Marie-Claude Thifault, PhD



Dr. Marie-Claude Thifault, a historian specializing in the history of asylums in Quebec and Canada, is an associate professor in the School of Nursing, Faculty of Health Sciences. She has also been named the University of Ottawa Research Chair in health and the Canadian francophonie.

As the director of the interdisciplinary oriented Nursing History Research Unit, Professor Thifault makes a significant contribution to the history of nursing, the body, health and psychiatric nursing. Dr. Thifault is the author of several articles on asylum confinement and psychiatric care in the 20th century Quebec. In addition, she is the co-editor of Désinstitutionnalisation psychiatrique en Acadie, en Ontario francophone et au Québec, 1930-2013, editor of the collection L’incontournable caste des femmes. Histoire des services de santé au Québec et au Canada (Ottawa Press, 2012 – finalist for the 2014 Canada Prize in social sciences of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences) and the co-author of the Une toupie sur la tête. Visages de la folie à Saint-Jean-de-Dieu (Boréal 2007 – finalist in 2007 for the Governor General’s Literary Award). Dr. Thifault’s CIHR (2010-2013) funded research on Deinstitutionalization in the Canadian francophonie has formed the basis of her current research project. As principal investigator of a second CIHR (2013-2016) funded projected, Dr. Thifault’s current work is titled «Déhospitalisation psychiatrique et accès aux services de santé mentale».

Research Interests

  • Women’s Studies
  • Women, mental illness, institutionnalization in asylum
  • Women’s religious communities
  • Social and cultural history: Quebec, Canada
  • History of mentality, privacy and intimacy in asylum world, micro-history
  • Nursing history in Canada



Website or blog


Main address:

University of Ottawa, Faculty of Health Sciences, School of Nursing, Roger-Guindon Hall
451 Smyth, Room RGN 3037
Ottawa (ON) K1N 6N5

Main telephone:
613-562-5800 ext. 8442