Department of History

Department of History
Department of History

2020-21 Upper Level Seminars

Upper Level Seminars are for third and fourth year History Majors and Medials.

If you are not an upper year history major or medial, please review our 200 level lectures

Please note that all Fall 2020 undergraduate courses at Queen's will be remotely delivered. This means that the first half of the Core Seminars will be taught as online courses. 

For more information, visit the Faculty of Arts and Science's INFORMATION FOR STUDENTS FALL 2020.

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. This year, there is also a Spring term. Pay careful attention to these when planning for course enrollment!) If a course has two numbers (such as HIST 430/828) the course is a combined graduate and undergraduate course. Enroll in the class using the 400 level course code.
Upper Year Seminars Fall Courses (F) 4.5 units

HIST 338 F  Western World Ethnohistory
Instructor: Caroline-Isabelle Caron

An introduction to European schools of ethnohistory which examine First World minority cultures, groups, and social classes within the Occidental hegemony, by focusing on the intersections of oral history, folklore, anthropology and sociology at the convergence of ethnicity, race, nationality, gender, class, sexuality and imperialism.

4.5 units

HIST 353 F   Revolutions and Civil Wars in Twentieth-Century Latin America
Instructor: David Parker 

This course is a workshop in historical research using primary sources.  Thematically it covers the revolutions, civil wars, and political violence in Latin America in the Twentieth Century.  We take case studies of the Mexican and Cuban revolutions, civil wars in Central America, and other Latin American insurgencies, and examine them from diverse viewpoints while paying close attention to research sources and methods.  

As a practical, hands-on introduction to research and historical analysis, students work to understand how to find, contextualize, critically interrogate, and derive useful analytical conclusions from original documents, in order to engage with the scholarship on a topic of their choice.

4.5 units

HIST 400-001 F   Topics in History: Public History
Instructor:  Martina Hardwick

Historians have important roles to play outside the university as well as within it. They can be involved in research or community work, be a part of museum staff, or work for a corporation; all these roles come under the heading of Public History. Public History, broadly defined, is historical work undertaken outside the university using historical methods and professional historians trained in these methods. History 400 will explore not only what public historians do in the field, but how they accomplish it.

Topics discussed in this seminar will look at historians in a variety of areas: Genealogy and family history research; historical interpretation in living history museums; corporate history and ethics; digital history; dealing with difficult or unpopular topics, such as the history of the Holocaust; Heritage planning and Heritage Conservation, with particular attention to the historian’s role in community heritage; Archival work and document preservation, with some discussion of records management; Heritage Tourism; the marketing of history. This will be accomplished not only through in-class seminar discussion but also occasionally guest speakers and visits to local organizations, where available and appropriate.

4.5 units

HIST 400-002 F  Topics in History: The Age of Revolutions in a Global Context 1760-1911
Instructor: Gabriela Castillo

Historians have addressed the Age of Revolutions as a pivotal moment in modern history due to the profound changes in political, economic, and social structures it brought to light; yet most of these processes have been analyzed from a univocal Eurocentric perspective. This course will invite students to challenge the limits of geography, ideas of culture, and intellectuality by studying the Age of Revolutions in a global context. Highlighting the connections formed by colonialism and imperialism, students will analyze the process of modernization beyond the context of Europe and introduce them to the use of methodologies of applied history, including archival research, material, and visual culture. Complementing the chronological and narrative overview will be thematic surveys of revolutions in areas such as North and South America, the Caribbean, Europe, South and Southeast Asia.

4.5 units

HIST 400-003 F    Topics in History: Russian History in the Russian Novel
Instructor: Ana Siljak

Nineteenth-century Russian novels have a very particular place in Russian history.  Informed by the political, social, and cultural contexts of the day, novels were both a commentary on Russian life and attempts to bring awareness and change to Russian society.  This class will look at two of Russia’s most famous novels, Leo Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Brothers Karamazov, and explore the hidden historical debates on political power, social inequality, and religious values located within their pages.

4.5 units

HIST 400-004 F    Topics in History: Modern Britain and the World 
Instructor: Alex Martinborough

How did Britain shape the world and how did the world shape Britain? How has the world we live in today been shaped by British imperialism and colonialism? We will explore these questions through histories of Britain, its Empire, and their interactions with the rest of the world over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries to critically examine the continuing influence of imperialism and colonialism in making modern Britain and the world. Drawing on cases from various sites of Empire, including Britain itself, this course is particularly interested in the forging of global connections and movements of people, ideas, and commodities. Weekly readings may consider decolonization, international law, humanitarianism, settler colonialism, and immigration. Guiding our discussions will be the central question of how to study Britain, its Empire, and their place in global processes that continue to shape the world we inhabit.

4.5 units

HIST 400-005 F   Topics in History: Old Regime France 
Instructor: Andrew Jainchill

This course seeks to introduce students to central themes in the history of France from the reign of Louis XIV to the outbreak of the French Revolution. We will consider the period’s principal political, social, intellectual, cultural, and economic aspects: social hierarchy and inequality; the transformation of the state; gender; the advent of consumer culture; colonialism and slavery; the Enlightenment; and the origins and outbreak of the French Revolution. Course readings will be a combination of primary sources and secondary scholarship reflecting a diversity of methodological approaches to the study of the past. The course is a seminar, and students will be expected to participate actively in classroom discussion.

4.5 units

HIST 400-006 F   Topics in History: The Renaissance Prince
Instructor: David White

The Renaissance Prince became the model of good governance during the 16th century, but what did it mean? This course we will look at the approaches of different rulers around the British Isles to analyse if and how they presented themselves as Renaissance Princes. Discussing and revising what we understand the model to be and understanding where it is suitable to apply. Some of the themes this course will look at legitimization of authority, how rulers responded to the challenges of the Reformation, how these rulers interacted with one another, and how it is that each example constructed their own public image. The course will explore these themes through the work of recent scholars, understanding how historians have looked at the ideal of the Renaissance Prince and how they have challenged what it meant both in the past and for us in the present.

4.5 units 

HIST 401 F   Topics in Canadian History: Postcolonial Theory and French Canada 
Instructor:  Caroline-Isabelle Caron

This seminar will introduce students to post-colonial theories through case studies from Quebec. We explore the issues of colonialism, hegemony, decolonization and post-colonialism by examining how they can help understand certain aspects of Quebec's history and where they do not. We will see how Quebec thinkers sometimes used these theories to support their ideas, rightly or wrongly. In doing so, we touch upon themes of the colonial state, identities, family, gender, the Catholic Church, nationalisms and ethnicities in the 19th and 20th centuries. Weekly discussions will be based on mandatory readings.

4.5 units

HIST 419 F   Early Renaissance: Dante’s World
Instructor: Claire Litt

This course studies fourteenth-century Italy through the works of Dante Alighieri, Boccaccio, and Petrarch. Known as the three crowns of Florence these authors wrote literary masterpieces deeply rooted in the society, politics, and culture of their times. Using historical analysis, recent scholarship, and a variety of different sources, students will contextualize and unravel Dante’s vision of Hell and Purgatory, Boccaccio’s picture of Italian society with all its comedy and tragedy of love, lust, trickery, stupidity, and cruelty, and Petrarch’s grappling with pagan Antiquity, pride, and fame at the foundation of the Renaissance. Prominent themes for discussion include gender, sexuality, religion, sin, Hell, Purgatory, political and church corruption and reform, Plague, popular culture and humor, and the reception of Classical antiquity.

4.5 units

HIST 436 F  Topics in Canadian Legal History
Instructor: Jeffrey McNairn

This seminar explores central issues in and approaches to legal history based on Canadian examples. Topics will include the history of crime and punishment; the legal regulation of gender, sexuality, and ‘race;’ the relationship between law and colonialism; and law and the evolution of modern capitalism. Work with both primary and secondary sources will be emphasized. 

4.5 units

HIST 443 F   The Origins of Crusading and the Creation of the Crusader East: 1095-1150
Instructor: Richard Greenfield

The crusades were among the most formative as well as dramatic episodes of the Middle Ages. Although their history has, over time, been heavily romanticized or vilified depending on the cultural perspective from which they have been approached, historically there can be no doubt that they brought people from the societies of medieval Western Europe into direct, often violent, contact, with those, Muslim and Christian, of the Eastern Mediterranean, but also into situations of significant cultural exchange. In doing so they forged new relationships, developed new attitudes and ideas, created new patterns of behaviour and thought. These would play a vital role in Western Europe and the Middle East during the twelfth and thirteenth centuries but would also continue to be of influence for centuries afterwards, even down to the present day when we still see the idea of the ‘Crusade’ being used and misused in all manner of contexts. Study of the crusades has in recent years become one of the most vibrant topics in the discipline of history. This upper year seminar will give students the opportunity to examine key topics in the history and interpretation of the medieval Crusades both in the Middle East and Western Europe from the late eleventh to the late thirteenth centuries. The society established by the crusaders in the Eastern Mediterranean and its interactions both with the different peoples of the region and with those of Western Europe will also be studied in some depth, while students will be encouraged to relate medieval crusading to relevant present-day debates and issues. As appropriate in an upper year History seminar, stress will be placed on the use of original source material (in translation) and the development of research, analytical, writing, and communication skills. The course will be of particular interest to students of the Middle Ages, the Middle East, Byzantium, the Eastern Mediterranean, and the history of Christianity and Islam.

4.5 units 

HIST 485 F  The Social History of Canada: 1850-1919 
Instructor: Martina Hardwick 

This course investigates some of Canada’s major social issues and the way in which they have been viewed by the state and the people directly involved in them. In most cases, the marginalized people of Canada were the main groups affected by, or seen to be causing, social problems. In the struggle to come to terms with these groups, the solutions offered were institutions and regulations. The latter took the form of legislation and social convention. As for the former, these were mainly created in the 19th century, taking the form of asylums, hospitals, prisons, workhouses, and even schools, to name a few.  Whether the marginalized – including but not limited to  women, the poor, the elderly, Indigenous people, the insane, criminals, and LGBTQ people – were successfully dealt with, or remained marginalized, is an issue which the course will attempt to resolve.

Although this course does not yet appear on the Canadian content list, HIST 485 does count towards your Canadian content requirement.

4.5 units

Upper Year Seminars Winter Courses (W) 4.5 units

HIST 337 W   Contested Legacies of the Ottoman Empire
Instructor: Ariel Salzmann

In the late thirteenth century, an emir named Osman (Uthman) founded a small principality in western Anatolia (today's Turkey). Over the next three centuries, his descendents and their allies would expand this small state into a tri-continental empire. The sultans ruled North Africa, with the exception of Morocco, southeastern Europe, including Hungary, the horn of Africa and Yemen, as well as the Middle East from Egypt and Syria to Iraq and Western Iran. Although it is possible to measure the scale of this territorial endeavor, almost every other facet of the Ottoman past remains subject to scholarly debate. Over the course of the semester students will examine some of the important questions that animate discussions among contemporary historians: Who was Osman and how did he and his allies practice Islam? How did the Ottoman state treat its non-Muslim subjects? Why was the Ottoman army so successful in its campaigns against Western Christian states? How did Ottoman royal women exert power in the palace and in society? Did the empire decline because of poor policies or because of climate change?

4.5 units

HIST 339 W   Jews without Judaism
Instructor: Gordon Dueck

Secular Jewish identities are the focus of this course, from the Enlightenment era onwards. Topics include Jewish engagement in the modern projects of liberalism, socialism nationalism, and modern Yiddish literature.

4.5 units

HIST 344 W   Plural Visions: New World Jews & the Invention of Multiculturalism
Instructor: Gordon Dueck

This course studies the historical role of Jews as migrants—as strangers in a strange land—and their eventual transformation from "Outsiders" to "Insiders", as a way of understanding their current place in North American society. For the sake of context, readings will include comparisons with the experiences of other minority groups.

4.5 units

HIST 400-001 W   Topics in History: Magic, Miracles and Medicine
Instructor: Claire Litt

From magical Byzantine amulets and sacred healing spaces to Galenic Theory and the emergence of alchemical medicine in the sixteenth century, the approaches taken to healing in the Mediterranean basin between 1100-1550 were diverse and overlapping. Alongside discovering the medical pluralism of the past, this course takes a critical look at the historiography of healing. We will contrast earlier theories that proposed that societies underwent a progression from magic, to religion, to science with modern scholarship that seeks to understand diverse healing practices’ coexistence and reconsiders the definition of magic as contingent on cultural and historical circumstances. This course aims to provide students with an overview of past healing practices and an understanding of current trends in the history of medicine.

4.5 units

HIST 400-002 W   Machiavelli’s World and the Renaissance 
Instructor: TBD

This course introduces and explores Italian Renaissance history through the writings of Niccolò Machiavelli (died 1527) and Baldassare Castiglione (died 1529), and recent scholarship in social, cultural, intellectual, and political history. Machiavelli shocked the world with his reality-based Political advice: better to be feared than loved, the ends justifying the means, total war, and the reduction of virtue to success without moral content. But he also wrote a history of Florence and a famous play, both featuring female protagonists and raising key historical problems.  Castiglione’s Courtier (1528) taught generations of Europeans how to behave in public and how to have success at court. It is a compendium of the major themes of the Renaissance: appearance vs reality, Platonic love and beauty, the nature of virtue and whether nobility is based on birth or merit, gender and the role of women. 

4.5 units

HIST 401 W   Topics in Canadian History: Poverty in Canada
Instructor:  Steven Barrow

What stereotypes come to mind when we think of “poverty”? How do we define poverty, who has experienced it, and why? How have people responded to poverty? What roles have the Canadian state, economics, and class systems played in fighting or perpetuating it? This course introduces students to poverty as a dynamic concept in Canadian history, from the 19th century onward. Taking a critical and thematic approach, students will explore poverty in the context of food security, addiction and mental health, age, race, gender and sexuality, homelessness, as well as prison, policing, and criminality. We look at these themes through the perspective of a history of the present – to gain both an understanding of the ways that current social and political landscapes are rooted in the past, and an appreciation for how historical processes of inequality and social movements look and feel through lived experience. 

This is a seminar course, with a focus on peer support and collaborative discussion of primary and secondary sources. While the material is discussed in historical perspective, the source base is interdisciplinary in nature to reflect the diversity of topics within the history of poverty in Canada. Each meeting will begin with a short introductory lecture on the week’s theme, followed by engaged discussion of assigned readings. Select topics will feature guest speakers from various local social service organizations to share their experience working in the community. 

The main assignment for the term will be a research paper - broken down into a proposal, first and final draft, and an end of term presentation. This is supplemented by participation through weekly discussions, response journals, and peer editing of research paper drafts. The primary learning objectives will be to sharpen our research, writing, editing, and conferencing skills; and to foster critical thinking around the diversity and continuum of poverty through a fundamentally humanist lens. In all, this course provides an opportunity to consider and shape the role of the historian in the contemporary dialogue on poverty in Canada. 

4.5 units

HIST 409 W   Twentieth-Century Europe
Instructor: Tim Smith 

This course will address some of the most important and controversial topics in Twentieth Century Western European History. The focus of the readings is on the first half of the twentieth century and on Germany, Britain, France, Russia/USSR and Italy. Subjects will range from social, cultural, political, economic and military history.  The course will acquaint students with a few of the older 'classics' in Western European historiography. In addition, we will look at some of the most innovative recent literature. 

4.5 units

HIST 416 W   Material History in Canada
Instructor: Caroline-Isabelle Caron 

Canadian Material History: This senior seminar will introduce students to the basics of material history methodology while exploring the many meanings of the «stuff life is made of», i.e. the artefacts among which Canadians have lived since 1900, those things that have shaped Canadian identities and cultures to this day. This course will look at how artefacts can inform and enrich historical enquiry. Because historians have traditionally and primarily relied on texts, they have often overlooked artefacts, therefore ignoring the methodological frameworks found in archeology, anthropology, art history, folklore, etc., where objects are at the centre of analysis. Consequently, they have missed out on large portions of the lived experience in the past.

4.5 units

HIST 431 W   Atlantic Canada
Instructor: Deanna Turner

This course examines the development and growth of the Atlantic region from the early 17th century to the Confederation era. Weekly readings and seminar discussions will investigate the region’s social, cultural, political, economic, and intellectual history. We will discuss how the region’s geographic location, imperial entanglements, and diverse inhabitants shaped regional society and identity. 

4.5 units

HIST 444 W   Themes in Crusades History
Instructor: Hanna Mackechnie 

This course will move thematically through a broad range of topics to explore the crusades’ place in the history of the medieval world, and to also consider the long and contentious history of the crusades and their meaning in the world today. Topics will include travel, trade, gender and sexuality, warfare, art and architecture, and inter-religious interaction and conflict. Students interested in aspects of medieval Europe, Middle Eastern history, and Mediterranean studies will especially benefit from the material covered in this course. Although not required, it is recommended that students also take Dr. Greenfield’s The Origins of Crusading.

4.5 units

HIST 467 W   First Nations of North America
Instructor: Nick Haisell

An examination of First Nations history from ancient times to the present in North America with a particular focus on the Canadian experience. Topics include culture theory, disease, trade, missionaries, the writing of native history, and contemporary events.

4.5 units

HIST 474 W   History of Gender and Technology 
Instructor: Jenna Healey 

Do technologies have a gender? While this might seem like a strange question, there is no doubt that the technologies that suffuse our daily lives – from cars and washing machines to phones and computers – carry gendered associations that have implications for their design and use. Bringing together the history of technology with feminist theory, this class will examine how gender (along with race, class, and nationality) has shaped the design, production, and consumption of technology. We will also consider how technology itself has been used to police or alter the gendered body. Lastly, we’ll think critically about the ways in which the contributions of women in the history of technology have been obscured, and the implications of this erasure for contemporary debates about representation in STEM.

Class readings include theoretical, primary, and secondary sources, and will address topics ranging from refrigeration to reproductive technology, bombs to “big data.” In addition to participation in weekly discussions, students will be expected to contribute to a class blog, where they will be tasked with drawing connections between theory, history, and gender politics in creative and interactive ways. Assessment will include a final research paper and in-class presentation

4.5 units

HIST 486 W   Social History of Canada in the 20th Century: 1919-1980 
Instructor: Martina Hardwick 

Did the end of the First World War really usher in a new age and identity for Canada? Or were its social problems and the proposed solutions merely old wine in new bottles? While Canadians began to feel they were distinct from Britain, many of the issues around marginal groups remained; however, new issues, particularly those concerning women, the so-called “youth problem”, and Indigenous people began to make themselves evident. Labour, too, began to demand rights and recognition; here women in the workforce made their voices heard, although not always successfully. Questions of race, poverty, and work continued to be important, particularly during the Great Depression of the 1930s.

While some of the issues examined in HIST 458 (Canada 1850-1919) are also looked at in this course, the student need not have taken the fall semester offering.

Although this course does not yet appear on the Canadian content list, HIST 486 does count towards your Canadian content requirement.

4.5 units

HIST 498 W   China's Revolutions, 1911-1949
Instructor: Ben Cardo

A course on China’s nationalist and communist revolutions. Readings explore rival revolutionaries’ goals and programs. Seminars examine the internal and international struggles affecting the outcome of the National Revolution of 1911 and the Chinese Civil war of 1946‐1949.

4.5 units

Upper Year Seminars Full Year Courses (FW) 9.0 units

HIST 405 FW U.S. Public Policy and Society since 1945
Instructor: Tim Smith

This course examines some of the key developments in U.S. economic, political and social history since 1945. We will read from the disciplines of history, political science, economics, policy studies, sociology, business history, urban planning and criminology. The focus is on the rise and fall of the ‘New Deal Order,’ changes in the rate of social mobility, changes in family and class structures, the impact of technological change on labor markets, de-industrialization, globalization, racial divisions, gender, education, tax policies, the rise of the New Right, the fall of the Old Left, the decline of labor unions, economic policy, housing, health, Social Security and the welfare state broadly conceived. The key themes or concerns tying all of this together are trends in inequality and opportunity. For whom has the economy worked? How has this changed over time? Who got what from welfare state in 1945? And who gets what in 2016?

9.0 units

HIST 455 FW The Spanish Inquisition, 1450-1800: Sexuality, Sin, and Spiritual Beliefs
Instructor: Nancy van Deusen

Between 1492 and 1800, Inquisition tribunals in Spain and Latin America targeted converted Jews, Muslims, Protestants, and Old Christians for major and minor crimes against the Catholic faith. A parallel institution, the Extirpation of Idolatries launched campaigns against the indigenous people of Peru and Mexico. This year-long course involves examining Inquisition trials and other primary sources to understand Catholic orthodoxy and unorthodoxy, and popular understandings of gender and sexuality, the ineffable, holiness, healing, prayer, sorcery, and mysticism. Throughout the year students will develop analytical, research and writing skills by composing a 20-page research paper related to the theme of the course. Step by step, we will learn how to identify a viable source, create an annotated bibliography and outline, craft a working draft, and hone a polished version of the paper.

Note: HIST 455 will be offered on Tuesdays 2:30-5:30 pm (EST) for the fall term and Wednesdays 2:30-5:30 pm (EST) for the winter term.

9.0 units