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Born in Deschambault, Québec, he was film director Denys Arcand and comedian Gabriel Arcand's brother. He studied in social sciences at the Université de Montréal (baccalaureate, 1965; master, 1966). He later studied at the University of Cambridge where he obtained a certificate (1967) and a doctorate (1972), in social anthropology. He taught at the Copenhagen University in 1971, and then as an assistant professor at McGill University between 1972 and 1976. He was assistant and then tenured professor, at Université Laval, from 1976 to 2006.
He was a member of the redaction committee of the Anthropologie et Sociétés magazine between 1982 and 1987 and president of the Société canadienne d'anthropologie from 1989 to 1991.
In 1991, Arcand published The Jaguar and Anteater, a series of essays on the topic of pornography for which he received the Governor General's Award. In collaboration with Serge Bouchard, he hosted a radio show called The Commonplace, broadcast on Radio-Canada in 1990. Some texts and extracts of these shows were published between 1993 and 2003.
Arcand and Bouchard wrote a humor column entitled "Bien vu!", in the journal Science Quebec.
His work with the Cuiva in Columbia was documented in the film, Last of the Cuiva (Disappearing World series of anthropological films, 1971).
- Laval University retired professors
- Blog article 'Bernard Arcand R.I.P.'
- Articles (in French)
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