Areas of Expertise & Civic Involvements
Lacroix is a scholar of immigration and American religious history. In several articles, he has studied the policy environment of immigration in mid-twentieth-century Canada, with special focus on the role of non-governmental actors in the policymaking process. As a Fulbright student fellow at the University of New Hampshire, he notably researched nineteenth- and twentieth-century Canadian immigration to the U.S. Northeast. French-speaking migrants remade the economic, cultural, and religious landscape of the region; their experience and legacy sheds light on the acculturation of more recent migrants from other parts of the world.
Lacroix is currently preparing a book on the intersection of faith-based activism and policymaking during John F. Kennedy’s presidency. Drawing on his doctoral dissertation, Lacroix explores the realignment of activism from a denominational to an ideological basis, which produced the Religious Left of the 1960s and led to the ascendency of a Religious Right beginning in the 1970s.
Nineteenth-century French Canadians and Irish Americans had different cultural understandings of their shared Catholicism. Canadian immigrants recurrently assailed the allegedly pro-Irish bishops for promoting assimilation. However, the rhetoric of ethnic newspapers has too often hidden the role of labor in intercultural antagonism and the genuine interest of Catholic bishops in the preservation of French-Canadian culture.
Franco-Americans believed that they could be faithful American citizens and obey the laws of their adoptive country while holding fast to their ancestral culture. At a time when the federal government played a negligible role in immigration policy, it fell upon non-state actors like the Catholic Church to help immigrants negotiate different aspects of their identity. Such actors’ responses shed light on present non-governmental responses to immigration.
The Canadian Rebellions of 1837-1838 and the ensuing border raids led to the deployment of military forces in the Canada-U.S. borderlands, not in pursuit of war but in the interest of peace. Ignoring popular agitation, the British and American governments expressed their commitment to peace and recognized that continued friendly relations required further assertion of central state authority on both sides of the boundary line. Thus, the events of 1837-1842 mark an important advance in the development of national security and national sovereignty in North America.