Department of History

Department of History
Department of History

Second Year Core Seminars 

Second Year Core Seminars are identified by course codes ranging from HIST 300 - 330.  These course are only open to History Majors and Medials who must take one of these courses (ideally in their second year) before proceeding to upper level seminars in third and fourth years. If you have any questions please contact

If you are a non-history student, please review our 200 Level Lectures

(Please note, F and W in the course code is used to indicate whether the course is offered in the Fall or Winter term. F courses start in September. W courses start in January. FW courses are full year courses from September to April. Pay careful attention to these when planning for course enrollment!)
301 FW   Medieval Societies
Instructor: Richard Greenfield 

The world of Byzantium – that of the ‘other’ Middle Ages of the Eastern Mediterranean – is a fabled and exotic one. If you’ve ever heard of Constantine or Justinian & Theodora, of Constantinople or Antioch, of Hagia Sophia or the Hippodrome, of the Fourth Crusade, of iconoclasts, monophysites or the schism of the churches, of eunuch courtiers or pillar saints, and if you’ve ever wondered who or what they really were, this is the course for you!

As a core seminar, the course will have among its primary intended learning outcomes the development of research, analytical, writing and communication skills appropriate to students entering upon a concentration in History. Assignments and practical activities will be directed specifically to this end while being based in exploration of Byzantine history, society and culture.

In the Fall Term, this course will run concurrently with the lecture HIST 218 Byzantium where students will become generally familiar with key elements of Byzantine history and society. In the Winter Term the seminar portion of the course will continue with a more focused study of ways in which Byzantine society helped to shape the world of Europe and the Mediterranean in the medieval period. With an emphasis on the interpretation of primary sources in translation and of debated issues, the course will explore some of the more significant episodes and aspects of Byzantine history and culture and will relate them to Byzantium’s place in the broader medieval world and its relations with and attitudes towards the many diverse peoples, powers, and religions of the regions that surrounded it. Among topics to be studied during the year will be Constantine and the emergence of a ‘Christian’ empire, the construction of orthodoxy, Justinian, the coming of Islam and the end of the ancient world, iconoclasm, interaction with the Crusades, the conception and practice of imperial and military power and of justice, the development of Constantinople and the decline of the ancient city, the construction of gender (masculine, feminine and eunuch), the lives of ‘ordinary’ people, education, health and healing, the construction of sanctity and the practice of monasticism, the place of icons, relics and amulets in religious behavior, belief in angels and demons, and the practice of magic and sorcery.

6.0 units

302 FW   Colonial Invasions, Colonial Lives
Instructor: Nancy van Deusen

The course is meant to deepen your knowledge of the impacts of invasion and colonialism on the lives of colonial Latin American subjects, and enhance how you read and interpret primary and secondary sources, conduct historical analysis, discern a thesis and methodology in secondary sources, and write analytical, short essays. We will examine chronicles, films, legal documents, a spiritual diary, Inquisition records, etchings and paintings: all sources that will be read in tandem with books and articles related to the specific topic of the week.  There will be short writing assignments, presentations, and a take-home essay final based upon the topics covered in the course. The professor will give consistent feedback, encouragement and guidance on written and oral work that will serve students as they enter their third and fourth years at Queen’s. Hist 302 includes a lecture component in the fall term - seminar component in the winter term. You may not take this seminar if you have already taken Hist 285.

6.0 units

306 FW   Holocaust: Problems and Interpretations
Instructor: Gordon Dueck
A fall/winter course taught in conjunction with HIST-295, the first half comprises the lecture component; the second half is a seminar that explores the vast field of Holocaust literature/historiography. The background to and processes of the destruction of the Jews of Europe between 1933 and 1945. Themes to be covered include: modern anti-semitism, Jewish communities in the inter-war era, Nazi racial policies, the Judenrat, the organization of the death camps, the attitudes of the Christian churches, the role of collaborators, the ideology of mass murder, and the questions of ‘compliance’, ‘resistance’, and ‘silence’
6.0 units
312 FW   Canadian Social History
Instructor: Lisa Pasolli
This course provides an introduction to the themes pursued and approaches used by Canadian social historians. In Fall 2019, the course will focus on pre-Confederation history; in Winter 2020, we’ll focus the post-Confederation years. We will proceed roughly chronologically, but don’t expect a neat and tidy narrative of the Canadian past. Instead, we will be exploring the complexity of peoples’ lives, and focus in particular on histories of race, gender, class, colonialism, and sexuality. You can expect to learn about key moments in Canada’s past, as well as the tools, methods, and debates that comprise the study of history. In other words, we will explore what we “know” about the social history of Canada, and, just as importantly, how and why we “know” it.
6.0 units
314 FW   American Society and Culture Since 1877

Instructor:  Rosanne Currarino

This course is designed as an introduction to the political, cultural, and social history of the modern United States.  In weekly seminar discussions, we will examine subjects such as immigration, citizenship, the welfare state, the long civil rights movement, the new right, consumer society, popular culture, economic and racial inequality, and the carceral state.  This course will also familiarize you with the analytic tools and methods we use to study and explain change over time, tools and methods which are vital to critical thinking in and beyond the university. We will devote considerable time working with a wide range of primary documents, particularly in the first semester, and we will explore different methodologies historians use to analyze primary sources.  Primary source readings will include sources such as oral histories, memoirs, newspapers and journals, government documents, congressional hearings, court rulings, films, novels, photographs, advertisements, and corporate records.  In the second semester, you will write a paper based on your original research, putting in practice the analytic skills you’ve developed during the course.  Course assessment is based on frequent short written assignments, several short analytic papers, a final research paper, and weekly seminar participation.

6.0 units

324 FW   Race and Immigration in North America

Instructor:  Kyle Hammer

This course explores the concept of race and immigration in North America beginning with first European contact and extending into the twentieth century.  The course will engage students with the historically changing nature of race through a variety of themes in order to understand the importance of race and immigration in shaping North American history. Subjects to be covered may include: contact narratives, settler-colonialism, immigration, slavery, scientific racism, national myth making, labour, state formation, and segregation. This course will provide students an analytical toolkit to interrogate race and migration in a meaningful way whilst also providing a methodological foundation for understanding history and the application of theory therein. Seminars will be built around the discussion of reading materials including a wide variety of books, articles, and primary sources.

6.0 units

330-001 FW   History of Gender and Sexuality: Global Approaches  
Instructor:  Ishita Pande 

This course will introduce students to key concepts, debates and methods in the history of gender and sexuality. We will focus on the period between the late eighteenth and the mid-twentieth centuries, and visit diverse geographical contexts, but with a focus on Europe and Asia. The aim is to introduce students to excellent examples of historical scholarship and to foundational works of theory that have influenced the writing of these histories around the world, such as Michel Foucault’s The History of Sexuality.

The course showcases how the use of gender and sexuality as categories of analysis illuminate the histories of nation and family, of capitalism and colonialism, of law and governance, as well as that of sexual formations and identities. Students will discover the unique promises and perils of using distinct types of primary sources (including, but not limited to, court cases, medical texts, census statistics, marriage manuals, public and private letters, newspaper reports, novels, memoirs) for writing the history of gender and sexuality. They will explore how history helps illuminate ideas that remain highly relevant to our lives today. Specific themes covered will include: gender and nationalism; sexuality and the history of colonialism; law, medicine, and the making of modern sexual identities; ages of consent around the world; understandings of childhood; questions of sexual repression and liberation. Most importantly, students will be trained in the skills of close reading, critical analysis, constructive debate, research methods, and fine writing, which will not only prepare them for upper level history courses, but will also serve them well in a range of non-academic contexts. This class is run in the seminar format throughout the year. Several short in-class and take-home assignments are designed to help with the comprehension of assigned materials and in the development of specific skills. In addition, students will complete a final research paper using primary sources. The instructor will help students with the selection of sources. Students will have the opportunity to receive feedback on the thesis, outline, and sources from the instructor as well as their peers.

6.0 units 

Please note - HIST 330-001 and HIST 330-002 are two separate courses. Pay close attention to the section number (001 and 002) when enrolling in the course.

330-002 FW   Indigenous History of North America 

Instructor: Scott Berthelette

This course examines the Indigenous History of North America. Through our weekly readings and seminar discussions, we will explore themes as diverse as Euro-Indigenous relations, sovereignty and possession, warfare and slavery, the fur trade and métissage (cultural hybridity), religion and spirituality, women and gender, dispossession and destruction, and reclamation and revival. Throughout this course students will acquire knowledge of the ethnohistory of Indigenous societies and cultures as well as gain knowledge of the political history of Indigenous peoples in Canada and the United States. Through this course, students will also understand contemporary Indigenous issues, their foundations, and their social and political impacts.

6.0 units

Please note - HIST 330-001 and HIST 330-002 are two separate courses. Pay close attention to the section number (001 and 002) when enrolling in the course.