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Sample courses

Navigate the past to make sense of the present

Our courses span the globe and historical periods, break down national barriers, and cross disciplines.

You can take courses that deal with our new emphasis on transnational history as well as dive into those that draw from our rich base in medieval, British, European, Russian, African, Middle Eastern, Atlantic World history, and the history of the Americas.

Many of our courses are cross-listed with other departments in the university, including International Development Studies, Spanish and Latin American Studies, Gender and Women’s Studies, European Studies, Law and Society, Canadian Studies, Russian Studies, and Sustainability.

HIST 1701
History of the Americas: From Pre-Contact to the Revolutionary Era

This class explores the major themes in the social, political and cultural history of the Western hemisphere from the pre-Columbian era and the arrival of Europeans through the Revolutionary era. It examines the exploration of the American coastline, the search for the Northwest Passage, the impact of the discovery of the Americas on Europe, and the rise of racial slavery in the Americas. This class provides a solid background for understanding contemporary Canada, the United States, and Latin America.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites.
Exclusions: HIST 1862, HIST 1867

HIST 2505
Turbans and Berets: A Modern History of Iraq

Through the use of traditional readings as well as blogs and Wikileaks, this class surveys the history of Iraq from the late Ottoman period to the present, focusing on monarchial rule, the rise of the Baath, the regime of Saddam Hussein, the oil boom, the Gulf Wars, and the American invasion of Iraq and its aftermath. It pays particular attention to the ethnic and religious mosaic of Iraq and its role in enriching Iraqi political and cultural life while challenging the country’s political stability.

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites.

HIST 3358
Slavery, Gender, and Power in America

This class studies the tangled histories of slavery and gender in 19th-century America. Women and slaves were each subject to political oppression and exclusion since the founding of the United States. Modern feminism took shape through antislavery activism. But early feminists faced internal divisions over the politics of race, as white feminists began to focus on achieving formal political equality for themselves, while black women confronted the violent racial control of the early Jim Crow South.

Cross-listed: GWST 3358

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites.

HIST 4255
Justice, Freedom, and the State in Twentieth-Century Canada

The dream of liberalism is to combine freedom and justice. The ideal is to constrain the power of the state so that governments can use coercion in only broadly recognized, legitimate ways. Philosophical debates about justice and freedom took particular shape in 20th-century Canada, as new or expanded state agencies, and new taxes to fund them, were created at all levels of government. Many of these innovations were justified by a more social liberalism. Most of their advocates claimed to be building a better Canada, where the challenges of the liberal project would be met by the building of democratic institutions and democratic values. Is that what happened?

Cross-listed: HIST 5255

Prerequisites: HIST 2231 or HIST 2221 or HIST 2222 or HIST 2261, HIST 3223 or HIST 3227 or permission of instructor


Inside the classroom

Food for thought

History professor Amal Ghazal, a self-confessed foodie, says that food can serve not only as a “window into Islamic customs,” it can also serve a political purpose: dismantling stereotypes about Islamic cultures. That's why she created a third-year course focusing on the cultural and political importance of what we eat, Food for Thought: History and the Culinary Cultures of the Islamic World.