History is the study of past societies through the critical examination of available evidence, which includes text and objects.
Memorial's Department of History offers students the opportunity to learn about both the distant and recent past, by exploring a variety of different topics and themes. The courses are also designed to sharpen critical thinking skills and writing proficiency.
Below is a list of all History electives that anyone can register for, because they have no or just 1 prerequisite. For a complete list of our History courses, see the university calendar.
Critical Reading and Writing in Indigenous Studies
Critical Reading and Writing in Indigenous Studies features the analysis of scholarly literature, media, and other sources of knowledge related to Indigenous studies.
Students practice analytical reading and writing through class discussion and assignments related to Indigenous studies of both past and present. This course is a requirement for the Certificate in Indigenous Studies, and it follows Memorial’s Critical Reading and Writing Course Guidelines.
In these sections of the course the Indigenous studies material focuses on socio-cultural histories, institutions, and oral/traditional knowledges. All sections of this course follow Critical Reading and Writing Course Guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/crw.
Note: Same as Archaeology 1005, and the former HIST 1016
Critical Reading and Writing:
Themes in the History of Business
Critical Reading and Writing: Themes in the History of Business provides historical context to themes, keywords, and concepts in the global history of business primarily in the modern world. The course examines the long history of global trade, markets, the emergence of the corporation, and the policy and political contexts in which modern business developed.
The course uses case studies to illustrate historical trends and highlights the important conjunctures of commercial systems. One of the principal aims of History 1007 is to integrate both critical reading and writing skills into classroom activities and course work. All sections of this course follow Critical Reading and Writing Course Guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/crw.
Critical Reading and Writing:
The Medieval and Ancient World
Nationalism is a modern ideology that developed in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The medieval period of European history (or how it was imagined) played a pivotal role in how nationalists constructed their worldview. This course will explore how ethnic identities developed in late antiquity and the early Middle Ages, how these ideas unfolded in the high and late Middle Ages, and how a continuity of national history was constructed in the modern age. It will bring to light contradictions and anachronisms, and assess the transformation of group identities over the centuries.
In addition to this thematic approach to the study of medieval European history, students will also be introduced to the methodology and practical skills of research and writing in the discipline of history. Students will be expected to complete several small writing assignments which will culminate in one longer paper.
This course is designated as a Critical Reading and Writing (CRW) Course. A significant amount of class time will be spent in developing communication skills. Students will be guided in historical research and the preparation of written work, using library and other resources. In the process, participants will be introduced to the concepts, methods, and procedures used by professional historians. All sections of this course follow Critical Reading and Writing Course Guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/crw.
Critical Reading and Writing:
Each year in History 1010 we explore what belonging to an increasingly global world of commerce, conquest, and communication, meant for women and men – free, subjugated and enslaved – in the Americas, and how all were transformed in the process. Rather than a chronological history of the period, we will focus on piracy and smuggling in the Americas using historical sources such as court cases, newspapers, popular stories, and illustrations. We will also explore the changing ways in which pirates and smugglers have been portrayed in popular culture and what that might mean for understanding race, class, and gender in the early modern world. With the lines between the domestic and the international, the economic and the political, and between state and non-state authority so often blurred in the early modern Americas, what was an act of war and what was a crime? What jurisdictional ambiguities within their own political and legal institutions were faced by European states resulting from claims of sovereignty in the Atlantic?
The course will end with the “war” against piracy and illicit multinational trade as we explore what the suppression of previously tolerated behaviours tells us about the changing nature of imperial authority and state sovereignty in the Atlantic. All sections of this course follow Critical Reading and Writing Course Guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/crw.
Critical Reading and Writing:
In 1750 most of the world lived in a manner that few of us would recognize; by 1914 the modern world that we know today had begun to take shape. History 1101 will provide a thematic introduction to the history of Europe and the wider world, and will include the following topics: industrialization, revolution, nationalism, imperialism and international relations. All sections of this course follow Critical Reading and Writing Course Guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/crw.
Critical Reading and Writing:
The Twentieth Century
The twentieth century was characterized by severe social change as capitalism and industrialization spread from Western Europe and North America to other parts of the globe. This course provides an overview of the major events that helped shape the century.
The course will pay particular attention to major categories of historical analysis such as class, race, gender, and sexuality. It will also introduce students to the critical analysis of primary and secondary sources. All sections of this course follow Critical Reading and Writing Course Guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/crw.
Critical Reading and Writing: Canada
This course will analyze several of the major events in Canadian History through the lens of human relationships to the environment. The course will focus on major themes such as the environmental changes associated with European colonization, the environmental impact of military conflict, the ecological transformation of the Prairie West, and the management of specific resources such as fisheries, forests, and wildlife. One key goal of the course is to provide students with the research and writing skills necessary to prepare a research essay. All sections of this course follow Critical Reading and Writing Course Guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/crw.
Critical Reading and Writing: The United States
America on Film: Representing Race, Class, Gender, and Sexuality
HIST 1014 examines 20th century US history, culture, and society through the lens of mainstream American films. Specifically, we will analyze how popular feature-length motion pictures have represented such categories of historical analysis as race, class, gender, and sexuality. This course also serves as an HSS Critical Reading and Writing (CRW) course. Therefore, as we explore American history and cinema, we will also devote a significant amount of class time developing reading, research, and writing skills.
The instructor will guide students in matters relating to historical inquiry, namely primary and secondary sources, the nature of historical interpretation, conventions of writing history, and methods of historical research using the library and other resources. All sections of this course follow Critical Reading and Writing Course Guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/crw.
Events that Changed the World:
An Introduction to History
This course presents history as a way of understanding how and why human communities and societies change. Through an exploration of a series of transformative events, students will learn about historical change, how it can be studied, and why events can be interpreted in various manners. Contents will vary depending on the area of specialization of the instructor.
History of Science and Technology
At a time when society places such high regard on science and technology it is worthwhile to step back and consider exactly what it is that is so highly valued. This course asks students to consider what 'science' and 'technology' means and has meant in the past and how those definitions have change over time. How is scientific knowledge created? How are the implications of introducing new technology assessed? What responsibility do scientists have for how their knowledge and discoveries are used? What limits ought to be placed on the introduction of new technologies and by whom? Should governments, scientists, engineers, corporations, or the public have the final say on how innovations are introduced into society? Who benefits from new technologies and who are disadvantaged by them and why? We also examine the ethical dilemmas that some innovations have caused and the reasons for them.
History of War and Society to 1789
The classical Athenian philosopher Plato supposedly wrote that ‘Only the dead have seen the end of war’—and from antiquity up until the late eighteenth century, he might have been right. The world, Europe especially, was an astonishingly violent place. From the horrors of ancient and medieval battlefields like Cannae and Hattin, to the stresses that that conflict placed on pre-modern, agrarian societies and religious worship, warfare was a fact of life.
This course examines warfare from antiquity to about the time of the French revolution, with an emphasis on how warfare has impacted societies, culture, technology and science, politics, and the economy. Note: Same as the former HIST 3050
History of War and Society from 1789 to the Present
Ernest Hemingway, the renowned American author and journalist, once said, ‘They wrote in the old days that it is sweet and fitting to die for one’s country. But in modern war, there is nothing sweet nor fitting in your dying. You will die like a dog for no good reason.’
From the French Revolution and the Napoleonic Wars to the First and Second World Wars, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq, warfare in the modern period has been unlike anything that came before it. Mass armies have marched across the battlefield, city-destroying atomic weapons have been dropped from the sky, insurgent warfare has been fought in the streets, and terrorism has targeted civilians and everyday life. This course charts the rise of total war from the end of the eighteenth century until the present – a period of astonishing invention and change – with an emphasis on how war has impacted society, culture, technology, science, politics, and the economy. All sections of this course follow International Studies guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/IS.
Note: Same as the former HIST 3060
Seafaring Places and Seafaring Peoples
This general survey of maritime history will focus on the Portuguese and Dutch Empires in the Indian Ocean and Southeast Asia in the 1500s and 1600s. How were these overseas activities related to state formation in Europe? What is the current state of the long debate about how to explain the emergence of global European maritime empires? What was the relationship between European encounters in Asia and in the Americas? How did Europeans and those indigenous to the area each understand their maritime encounters? What was the relative contribution to European maritime power of new modes of organizing force and commerce and of reducing labour and transportation costs? How do concepts such as commodity, entrepreneurship, civility, power and profit need to be re-thought in the context of cultural interaction across the oceans? What role did coastal zones play in early modern history?
The Atlantic Slave Trade
Of all those who travelled from the Old World to the Americas between 1492 and 1820 roughly 4 out of 5 were enslaved Africans transported in a vast trade that was both methodical and opportunistic. Once largely ignored by historians as a side story unrelated to larger themes in the emergence of the modern Western world, the largest forced oceanic migration in world history is now understood to be central to most of those developments. We are now in the unexpected position of knowing more about the forced migrations of Africans to the Americas than we do about the experiences and immediate circumstances of the transoceanic passages of the bulk of European indentured servants, youths, convicts and soldiers who crossed the ocean in that period. This survey course takes a comparative and thematic approach to the study of the transatlantic slave trade and introduces students to the variety of slave societies created in the Americas. Slavery was an international institution and this course necessarily takes a transnational approach to the history of the slave trade as we examine processes of enslavement, commodification, shipboard resistance, sale and adaptation, and the international movement to abolish the slave trade. The lectures will examine the history of the transatlantic slave trade from 1503 to the abolition of the legal slave trade to Brazil in 1851.
Modern Latin American History
The aim of History 2150 is to introduce students to some of the major themes and problems in the history of Latin America during the post-independence or modern period. The course will proceed both thematically and chronologically, beginning with the Bourbon Reforms of the late-colonial period and continuing through the independence era of the 1820s. We will examine the post-colonial troubles that blighted the nineteenth century as liberal-minded individuals and movements attempted to establish modern nation-states and economies, as well as the opposition they faced by traditional elements such as the landed oligarchy and Catholic Church. Considerable attention will be placed on questions of race, religion, science, gender, sexuality, urbanization, and modernity. The material covered in the twentieth century will range from the Mexican Revolution, Brazilian and Argentine populism, and Tricontinentalism to the history of rock ‘n roll in the River Plate region, soccer in South America, and Cuban film.
Making Canada: Canadian History to 1867
This course introduces you to the major themes and problems in the history of what now makes up Canada, from the last ice age until the integration of Rupert’s Land into the Dominion of Canada in the late nineteenth century. The course is divided into four major blocks: Indigenous peoples of Canada and the European invasion; agriculture in New France and British North America; pre-industrial urban life in British North America; and industrialisation, confederation and empire.
The assigned readings available through the library have been selected to highlight the changing ways we think about the past. We will be discussing these readings in the Thursday classes. You will have to write a one-paragraph statement in your own words of both the historical and the historiographical arguments of each assigned reading. These statements are due on the Tuesday following our Thursday discussion. You are also to write two, 750-word, critical reviews, one drawn from the first six readings and the other from the last six readings. For the articles you choose to review, you do not have to submit statements of the argument, however, I strongly recommend that you do so anyway, so that benefiting from my comments you may write a better review.
This term we will be using the free online textbook edited by John Belshaw for the Open University of British Columbia. The textbook focuses more on history than historiography, whereas in my lectures I will be paying special attention to questions of method and interpretation. For as we think differently about the past, we change the ways we study it. Discussions of the textbook readings will take place primarily through our course web site. Each week I will pose questions to help get the discussions going. I will be monitoring the exchanges and your participation in both the in-class and online discussions will be the basis for my assessment of your class participation mark.
Modern Canada: Canadian History Since 1867
Although a survey of the main events, trends, and problems in Canadian history since Confederation, this course will emphasize certain themes. These include centralization and territorial expansion; industrialization and urbanization; immigration and migration; Canada in war; and the rise of the interventionist state in these in these themes. It will study the reactions of regions, First Nations, and other social groups to these themes and policies.
Early Modern European History, 1500-1789
This is perhaps the most dynamic periods in European history (although historians of other periods will probably disagree). The theme of this course is conflict (broadly defined) and the search for order in early modern Europe. It is primarily focussed on examining the causes and consequences of animosities that arose within families, and between them and the communities in which they lived. For example, new economic processes and exploration created opportunities for some while causing anxiety and discomfort for others. We also examine the tension between old and new beliefs regarding the workings of the world and the human body. New explanations for famines, misfortune and disease arose but could not easily displace more entrenched ones. Finally, this was a period in which new knowledge was created and we will try to explain how this process occurred. Major military conflicts during this period will be touched upon but primarily to investigate their implications for the non-combatants.
Europe in the Nineteenth Century, 1789-1914
The period from 1815-1914 often has been called Europe’s “greatest century” because its hegemony in the world was largely unchallenged and because of its tremendous economic growth. Notwithstanding Europe’s international stature, large sections of Europe’s population failed to receive any significant benefits from it and remained markedly unimpressed about the age in which they lived. This course examines the industrial and social ‘revolutions’ of the nineteenth century to assess how the major political, economic, cultural and social forces impacted upon various segments of society -- particularly the working class, the poor, and the sick.
Medieval Europe to the Eleventh Century
This course will cover the period between Late Antiquity and the eleventh century, and will introduce students to the rise of medieval Europe. This will be done through lecture and discussion of a number of topics, including the rise of Christianity in the Roman Empire, the cult of the saints, the end of the Roman Empire, the development of monasticism and the rise of the Papacy. We will examine both written and physical primary sources in order to illustrate how medieval historians construct the history of the period. Note: Same as the former HIST 2030, Medieval Studies 2001
Medieval Europe Since the Eleventh Century
This course is an introduction to the history of Europe in the high and late Middle Ages.
Topics covered will include knighthood and courtly culture, the building of castles and cathedrals, the rise of urban communes, the Crusades, as well as religious and cultural unity and diversity. The course aims at providing foundational knowledge about a formative period of European history, and at developing skills of critical thinking through the analysis of primary sources in translation.
Note: Same as the former HIST 2030, Medieval Studies 2002
European Urban History
This course studies the process of urbanisation and the multiple functions that towns and cities performed from the medieval period into the mid-twentieth century. As such they represent a variety of things to urban residents, rural inhabitants, and social critics. To some, they are proof of the positive growth of the modern state by combining bureaucratic growth and economic dominance. To the individual, urban centres offer the opportunity for personal freedom and employment. Others envision these places as the epitome of human decadence characterised by filth, poverty, and immorality.
Among the topics discussed are the locations and functions of these centres, the evolution and rationalisation of urban space, perceptions of the city and city life, the growth of urban culture, the social and demographic impact of urban life on individuals and families, the ’boosterism’ of the nineteenth century and the consequences of urban growth in the recent past.
Europe in the Twentieth Century
This course examines social, economic, and political changes from 1918 to the present, including the collapse of monarchies, the emergence of mass politics, fascism and totalitarianism, World War II, post-war reconstruction and the welfare state, European integration, and Europe in the post-war economic and political order.
The lectures are organized around a number of themes that run through the course. The main
- The changing nature of cleavages in society and how they have shaped national politics.
- Is there one European social economic model or many?
- The changing role of nationalism as a political force nationally and internationally.
- The evolution of the concept of state: are European states still strong, obsolete, or trans formed?
- How has Europe’s external influence changed?
Note: Same as the former European Studies 2000, the former Political Science 2350, the former Political Science 2990
Global History to 1945
This course covers the first half of the twentieth century, a period described by historian Eric Hobsbawm as “the Age of Extremes.”
In particular, it focuses on the legacy of the nineteenth century and the so-called Belle Époque, which it places in relation to the rise of “new” imperialism as Europe asserted its colonial supremacy over Africa and Asia, and the United States dominated much of the Western Hemisphere. It also considers the rise of mass warfare, totalitarianism, and global economic crisis. The material discussed—from consumer culture and fascism to colonial rule and socialism—will provide a broad survey of world history from the turn of the century until the Cold War and era of decolonization. All sections of this course follow International Studies guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/IS.
Note: Same as the former HIST 3700
Global History Since 1945
This course will examine some of the major trends in world history between 1945 and 2000, with particular emphasis on international relations and the emergence of a global economy. Topics to be covered include the creation of the United Nations and the Bretton Woods economic system, the Cold War rivalry between the super-powers, decolonisation and neo-colonialism, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the wars in Vietnam and Afghanistan, the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the rise of “globalization.” All sections of this course follow International Studies guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/IS.
Note: Same as the former HIST 3710
History of the United States of America to 1865
This is an asynchronous online survey of the history of the United States of America from the Columbian Exchange through the Civil War. It focuses on the following themes:
- the complex societies and cultures (Indigenous peoples, Europeans, and Africans) within North America and the various ways they lived and interacted
- technological development and territorial expansion
- the contested ideas about free and unfree labour systems
- the formation of American institutions – political, economic, religious, and cultural – and how they affected different groups
Note: Same as the former HIST 3230
History of the United States of America Since 1865
This is an award-winning asynchronous online survey that offers an overview to the history of the United States from the end of the Civil War through the Obama Administration. Throughout the semester, we will focus on the following themes:
- Industrialization, economic expansion, and American imperialism
- The birth of mass/popular culture and subsequent hierarchies of culture industries
Historical formation of social movements, including racial, ethnic, gendered, labour, and sexual
Note: Same as the former HIST 3240
 Excellence and Innovation in the Integration of Technology, Higher Education, “HIST 2610: USA History since 1865,” Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (2018).
Women’s History: The Gendered Past
This course introduces students to the field of gender history through a chronological and thematic survey of gender histories from the French Revolution to the present. Students will examine the construction of gender identities, gender inequalities, and gendered experiences and their intersection with sexuality, war and genocides, race and racism, medicine, and empire. The provisional syllabus for HIST 2760 is found at the end of this document.
Indigenous Peoples and Colonialism
This course will examine the history of colonialism on several continents – notably the Americas and Australia – as well as throughout Oceania (New Zealand, Hawaii, and other islands) and provides an overview of Indigenous experiences with colonialism on a global scale. Particular attention will be paid to the perspectives of Indigenous peoples as they negotiated and
contested myriad roles in their relationships with Europeans. All sections of this course follow International Studies guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/IS.
An examination of the development and role of the manuscript book during the Middle Ages. Topics covered will include book production and dissemination; authors, scribes and audiences; and various kinds of books (e.g. glossed Bibles, anthologies, books of hours, etc.) and their uses.
Note: Same as English 3002, Medieval Studies 3000, Religious Studies 3000
Medieval Europe in a Global Perspective
Several accounts of medieval Europeans who came into contact with the populations of the European peripheries or of other continents have been preserved. This course will study some of these accounts. It will investigate the roles of long-distance travel, exploration, and encounters with foreign societies in medieval European history. Participants in the course will inquire into the reactions of medieval Europeans who migrated, traveled, and encountered distant and little known civilizations. A special emphasis will be put on the Norse settlement of Iceland and Greenland, on the subsequent exploration in North America, as well as on travel accounts of Europeans who sojourned in Asia in the age of the Mongol Empire. Students will be requested to read translations of the Vínland Sagas and of the account of William of Rubruck, a Franciscan friar who traveled to the court of the Mongol Khan in the thirteenth century, and to write analytical commentaries of these sources. Lectures and discussion will provide background and methodological information necessary for the critical analysis of the sources, with the aim of facilitating individual reflection.
The course examines the history of human relationships to the natural environment. The focus of the course is the history of environmental changes caused by humans, and the reciprocal influence of the natural environment on human cultures and societies. Case Studies will introduce patterns of ecological change associated with broad historical transformations such as colonialism, military conflict, natural disasters, suburban development, the human use of fire, the development of world economies, etc. Students will engage with material from a variety of geographic regions. The course will also introduce students to the history of the conservation and environmental movement in North America. All sections of this course follow International Studies guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/IS.
History of Newfoundland to 1815
This course examines the lives of peoples who lived and used the island of Newfoundland and the coast of Labrador during the period that it was at the center of a North Atlantic economy. Using archaeological and documentary evidence it surveys the Indigenous peoples who moved in at the end of the ice age, to the Viking camp at Lance aux Meadows, the competition and war of the international fishery, and the foundation of colonies. The course describes the international fishery, and how the British came to dominate the trade. Attention will be paid to the origins of settlement, relations between masters and servants, and ways to enforce the law.
Modern Newfoundland Since 1815
This course covers the development of a Newfoundland and Labrador culture and society. It shows the adaptation of cultures and ways of life as people adopted to the local environment and their place in the North Atlantic economy. It surveys the development of natural resources and the conflict between religious denominations as people in the nineteenth century tried to find ways to govern themselves. Ecological and economic challenges prompted experimentation in new technologies and forms of government. The course examines the collapse of self-government and the movement for confederation.
Black History in Canada
This course is a survey of topics such as slavery in Canada, the Black loyalists, immigration, police brutality, and African Canadian cultural history.
Christianity and the Roman Empire
The history of Christianity within the Roman Empire can be characterized as one of cultural interaction. Although Christianity began as a Jewish sect in Palestine in the first century CE, it spread throughout the Roman world very quickly, primarily by means of the extensive Roman trade networks. This course will begin with the origins of Christianity and follow its arrival in, and adaptation to, Roman society. Among other topics, we will look at how Christianity was viewed by non-Christians, how it differed in Rome and in the provinces, and how and why it eventually became the predominant religion within the Roman Empire.
The course will conclude with the Emperor Justinian in the early sixth century. One of the major objectives of this course will be to introduce students to the analysis of both the written and physical evidence for the history of Christianity within the Roman Empire. Note: Same as Classics 3270, Medieval Studies 4300, Religious Studies 3270.
German History I, to the Mid-Nineteenth Century
The primary goal of this course is to examines the major events and trends of the early modern German states and the impact they had on the people living in them. Some of the topics include the Reformation and Counter-Reformation, witchcraft trials, the Peasant Wars, Seventeenth-Century Crisis including the Thirty Years' War, the growth of towns and state bureaucracies, the gradual transformation from a primarily agricultural to a nascent industrial economy at least in some states, and the spread of the French Revolution into German speaking lands. The primary focus is on the impact of these events and processes on the average person. This course also introduces students to the 'history of everyday life' and asks them to assess the utility of such an approach to historical analysis.
German History II, Since the Mid-Nineteenth Century
The history of German-speaking Central Europe since the middle of the nineteenth century. The course will focus on the problem of continuity and discontinuity in the development of modern Germany from the German Confederation, the Second Reich, and theWeimar Republic to the Third Reich, the division of Germany, and the reunification in 1990. Special attention will be given to the Third Reich.
History of the British Empire and Commonwealth Since 1815
The process of British imperialism from 1815-2004. The first part of the course examines the various phases of empire up until World War II (mid-Victorian informal empire, the partition of Africa, the political development of the white commonwealth) and patterns of colonial policy. The second part of the course focuses on the themes of decolonisation (especially wars of liberation), race and sexuality. Parts one and two will be examined separately.
Tudor and Stuart Britain, 1485-1714:
Reformation, Renaissance, and Revolution
The Tudors claimed to have saved the British Isles from chaos and conflict, and to have ushered in an age of stability and growth. While Tudor claims can be questioned, the period 1485-1714 saw the profound transformation of a medieval kingdom into an early modern island nation. We will look at the evolving monarchy, regional distinctions, unification, social and economic change, opposition political culture, rural development, urbanization, industrialization, and the claims making that undergirded these transformations. Although the emphasis is on domestic developments within the British Isles, the origins, implications, and transformations of imperial and foreign policy will also be addressed. This course places heavy emphasis on readings for, and oral participation in, the weekly seminars, as we explore the role of changing historical interpretation in transforming perspectives on the past.
British History Since 1714
British history reaches out to this province as the visit of Royal family members this summer showed. Media reports of the Cupids celebrations made much of historical connections between Newfoundland, Labrador and the British monarchy. In this course you will be reminded that there are key connections, but you will have the opportunity to ask why some of your ancestors left that part of the world that was becoming its wealthiest.
In the course of the eighteenth century Britain emerged as the ‘first industrial nation’. In the nineteenth century it consolidated this position at the same time as enlarging its overseas possessions. At home urban development created opportunities and problems, and social relations took the forms which we describe as modern: race, gender and class were articulated together, and, for the longest time, a Queen sat on the throne.
A background in British history is not necessary for joining this class. But two things would be useful: first, a curiosity about why so small a geographical area became so important in the modern period; and second, an interest in using original source material to grasp what is different about the past.
Indigenous History to 1763
The course examines Indigenous history in North America, including the Innu, Inuit, Beothuk and Mi’kmaq, from before European contact to the Royal Proclamation of 1763.
Particular attention will be paid to historical encounters framed by first contacts, cultural exchange, trade, disease, religious encounters, conflict and diplomacy, and territorial encroachment. In this examination, we will attempt to contextualize the histories of Settler-Indigenous contact in North America and consider how past interpretations shape modern interactions. Note: Same as Anthropology 3520, Archaeology 3520
Indigenous History From 1763
This course will examine Aboriginal History in Turtle Island (North America) from 1763 to the present. Topics include: military encounters, resistance, treaties, policy, education, health, activism, Indigenization, and reconciliation.
Note: Same as Anthropology 3525, Archaeology 3525
The Modern Middle East
This course looks at the Middle East from the nineteenth century, a time of cosmopolitan Ottoman rule, up to and including the twenty-first century, a time of political fragmentation and bitter ethno-religious conflict. Along the way this course will cover the legacy of the Ottoman Empire and Ottomanism, the effects of European involvement in the region, the rise of pan-Arab nationalism and Zionism, the impact of the First World War, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and the emergence of radical Islamist movements such as Hamas and ISIS.
The Early Modern Caribbean
The late West Indian journalist C.L.R. James once said that the Caribbean “is in but not of the West”; the sociologist Orlando Patterson called the Caribbean a “monstrous distortion of human society.” The Caribbean region has been characterized historically by inequality, forced cultural change, inexorable newness, creolization, heterogeneity, small and open economies, persistent transnational ties, and by histories of ongoing migration. What were the ecological and cultural changes resulting from the rapid and near total removal of indigenous populations, from the transition to plantation monocultures, and from the importation of successive waves of coerced labourers? How did colonizing states perceive and represent the Caribbean as both region and as an idealized location of sensual and aesthetic pleasures, and eventually as the site of “creolean despotism”? How did the Caribbean, as the site of Europe’s first lasting New World settlements, the persistent source of European wealth, and one of the horizons of “the West’s” self-perception, come to be displaced from European ideas of imagined imperial communities? The Caribbean was the first region in the Americas to be introduced to the trinity of slavery, sugarcane, and the plantation system – and nowhere else was it more intensely experienced or systematically developed - how was the world changed as a result?
War and Society in Colonial North America
Examines the struggle for empire and nationhood from the arrival of Europeans to the withdrawal of British forces from Canada in 1870. The course will take a comparative approach to examining war’s effect on social, economic, and political developments in what is now Canada, focusing on specific conflicts and themes such as the struggle for empire, the military as an institution, gender, class, ethnicity, and memory.
Navies and Societies Since 1650
This class will trace the development of the concept of the professional navy alongside the creation and growth of the European state and the expansion of overseas empires, focusing on the British Royal Navy from the Stuart Restoration, 1660, to the conclusion of the First World War, 1918. We will investigate what makes a navy, how the concept changed over time, and the global forces that necessitated the growth of naval power and the rise of maritime conflict over this period. In addition to approaching naval history as a military subject, we will also consider the social and cultural impact of war at sea, including the labour and lives of naval seafarers, the use of navies in the pursuit of knowledge, territory, and trade commodities, and the role of navies as imperial police and administrators. This course will consider a broad range of naval subjects beyond officers and ratings, including marines, the families of naval seafarers, port-side merchants, dockyard and medical workers, and administrators. The goal of this course is to reconceptualize the Royal Navy as a network of ships, dockyards, and administrative infrastructure that linked Europe to the wider world through labour, capital, science and military force.
North Atlantic Seafaring to 1850
This course explores the maritime history of the North Atlantic during the period 1600 to 1850 with a particular focus on mariners employed in the slave trade and on Black mariners. We will look at three aspects of the maritime world beginning with recruitment and socialization at sea, including aspects of ethnicity and race among seafarers and the impact of industrialization. Then, in exploring the interactions of seafarers with shore-based communities, we will look at credit, employment, gender, and performance. We will then explore interpretations of maritime labour and working-class formation at sea.
Social History of Alcohol
All of us know about alcohol either through personal experience or through information garnered from peers, advertisements, newspapers, and government sources. There has hardly been any product that has attracted such widespread attention from those on the one hand trying to regulate or prohibit its consumption, and those on the other hand who want, for whatever reason, to consume it. This course examines the various conflicts between these two camps and the reasons behind them. It is, then, not a 'how-to' guide to the production of alcohol but rather an investigation into the numerous meanings attached to it and the various ways historians and others have examined and interpreted alcohol consumption. Although we certainly will explore who drank what, where they drank it and why, the goal is to identify what alcohol and alcohol consumption 'meant' in the societies where it was consumed. The course focuses on Europe from approximately 1600 onwards but we will also discuss patterns of alcohol consumption and attempts to prevent it in North America.
Women in Medieval Europe, 500-1500
Medieval Europe has produced narratives portraying powerful and active women, as well as treatises advocating strident misogyny. This course examines these contradictions and the diverse ways medieval Europeans understood what it meant to be a woman or a man. Beginning with the social and cultural foundations laid in the Roman Empire of late antiquity and continuing to the late Middle Ages, change and continuity in interactions between men and women over the centuries will be studied, as well as challenges provided by social norms and ways to get around them. The varying influences of religious beliefs and social values will be discussed. Topics studied include fasting saints, female “popes,” changing notions of the physical differences between the sexes, attitudes towards gender roles, and the interplay between sexuality and religion. Exemplary excerpts of historical documents (in translation) will be presented in class and discussed in tutorials and personalized assignments.
Reel American History:
United States History through its Films, 1895-1945
Interprets narrative films as historical evidence to shed light on shifts in American culture and society during the first half of the twentieth century. It studies how US motion pictures reflect and shape the historical contexts in which they were produced and consumed, as well as examines the impact of film on US society and culture. Rather than presenting an exhaustive survey of American film history, it critically evaluates and analyses a series of benchmark films produced and marketed in the United States between the 1890s and the Second World War. IN the process, it considers the emergence of the US film industry and explores cinema’s production practices, technological innovations, and stylistic attributes.
Reel American History:
United States History through its Films Since WWII
This course examines American films against the backdrop of major political, economic, social, and cultural changes occurring in the second half of the twentieth century. We will study how American motion pictures reflect the historical moments in which they were produced and consumed, and discuss the impact of film on American society and culture. Rather than presenting an exhaustive survey of film history, we will critically evaluate and analyze a series of benchmark feature films produced and marketed in the United States in the second half of the twentieth century. In this process, we also will investigate the decline of the studio system and the restructuring of the American film industry in the postwar period and beyond.
History of Modern Revolutions
This course is devoted primarily to examining the causes and results of many of the major revolutions of the modern and contemporary periods. It begins by examining the French Revolution of 1789 and explores the ways historians and others have tried to make sense of this tumultuous event and why it has often been seen as the quintessential revolution of all time. We then move into examining the major revolutions of the 20th century particularly in Latin America but also elsewhere. How have revolutions been defined and what criteria have been used to determine if they were successful or not? Although much of the course will be devoted to studying some of the major political revolutions of the twentieth century, we will also explore the causes and consequences of various social, cultural, and economic revolutions that have occurred during this period. These include the student revolts of the 1960s, the women’s rights’ movement, and the ramifications of global economies upon the populations of underdeveloped countries.
There are two primary goals of this course. The first is to enable students to assess the applicability and limitations of various theories of revolutions and methods to examine them. The second goal is to provide students with the opportunity to study and consider the implications of these revolutions on the people who lived through them.
The World at War, 1914-18
World War I was a cataclysmic event. The ‘Great War’, as it was known in the English- speaking world, caused death and destruction on a previously unprecedented scale, leaving around fourteen million soldiers and civilians dead. The war also led to military, technological, and medical advancements, the end of centuries-old empires, and a new period of politics in which internationalism, socialism, and fascism all competed. Yet World War I was not confined to Europe. In North and East Africa, the Middle East, and the Caucasus, the war led to military occupation and, in some places, famine, as well as decades of post-war European rule. There were, in short, few places the war didn’t touch.
To make sense of the war and how it shaped much of the twentieth century, this course examines World War I in historical perspective, with an emphasis on the war’s global nature. All sections of this course follow International Studies guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/IS.
The World at War: 1939-45
The Second World War marked an end to twenty years of a broad European peace and, in many ways, a reversal of the international political order established after the First World War.
To make sense of the war – how it was partly shaped by the first half of the twentieth century and how it shaped the second half of the twentieth century – this course examines the conflict from a social, economic, political, and cultural perspective, with an emphasis on the war’s global nature.
The Menace of Progress: Colonialism and the Making of the Modern World (HIST 3811)
By the mid-twentieth century, the interrelated ideas of progress and development had been widely accepted by individuals, movements, and states of various ideological convictions. The Menace of Progress seeks to trace the origins of these ideas (and the related concepts of civilization, improvement, and enlightenment) by considering their relationship to the history of colonialism and the emergence of the modern world. Topics include: the myth of the European Miracle, the creation of overseas empire, the transatlantic slave trade, sugar plantations in the Caribbean Basin, enclosure, criminalization of the poor, the emergence of capitalism, the making of the Third World, and others. All sections of this course follow International Studies guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/IS.
A History of Central Europe: the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, and Hungary (HIST 3819)
This course will focus on the historical origins of former Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland which were formed from the ashes of the Austro-Hungarian, German and Russian empires at the end of the First World War. The course will follow the development of each country from a democracy to in some cases a dictatorship, internal minority problems, international relations, the Second World War and Holocaust, post-World War II period, Soviet take-overs and each country’s attempts to escape Communism. Special emphasis will be given to the events leading up to the present crises and difficult situations created by the end of the Soviet Russian Empire and the emergence of a new Russia.
The Roma of Central and Eastern Europe
An examination of the history of the Roma, or Gypsies of Eastern Europe and Russia, from the Middle Ages to the present. The aim of the course is to introduce students to the history and culture of the Romas and to explore the prejudice and mistreatment that is so much a part of the Gypsies’ tragic history. Although a considerable amount of study has been done on Gypsy linguistics and socioanthropological questions, the actual history of the people has not been studied critically. This course looks at the Roma historically as a separate ethnic minority and as an integral part of the societies and nations where they dwelt. This will include a study of the Romas’ complex interrelationships with non-gypsies throughout Eastern Europe and Russia. It will also devote special attention to their tragic fate as victims of Nazi genocide in World War II and their present struggle to survive and participate in the social and political contexts in which they live. This will also include a look at the contributions which the Roma have made to the history, culture, music and literature of the region. Methods used include lecture, discussion, films and music.
Urbanization and Environment in Medieval Europe
This course examines the phenomenon of urbanization in medieval Europe in connection with the natural environment. The course will discuss the specific features of medieval European urbanization while paying attention to the impact of urbanization on the environment, and on urban solutions to environmental problems.
The Uses of Writing in Medieval Europe
“Printing succeeded [in the fifteenth century] because a literate public already existed; that public originated in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries.” (M. T. Clanchy)
This seminar course will explore how this medieval literate public became a social reality and how, before the age of printing, the uses of writing affected medieval Europeans. The ways in which messages could be delivered through a variety of media will be studied: written documents, inscriptions, rituals, symbolic objects, non-verbal communication.
Using resources from Memorial University Libraries Special Collections, a special focus will be put on the study of charters and related documents, since these became the most ubiquitous forms of writing cir culating in the high and late Middle Ages. The specific methods of their interpretation will be discussed.
This is a seminar course and the learning process will take place primarily through active participation in discussion, readings, and presentations. In addition, each participant will be expected to devise and realize an individual research project.
Religion and Society in the Late Antique and Early Medieval Periods (HIST 4003)
In order to fully understand the role of religion in the society of the early middle ages, it is necessary to look at a range of written and physical evidence. Written accounts provide evidence for the elite view of religion and the politics associated with the church in the early medieval period, while material evidence often helps us understand how religion functioned in individual societies. We will approach the broad topic of religion and society through an in-depth analysis of the historiography and material culture of the late antique and early medieval period. We will focus on Late Roman and early Byzantine society in the centers of Milan, Aquileia, Ravenna, and Constantinople, and we will look at such topics as the status of women, the cult of the saints, monasticism, and pilgrimage.
Nature and Culture in Medieval Europe
This course will introduce learners, through readings and discussion, to the expanding field of the environmental history of medieval Europe. Participants will study how medieval Europeans conceived of the interrelationship between natural environment and human communities, as well as how the impact of human activities on the environment can be reconstructed. While the course will invite reflection on the input of several disciplines in the field of environmental history, the emphasis will be on the contribution of historical research to an interdisciplinary scholarly dialogue. This is a seminar course and a strong emphasis will be put on active participation in class discussion, as well as on the realization of individual research projects.
The History of Environmental Ideas in Canada and the United States (HIST 4125)
This course will survey major philosophical, scientific, and popular ideas of nature in Canada and the United States during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Students will examine key historical manifestations of environmental thought such as romanticism, the wilderness idea, ecofeminism, deep ecology, and social ecology. Students will also be exposed to important voices from social groups who are often marginalized in environmental debates such as African-Americans, Aboriginal people, and the working class.
Topics in United States Film and History
This course explores selected themes in the relationship between the American cinema and American national culture. Topics will vary from year to year, but may include the study of a particular period in US film and history; an examination of how filmic representations of race, class, gender, and/or sexuality have changed over time in connection to broader historical shifts; or, the historical analysis of a particular genre as a way to understand shifting cultural and social values within the United States. Prerequisite: Any 2000, 3000, or 4000 level course in U.S. History or Film Studies
The North American Frontier
The idea of “frontier” regions has figured prominently in the ways men and women have understood themselves and their relationships to the territories they inhabit in settler societies. This course considers central ways in which the idea of the frontier has figured into North American history (a history that includes historians themselves). It does so by exploring case studies and through placing North America and North Americans within a broader context of frontier history.
Topics in U.S.-Canadian Relations
This seminar examines U.S.-Canadian relations from the American Revolution to the present. Beyond considering the more ‘formal’ ties between Canada and the United States from a historical perspective, such as military and diplomatic interactions, we will explore economic, social, and cultural aspects of bilateral relations: trade and investment, migration patterns, the environment, and cultural exchange/convergence.
Topics in U.S. Cultural History
Explores selected themes in U.S. cultural history. Topics will vary from year to year, but may include historical approaches to such popular art forms as vaudeville, amusements parks, film, popular music, comics, television, gaming, and spectator sports.
Slavery and Resistance in the Atlantic World
This seminar focuses on the extraordinary history of race and slavery in colonial Louisiana under three empires. Culturally an outlier of the Caribbean, New Orleans was both a major port in the transatlantic slave trade and the anchor of a creole corridor of French trading posts up the Mississippi River. The bodies of enslaved African-Americans sold at auctions in New Orleans were profound symbols of the calculus of the urban marketplace: commodities bought and sold seemingly at the farthest remove from the planter myth of paternalism. Yet at the same time, New Orleans fostered one of the earliest, largest and most prosperous free African American communities on the continent. In this seminar we will explore how freedom and slavery were held in uneasy balance by a complex array of social, legal, and cultural accommodations. In thinking about the historical evolution of race relations, we will discuss food, music, Mardi Gras, and other cultural expressions of the Crescent City’s creole history.
Indigenous Peoples and the Environment
Some people contend that Aboriginal practices were always ecologically harmonious and had little impact on the natural environment, while others claim that Aboriginal peoples could, and did, have a major impact in changing the ecology in which they lived, sometimes to their own detriment. This course looks at these stereotypes, and other generalizations, in relation to the ways Aboriginal peoples in North America have actually interacted with the environment from the pre-contact period to the present. Course topics include: conservation, preservation and overhunting of mega-fauna, bison, beaver, and other animals; ecological manipulation, despoliation, and restoration; traditional and scientific ecological knowledge; and the creation and legacy of the "Ecological Indian" ideal in literature, film, tourism and political activism.
Topics in Newfoundland and Labrador History I
This seminar will explore the discovery, settlement and development of the island of Newfoundland and the coast of Labrador up to the year 1815. It will survey the archaeological, geographic and historical scholarship that has made this the most exciting era in Newfoundland’s past upon which to work. Students will have the opportunity to delve into research on an aspect of military, economic, social or legal history.
Topics in Newfoundland and Labrador History II
This course focuses upon the history of cultural change in Newfoundland and Labrador in the 20th century, as the country modernized, coped with the Great Depression and become incorporated in the Canadian Confederation. Topics will include the First World War’s cultural effects, responses to the end of responsible government, and the American friendly invasion of the Second World War. Particular emphasis will be placed on the Newfoundland Cultural Renaissance with its continuities and disruptions.
Canada and the North
Examines the ideas and historical processes that have contributed to the colonization of land and people in the Canadian North. With a primary focus on the territorial north, the course will also analyze the many ways that Dene and Inuit have resisted and adapted to colonial processes. Using film, radio documentaries, and primary documents, this course will consider themes such as pre-contact life, northern militarization, Inuit relocations, development conflicts, and environmental injustices.
The French Revolution
Examines the causes and proximate and long-term consequences of the events of 1789 and the revolutionary period in France. The emphasis is on how the French people initiated and responded to major events but we also explore the consequences of the Revolution on French colonies and the rest of Europe. This course also provides students with the opportunity to assess how historians have explained and interpreted the events from approximately 1789-1815.
Assassinations In History
Focuses on the significance of several different assassinations within a global context. Each student will select a specific assassination (such as that of Martin Luther King or Mohandas Gandhi) to research and will assess the consequences of the assassination on government and society. This research will emphasize the events of these varied assassinations, the motivation of each assassin and whether or not there was a conspiracy. These assassinations will be compared and contrasted in class.
Marx and Marxism
Uses a global perspective to examine Marxist thought as a product of revolutionary struggles. Emphasis will be on the nature of the historical circumstances and the concrete problems people faced. Each week there will be a critical examination of selected works produced by and through these struggles. All sections of this course follow International Studies guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/IS.
The purpose of this course is two-fold. First, to understand the nature of imperialism—its ideological roots, the culture it generated, and how it transformed over time and space—with particular focus on the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Emphasis will be placed on European and American imperialism, liberalism, the notion of “the white man’s burden,” questions of gender and sexuality, and how capitalism sought to create “a world after its own image.”
The second aim of the course is to look at responses to imperialism from colonized subjects and the emergence of post-colonial critique. All sections of this course follow International Studies guidelines available at www.mun.ca/hss/IS.
The Great War and the Making of the Middle East
The Great War led to the downfall, demise, and partition of the nearly five-hundred-year-old Ottoman Empire. This course explores the impact of the First World War on the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East, the perspective of Europeans, Turks, Arabs, and others on the Ottoman Empire’s fall, the expansion of European empires into the region, and the rise of new states such as Syria and Iraq. By the end of this course, students will have a sophisticated understanding of how the modern Middle East was born in the aftermath of the First World War and the ashes of the Ottoman Empire.
‘Without memory, there is no culture. Without memory, there would be no civilization, no society, no future.’ Those were the words of Elie Wiesel, a Romanian-born American writer, political activist, and Holocaust survivor. As Wiesel put it, memory is at the heart of how people and societies define themselves, and where they see their place in the world.
This course looks at the remembrance of war across the globe from the start of the nineteenth century up to and including the Vietnam War. As industrialization and mass armies changed the face of combat around the time of the American Civil War, societies had to re-think what war meant, how it should be remembered, and, in some cases, how it should be commemorated. Soldiers, too, as those who fought the battles, suffered the wounds, and carried the psychological trauma of combat, remembered war in their own private ways. By exploring the memory of war in films, memories, architecture, art, and literature, this course will cover a broad range of themes from ideas about community and sacrifice, to cross-cultural encounters, heroes and heroines, modernity, masculinity and femininity, and national trauma.
Examines the narratives of everyday people who tell their life experiences. This course focuses on the collection and analysis of oral narratives and how they can be used to illuminate the past. It considers the power of these narratives to shape constructions of the present and future for both narrators and audiences.
Note: Same as Folklore 4480
Engaging the Environmental Humanities
Explores the role of the environmental humanities in a setting beyond the traditionally defined class-room. While the initial weeks focus on providing students with the tool-kit and theoretical framework for engaging the environmental humanities, the course is mainly driven by projects designed and executed by students in collaboration with community partners.
Note: Same as Geography 4500
Prerequisite: Enrolment in the Diploma in Environmental Humanities or permission of instructor
Holocaust in Historical Perspective
This course inquires into the systematic World War II mass murder of Europe's Jews. What were its long-range and immediate origins, enabling factors, and consequences? What are its historiographic and social scientific perspectives? Students will analyze a wide range of available sources and scholarship, including audio-visual documentation.
History of Medicine Seminar
This seminar course will focus on approaches to the history of medicine and health over the past century, with particular attention to North America. Through historiographical articles and analysis of studies on selected topics, themes, and trends, it will introduce students to this field of scholarly study. Historical foci include disease, professions, and institutions, as explored by historians from the perspectives of practice, social, and intellectual history. Discussions and assignments will address broader concepts of historiology and method in history.
Sensory Experience in History
The History 4805 seminar provides an introduction to the study of sensory experience in the Early Modern Atlantic world. If the senses are not simply physiologically determined but are also cultural experiences, they are therefore also historically constituted experiences. What insights might we gain then from studying sensation and perception in the early modern period? What kinds of landscapes - heard, seen and felt - impressed themselves on early modern lives? How did sound, space, and the built environment help constitute communities of various kinds? What limitations are there to the analytical distinction frequently made between “oral” and “literate” cultures? How did early modern peoples connect social and mental processes to bodily sensations? How did different peoples experience the night, and what might that tell us about how they conceived of authority, stability, and disorder? How and why did the senses become isolated or separated? Why did discussion of sensory disabilities, such as blindness, flourish during and after the eighteenth century? Why did Europeans comment so often on the bodies of non-European peoples they encountered? The term "Orwellian" is used often in current discourse, but what does it mean to imagine authority insisting that you deny the evidence of the senses? How and why did the supposedly primitive and insubstantial sense of smell endure as a central marker of cultural and social difference? In what ways were the sensory claims of modernity to personal hygiene, spatial order, and urban cleanliness, claims made within the context of larger contests about class, gender, race, and empire?