Course Outlines

History 5001 3.0 F  Doing History: An Introduction

Open to all entering MA students, this course reads and discusses some great books in social history about a wide range of times and places. It is an opportunity to think big and to compare unfamiliar histories with more familiar ones. We will debate such questions as who gets a history? and how do concepts like imperialism or marginalization clarify and obscure the past? The course also provides a chance to step back from a focus on specialized information and to look at how historians put their works together.

Oral work and written assignments aim to cultivate skills useful for graduate studies in history. These include historiographical synopses (how to get a handle on a big book quickly) and primary source analysis. The course culminates in developing and presenting a proto-proposal for the required Major Research Paper.

Readings include: B. Bradbury, Working Families (19th c Canada); N. Z. Davis, a sampler of essays (early modern Europe, Surinam); C. Ginzburg, Cheese and the Worms (16th c Italy); G. Hershatter, Gender of Memory (20th c China); C. Howell, Northern Sandlots (20th c. Canada); J. Keegan, The Face of Battle (14th, 19th, 20th c Europe, compared); B. Moore and M. Johnson, Neither Led Nor Driven (19th-20th c Jamaica); L. T. Ulrich, A Midwife's Tale (18th c. US).

HIST 5002 3.0 F Preparing Historians for the Twenty-First Century:  An Applied History Practicum

The historical profession is changing. Fewer historians with graduate-level training are pursuing lifelong careers as tenured faculty members, and even those that do are finding themselves translating and presenting their research to diverse audiences. Historians today must be prepared to adopt new forms of scholarship and public engagement, both within and beyond the academy. Blending experiential learning with a rigorous graduate-level exploration of the many uses of the MA and PhD in History, both historically and in the present, this course recognizes the diversity of careers historians pursue today.

The course begins by exploring the history of the discipline since the late-19thcentury, its origins in the German seminar, its exportation to and development within North America, as well as the establishment and maturation of standards and professional criteria across the 20thcentury. The course then turns to an investigation of the broader constellation of career paths open to historians within and beyond the academy. Students will explore the theories, practices and economics of, and the role of professional historians in, such fields as publishing, journalism, government, the law, public policy, entertainment, education, and entrepreneurship. Finally, the course involves two forms of experiential learning. First, students will gain hands-on experience working on a project such as the design and production of a website or podcast series, or the production of an issue of an academic journal. Second, students will be required to identify an individual with historical training who is pursuing a career outside the academy, research the field in which they work, interview the subject, and present their findings.

HIST 5026 3.0 F  The Roman Empire

This course examines the Roman Empire during the period c. 200 B.C. - A.D. 400. It concentrates on the social, economic and cultural impact of Roman rule on subject peoples, but also considers Roman attitudes towards Empire and imperialism in both the Republican and imperial periods, techniques of Roman control, and the varying responses of imperial subjects to Roman rule. The course involves the critical examination of a wide range of literary, epigraphic, archaeological and iconographic sources, as well as some of the broader theoretical literature on imperialism and colonialism.

HIST 5051 3.0 W Cultural History of Europe 1400-1800

This year the theme of the course is microhistory. Many of the primary material, at the outset, will be from early modern Italy but the methodology of microhistory is very flexible and students of other periods can write their final paper on topics relevant to their own research. Microhistory is a way of seeing and an art of exposition.

Microhistory arose at a particular intellectual moment in Europe, in the 1970s. Its intellectual roots are Marxian and Gramscian (with Carlo Ginzburg) but at the hands of Natalie Davis, especially, it took on anthropology and the new Literary Turn. Meanwhile, thanks to the Return to Narrative (Lawrence Stone gave the shove), it lent its artful spirit to the Linguistic Turn. And now, in the early twenty-first century, it has to come to terms with the global. But what is this microhistory? Is it a school, a method, or just a quirky practice? And why is it good for us to know how to consume it, and produce it? Aha! Come aboard and see.

HIST 5175 3.0 F Citizens, Historians, and the State: Comparative Histories of the Welfare State, 1900-1950

This course examines the research and writing of welfare state history. The course considers central themes in the historiography, including international and comparative studies, with a particular focus on the history of the welfare/managerial state in Canada. Students will examine the multiple ways in which the powers of state have been exercised through economic and social policies and practices of regulation, with particular emphasis on the inter-war, depression, WW2 and post-WW2 eras.

We trace how power is mobilized through public policy and administrative practice as an exercise of governance and examines how relations of gender, race/ethnicity, class and sexuality shape and are shaped by state institutions, public policies and political practices. We consider how ‘social problems’ have been defined and administered as matters of state policy, in order to more closely consider the effects of such approaches in normalising specified populations as legitimate and therefore deserving of citizenship rights, while delegitimising other populations as undeserving.

HIST 5532 3.0 F The Immigrant Experience in North America

This course examines the movement of peoples to North America with particular reference to Canada in the century before the First World War. Through the lens of ethnicity, race, and gender, the immigrant experience is observed in its broad social, cultural, and political dimensions. Attention is also given to public opinion and to various aspects of public policy involving immigration in peace and wartime, including education, housing, labour, and the justice system. This course offers students insight into the dynamics of international migration and the active role played by immigrants in trying to improve their livelihood.

HIST 5543 3.0 W Nature and society in the industrial world: Global environmental history since industrialization

This course examines the relationships between people and their environments from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twenty-first century. It considers the global ecological consequences of industrialization and the growing human footprint on Earth from a historical perspective, drawing from the field of environmental history.

Through a number of different nineteenth- and twentieth-century case studies of industrialized societies around the world, students will examine the ways in which humans interacted with the rest of nature. In particular, this course looks at the extraordinary influence of humans on global ecosystems over that past 160 years that has led scholars to characterize this period as the Anthropocene, the beginning of a distinct geological and ecological epoch.

HIST 5562 3.0 W  Women's & Gender History Part 2, The 20th Century

This course is intended to introduce graduate students to some of the ways that historians have investigated changing gender ideologies and changes in women’s embodied experiences around the world during the twentieth century. This year, the course will    concentrate on comparing historical studies of ideas and experiences in the Americas, but students also will have the option to look at the historiographies of western Europe, East Asia, South Asia or sub-Saharan Africa in some weeks of the course. We will examine the connections and comparisons among the historiographies of these distinct regions, looking at how historians have seen differences and similarities in gendered experiences of colonialism and decolonization, technological and economic modernization, revolution and warfare, mass media and popular culture, state formation and reformation, and transnational movements of ideas, images, commodities, and people.

HIST 5701 6.0 Y Modern Cultural History

This course deals with themes in cultural history from the late nineteenth century to the present, focusing on the interrelationships among cultural, ideological, political, social, and economic change. It draws on a wide range of readings in North American, British, and European history. In exploring the expression, social context, and impact of ideas and culture in particular societies and regions, it views culture not only in terms of forms of artistic expression but as any value or trait that shapes society and, hence, infuses social, political, and economic ideas and trends. Weekly readings deal with works in such areas as the cultural history of industrialism, imperialism, modernism, antimodernism, historical memory, social reform, social and behavioural science, the quantitative revolution, race, consumerism and advertising, popular culture, and postmodernism. Readings and weekly discussions also provide opportunities to consider the ways in which historians have approached the issue of culture and the forms of cultural history that have resulted.

HIST 5901 3.0 F The African Diaspora

This seminar examines the slave trade and the African diaspora, including the regional and ethnic origins of the enslaved population, the demographic structure of the slave trade, and the cultural disjuncture in the cultural and social experiences of the enslaved population and hence addresses issues of ethnicity, identity, religion and resistance. The course concentrates on the African diaspora in the Americas, beginning with an analysis of the historical context of enslavement in Africa and the subsequent adjustments of enslaved Africans and their descendants to the plantations, mines, and cities of the Americas. The seminar will explore several on-line databases to identify topics of study, specifically relating to an analysis of gender, age, regional origin, and final destination in determining areas of future research.  Linkages with the diaspora and between different parts of the diaspora and Africa will be examined, including the period after the abolition of the slave trade and the emancipation of slaves in the Americas. The development of a parallel diaspora in the Islamic world, both within West Africa and across the Sahara Desert into the heartlands of Islam, will be studied for comparative purposes. Finally, the impact of the external slave trade to the Americas and the Islamic world on western Africa and the related transformations in African history are also considered.   

HIST 6030 6.0 Y Topics in the History of Canada (Ph.D. Field Course)

The course is intended to assist doctoral candidates in preparing for the comprehensive  examinations in the broader field of Canadian history and any of its subthemes, as either the Major or Minor Field. It can also serve as the third field course. Its aim is to provide an introduction to some (but by no means all) of the major historical works, themes, and debates in Canadian history. The instructors are drawn from among the Canadian historians in the Graduate History Program. The seminars will meet weekly on Tuesdays from 2:30 to 5:30, except when other faculty teaching commitments require alternative times.

HIST 6050 Y Themes in Western Social History

This course introduces the methodology of social history. It examines the genesis of the social historical approach, the various forms it has taken—from class history to gender history, from oral history to the history of science, from European history to global history. The course is designed as a field course for PhD students. At the same time, the seminar is open to other graduate students at the PhD and Master’s level who are interested in exploring methodological issues.

The purpose of the reading and assignments in the course to think about the how of history rather than the what. We focus on the ways a social historical approach shapes the choice of research topics, research materials, and research questions. We will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of this approach and whether or not it is most appropriate to particular kinds of projects. We will also probe the ways social history has met, attempted to meet, or failed to meet the challenges of new approaches to history such as post-modernism, post-colonialism, and cultural history.