parades and other crowd events were also an important tool at their disposal.