Course descriptions 2023-24

Winter 2024

All course descriptions provided by instructors should be considered provisional. You will receive an official description at the beginning of the Winter semester when you attend class.

Course Number

Course Title and Description



Topics in Scottish History

From Calendar: This course will introduce students to selected aspects of medieval and early modern Scottish history and historiography, including the use of source materials, and practical training involving manuscripts in the University Archives.

From Instructor: This course provides an introduction to Scottish history, its themes, debates, and sources. The period covered depends on the research interests of the students in the course. The course begins with an overview of Scottish history. Students will be introduced to the skills required to use Scottish primary sources and be given practical experience in using them, both in reading historic handwriting and in analyzing the sources. Drawing on primary source documents from the University of Guelph’s Scottish Collection, students will choose a particular document and present their findings to the class. The final part of the course examines particular themes and issues in Scottish history, with students being given the opportunity to relate their own thesis work to the issues under discussion if they wish. The themes chosen will depend on the research interests of the students. For example, a student working on Canadian urban history could examine Scottish urban history; a student working on the Scottish Wars of Independence could examine work on Anglo-Scottish relations in the Middle Ages. Among other potential topics are the history of crime, women’s history, religious history, crown-noble relations, the Reformation, and national identity.

Held as a hybrid course (online and in-person).

Summary course outline.



History of Sexuality and Gender

From calendar: This course will examine the history of gender and/or sexuality in different cultures, paying close attention to various theoretical approaches to understanding the history of gender and/or sexuality. The chronological and geographic focus of the course may vary according to the interests and expertise of the instructor.

From instructor: This course will be oriented towards primary source research.  Students will use periodicals to explore the history of gender and sexuality.  Most students will likely use the Women’s Magazine Archive, which includes magazines from the US and Canada, but students who study other parts of the world or more specialized topics and have periodicals available to them are welcome to use other sources.   The course will be a co-operative research course.  We will start with several weeks of common readings and then students will take the responsibility for leading individual weeks, assigning secondary and primary sources to their fellow students in collaboration with the professor.  The course will culminate with conference-style presentations on their research.

Held in person.

Summary course outline.



Health, Science, Medicine

From calendar: This course will examine the history of health, science, and medicine. Topics may include the histories of mental illness, epidemic diseases, disability, public health, or alternative medicine. It will address expert and popular constructions of health, illness and science.

From the instructor: This course will focus on the history of medicine, health, and disease in North American history through a close examination of the debates and themes that have shaped the history of medicine as a field. Our focus will be primarily on examples that cover the American context, but the Canadian sphere will be addressed as well. We will examine the changing ways in which historians have told the story of medicine, from triumphalist narratives of institutional and scientific progress to stories that recover the voices of patients and highlight the complex relations between medicine, society, and culture. Topics will include patient histories, scientific medicine, epidemic disease, the rise of the hospital system, mental hygiene movements, professionalization, medicine and politics, public health, psychiatry, global health, and the ways in which gender, race, and class intersect with medicine, health, and disease. Students will be evaluated according to seminar discussions and presentations, a peer review, and a historiographical essay. Prior experience in history of science and/or medicine is not necessary for success in this course.

Held in-person.

Summary course outline



Research Seminar on Canada's First Nations

This is a research seminar that follows HI625A Indigenous Peoples within Canada. HI625A is a prerequisite.

This course will build on the foundation of the reading seminar in fall semester. Students will be invited to design and complete their own research project related to the topic of Indigenous history in North America.

Held in-person.



Research Seminar on Russian History

This is a research seminar that follows HI652B Russian History: Russia and the great Soviet experiment (aka Stalin and his shadow). HI652A is a prerequisite.

Held in-person.



Research Seminar: War, Trauma, and History: From the Napoleonic Wars to the Vietnam Conflict

This is a research seminar that follows HI656P War, Trauma, and History: From the Napolenoic Wars to the Vietnam Conflict. HI656P is a prerequisite.

Held in-person.


HIST 610

War and Society in the 20th Century

From calendar: This course will explore the impact of twentieth century war on the English - speaking world, especially Canada. It will introduce students to the many ways in which historians have studied the First and Second World Wars, as well as other conflicts. Our seminar presentations and research papers will sample the 'old military history' of tactics and strategy, and we will also examine the 'new military history' that focuses on the social, economic and cultural impact of war.

Held in-person.


HIST 612

Global Indigenous Rights

From calendar: This course examines the historical and political contexts of Indigenous rights movements from around the world. It considers the histories of Indigenous-state relations and Indigenous assertions of rights and sovereignty through cultural, political, and legal means. We will discuss grassroots and global Indigenous rights movements and international efforts to address Indigenous aspirations and decolonization especially following WWII. Attention will be also paid to the formation of Indigenous organizations and the engagement of international forums (i.e., through the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples).

Held in-person.


HIST 620

Early Modern Europe

Held as remote-synchronous.


Fall 2023

All course descriptions provided by instructors should be considered provisional. You will receive an official description at the beginning of the Fall semester when you attend class.

Course number

Course Title and Description



Historiography 1

From Calendar: This course will introduce students to some of the essential components of the historical process. It will also assess history as a cognitive discipline in contemporary society. While the scope of the course may extend from ancient times to the present, emphasis on the historiography of particular periods may vary according to instructor expertise and student research needs.

Summary course outline (posted when available).



Scottish Highland and Lowland History

From Calendar: This course will introduce students to selected aspects of Scottish history and historiography considered from a Highlands perspective and a (sometimes significantly different) Lowlands perspective, including issues surrounding the selection and use of source materials, and provide practical training involving manuscripts in the University Archives.

Course synopsis from the instructor: In addition to the calendar description above, the professor states: This course places a strong emphasis on engaging with archival manuscript materials, and exploring their appraisals of cultures, economies, and natural environments in the Highlands and Lowlands.

Summary course outline.



Public History, Heritage, and Historical Consciousness

From Calendar: This seminar course will examine how history is displayed in public and the formation of historical consciousness. Areas of public history to be discussed may include digital history, museum exhibits, television and film productions, historical re-enactments, commemorations, celebrations, public holidays, monuments and historic sites.

From the instructor: This semester, as a case study, in the first half of the course we will examine public history, heritage, and historical consciousness in Las Vegas and southern Nevada, supported by key works of scholarly literature on the phenomenon in Canada and the US more broadly. In the second half of the semester, using the tools and insights developed earlier in the course, you will research and write about public history, heritage, and historical consciousness in a context crucial to your own historical thesis or Major Research Papaer (MRP) research.

Summary course outline.


HIST 601

Canadian History 1

From the instructor: In this course, students will examine some of the many genres of Canadian history and discuss their relevance to contemporary issues. Indeed, the selected historiographical topics speak to current national and international news headlines and trending Twitter hashtags. For example, environment, gender, Black, Indigenous, health and commemoration histories, among selected other fields, will provide an introduction to current scholarly literature and its applications. In addition to participation and leadership in the weekly in-person seminars, students will prepare a bibliographic proposal for an historiographical paper related to one of the course topics, and, after it has been approved, research and write an 18-20-page analysis, and present their findings in a class conference.


HIST 604

Theory and Practice of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency: Historical and Contemporary Issues

From Calendar: This seminar offers a comparative analysis of insurgency and counterinsurgency from the 19th century to the present. It examines resistance to foreign invaders in Europe, the century of rebellion in Mexico in 1810-1917, anti-colonial wars of national liberation, Marxist revolutionary movements in South-East Asia and Latin America, the upsurge of Islamic fundamentalism and urban guerrilla warfare. The course will focus on the sources of insurgencies, their nature and the support they drew from various social groups. In each case, the government's response will also be investigated. We will analyse theories of guerrilla thinkers and pacification models and pay particular attention to the gap between intended and actual policies, and the plight of civilians caught in crossfire.


HIST 605

Global Governance in Historical Perspective 

From Calendar: This course examines the various ways global actors have identified and tried to solve global problems in the twentieth century. We will study the interactions between international organizations, state actors, non-governmental organizations, and informal interest groups as they have confronted global issues such as war, immigration, international trade, human rights, and environmental and health crises.


HIST 627

Modern European History II

From the instructor: In this course, we will explore, through both text and visual media, central debates about the history of Communist East Germany, the Germany beyond the Berlin Wall that existed from 1949 to 1990. Students will become familiar with the standard works that have shaped the field and that have divided scholars into the ‘perfectly ordinary life’ vs. ‘totalitarian’ camps. Students will assess the degree to which the scholarly interpretation of East Germany is reflected in popular movies about the regime, which may include The Lives of Others, Good bye, Lenin!, and the TV series Weissensee. All material is in English or has English subtitles.


HIST 632

History of the United States 1

From the instructor: This Masters seminar focuses on the United States since 1945. It is intended to offer you a broad introduction to the graduate study of contemporary (i.e., Post-1945) American History.  I have three main goals in this course: to introduce you to key topics in recent U.S. history, and the methods, ideas, and disagreements that shape them; to cultivate the practice of critical reading, evaluation, and inquiry; and to help you write as clearly and economically as possible.



Indigenous Peoples within Canada

From Calendar: This course focuses on recent trends in the historiography of Indigenous peoples within Canada, from tales of since time immemorial to the (post) colonial gaze. A selected number of themes and approaches will be considered with special attention given to understanding how Indigenous History is (re)interpreted by a variety of disciplines and methodologies, and by both Indigenous and non-Indigenous historians.

Prerequisite for Winter's HI625B Canada's First Nations: Research Seminar



Russian History: Russia and the great Soviet experiment (aka Stalin and his shadow).

From Calendar: Studies in Russian and Soviet history with special emphasis on political and intellectual themes of the 19th and 20th centuries.

From the instructor: This seminar focuses on Stalin and his shadow in twentieth century Soviet/Russian history.  We will explore recent works on the tumultuous, tragic and transformative years of the Stalinist 1930s, but we will give equal attention to the best recent historiography on the Soviet Union after Stalin's death in 1953. Each week will focus on a new topic including potentially: Soviet High Politics, peasant “rebels” under Stalin, Lenin and a train trip that changed the world, the Soviet Gulag, the Leningrad blockade of World War Two, Soviet movies, Soviet youth and University-culture, Soviet workers, and, of course, Stalin.  These readings will set students up nicely for their individual research projects in the winter term.  A background in Soviet/Russian history is useful but by no means essential.

Prerequisite for Winter's HI652B Russian History: Research Seminar



Special Topic: War, Trauma, and History: From the Napolenoic Wars to the Vietnam Conflict

From the Instructor: This class will explore how various cultures and nations understood how the horrors of war shaped both soldiers and citizens for over 150 years. Through a number of applied case studies, students will be introduced to a number of theoretical and methodological approaches to the history of trauma. From nostalgia to shell shock to PTSD we will focus on the different ways societies have approached these topics, and how historians have explored such phenomenon. We will investigate evolving understandings of traumas, including the fact that not all traumas were recognized or valued. Assessments will consist of regular seminar participation, critical and historiographical papers.

Prerequisite for Winter's HI657L War, Trauma, and History: From the Napoleonic Wars to the Vietnam Conflict: Research Seminar