The entrance to the Department of History’s office in Sidney Smith Hall


Summer Course Descriptions - 2017

The Department offers 100-level, 200-level, 300-level, and 400-level History (HIS) courses.


  • Course descriptions are not final and may be changed at or before the first class.
  • For enrolment instructions, students should consult the Faculty of Arts and Science 2017 Summer Timetable.
  • Prerequisites will be enforced rigorously. Students who do not have the relevant prerequisite(s) may be removed from the course after classes begin. Specific questions regarding prerequisites for a course can be answered by the course instructor. Where there are two instructors of a course, an asterisk (*) indicates the Course Coordinator.

This page will be updated regularly. Please check here for curriculum changes.

Course Nomenclature

  • Y1-Y is a full course, both terms.
  • Y1-F is a full course, first term (fall session)
  • Y1-S is a full course, second term (winter session)
  • H1-F is a half course, first term (fall session)
  • H1-S is a half course, second term (winter session)

100 Level Courses

100-Level HIS courses are designed for students entering university. They take a broad sweep of material, and introduce students to the methods and techniques of university study. Each week, students will attend two lectures given by the course professor, and participate in one tutorial led by a teaching assistant. First year courses are not considered to be in an 'area' for program requirements.

No student may take more than one 100-level HIS course, but ALL students enrolled in a History Specialist, Joint Specialist, Major, or Minor program must take ONE 100-level HIS course.

HIS 103Y1-Y Statecraft and Strategy

This course seeks to promote an understanding of the historical development of organized international relations during the period, 1648 to 1945. It will highlight, in particular, the varying roles of war in the international system: as an instrument of national policy (to protect or pursue national interests); as an agent of change within the system (to accommodate shifts in the Balance of Power); and as a threat to the survival of international society (from aggression or Armageddon). Appropriate attention will be paid to the contributions made by individuals, ideas and institutions to the evolution of international order, through such ordeals by fire as the Wars of Louis XIV, the Napoleonic Wars, the Wars of National Unification of the Nineteenth Century and the First and Second World Wars of the Twentieth Century.

Textbook(s): Students may consult the following books for an overall impression of the course’s content and character: Derek McKay and H.M. Scott, The Rise of the Great Powers, 1648-1815, and A.J.P. Taylor, The Struggle for Mastery in Europe, 1848-1918. Additional titles will be recommended for purchase and a course bibliography will be distributed to students from which they may choose the reading most relevant to their particular term-essay topics.

Tentative Course Requirements: An essay each term, a final examination and tutorial participation.

Exclusion: any 100-level HIS course. HIS103Y1 does not count as a distribution requirement course in any category.

Instructor: V. Dimitriadis
Lecture: MW 6-8
Tutorials: M 8-9, W 5-6, W 8-9
Pre-Modern: ½ credit

200 Level Courses

200-Level HIS courses are surveys that introduce in broad outlines the history of a particular country, region, continent, or theme. Most are essential background for further upper-level study in the area. Students will generally attend two lectures and participate in one tutorial each week. The 200-level courses are open to first year students as well as those in higher years.

The Department regularly offers a number of HIS 299Y Research Opportunity Programs, which are open only to students in their second year. In this course, your work as a Research Assistant to a professor on a particular subject. In past years, students in HIS 299Y courses have done oral history interviews, sought out manuscripts in provincial archives, and gathered primary source documents in the university libraries. Students in their first year should check with the Faculty Registrar in February for the list of ROPs that will be offered in the following academic year.

HIS205H1-S Topics in Women's History: Women in the Colonial Americas, 1492-1800

This course will explore the history of women across colonial contexts in the early modern world, with a focus on the American colonies of the Spanish/Portuguese, French, and British. Although traditional histories of early modern colonization emphasized the roles of European men, particularly explorers and conquerors, this course seeks to challenge that narrative by investigating early modern colonialism through the histories of women. We will survey the shared and unique experiences of women of European, indigenous, and African descent, and study how the lives of women shed light on comparative themes in early modern global history, including race and indigeneity; family and sexuality; labour and slavery; religion and politics; and deviance and crime. Throughout the course, we will pay particular attention to the intersections between gender, race, and class, investigating a range of women’s experiences from the elite to the enslaved.

Exclusion: HIS245Y1

Instructor: TBA
Lecture: TR 3-5
Tutorials: T 5-6, R 5-6
Division: II

HIS 242H1-S Europe in the 20th Century

This course surveys the history of European politics, culture and society from 1914 to the present day. Lectures will cover an array of events and themes, from the two world wars, to the Russian Revolution, the rise of fascism, the Holocaust, the onset of decolonization, and the creation of the European Union. Special attention will be paid throughout to a number of themes relating to war, violence, nationalism, culture and gender in twentieth-century Europe.

Exclusion: EUR200Y1

Instructor: TBA
Lecture: TR 5-7
Tutorials: T 7-8, R 4-5, R 7-8
Division: III

HIS 244H1-F Early Modern Europe, 1648-1815

This course will survey the history of Europe from the Thirty Year’s War to the Napoleonic Empire. We will explore the principal themes which transformed Europe during this period: the birth of the modern nation-state; the increasing scale of warfare; the ebb of Christian influence; the scientific revolution and the Enlightenment; the emergence of capitalist economies; the consolidation of transatlantic colonial empires; and the French Revolution and the invention of popular democracy. Students will read a range of primary and secondary source materials; attendance at lectures, participation in tutorials, course reading, and writing are all required components for this course.

Instructor: TBA
Lecture: MW 5-7
Tutorials: M 7-8, W 4-5, W 7-8
Division: III
Pre-Modern: ½ credit

HIS 271Y1-Y American History Since 1607

Designed to introduce students to a broad range of American history, this course surveys the political and economic, as well as the social and cultural history of the United States from first contact between Europeans and Native peoples through the turn of the 21st century. Topics covered include: the development of colonial America, the emergence and growth of the American nation; slavery, sectional conflict and the Civil War; the development of modern America; the rise of the liberal state and the conservative counter-offensive; efforts by minority groups at overcoming their second-class status; and, America’s rise to international predominance. Overarching themes include the evolution of race and gender identities, as well as the ongoing struggle within the United States to live up to its founding principles of equality and inalienable rights.

Instructor: D. Cucuz
Lecture: TR 5-7
Tutorials: R 4-5, R 7-8
Division: II

300 Level Courses

300-Level HIS courses are more specialized and intensive. They deal with more closely defined periods or themes. They vary in format, with some being based around lectures, and others involving tutorial or discussion groups. Most 300-level courses have prerequisites, which are strictly enforced. First year students are not permitted to enrol in 300 or 400-level HIS courses. Although some upper level courses do not have specific prerequisites, courses at the 300- and 400-level are demanding and require a good comprehension of history.

HIS 311Y1-Y Introduction to Canadian International Relations

This course is a lecture-tutorial course designed to outline not only Canadian external relations but also imperial and foreign developments involving Canada as a colony or as an ally from 1750 to Stephen Harper. Attention will be given to British and American defence and foreign policies in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as they affect Canada.

Textbook(s): Norman Hillmer and J.L. Granatstein, Empire to Umpire, second edition; Robert Bothwell, The Penguin History of Canada.

Recommended Preparation: a course in Canadian history or politics.

Lecture: MW 10-12
Tutorials:M 12-1, M 1-2, W 12-1

HIS 344H1-S Conflict and Co-operation in the International System Since 1945

This course examines the conduct and consequence of international politics in an atomic/nuclear age when the stakes of the “Great Game” were not just the fates of states and nations, but also the survival of humanity itself. The diplomatic, strategic and economic aspects of international relations will all receive appropriate elucidation.

Exclusion: HIS344Y1

Recommended Preparation: EUR200Y1/HIS103Y1/HIS241H1/HIS242H1

Instructor: V. Dimitriadis
Lecture: TR 1-3
Division: III

HIS379H1-F Vietnam at War

This course examines the French and American Wars (1945-75) in Vietnam and its effects on the population of Vietnam and Southeast Asia. It begins with a brief overview of pre-colonial Vietnamese history and moves into a study of the impact and legacies of colonial rule and centres on the impact of the Wars on the cultures, economies, and societies of Southeast Asia.

Prerequisite: HIS283Y1 or another Asian history course.

Exclusion: HIS400H1

Instructor: N. Tran
Lecture: MW 1-3
Division: I

HIS 385H1-F History of Hong Kong

This course examines the growth of Hong Kong from a trading port set up by the British Empire for their China trade in the mid-19th century, to the city’s rise as a major centre of the world economy and of the Chinese diaspora since the mid-20th century. It focuses on both Hong Kong’s internal developments and broader contexts.

Exclusion: Students cannot take both the Y and H version of HIS385

Recommended Preparation: HIS280Y1/JMC201Y1

Instructor: TBA
Lecture: TR 10-12
Division: I

HIS 389H1- F Topics in History: The Holocaust in Literature
(Joint undergraduate course HIS389H1/JGJ390H1)

This course has three interrelated goals. It aims to deepen your understanding of the Holocaust through examination of the literary works produced by its victims, in ghettos, camps, hiding, or under other circumstances, and in the immediate aftermath. It is designed to stimulate reflection on the uses, potential, and limits of literature – fiction, poetry, plays, films, and other creative forms – as means of engaging the unimaginable. It will encourage you to develop your analytical and creative skills and use them to think, write about, and discuss the Holocaust.

We will approach the topic through a combination of lectures, readings, discussion, films, written assignments, and participation in community events. The success of this intensive class depends on your preparation, attendance, and engagement.

Prerequisite: 9.0 FCEs including 1.0 FCE HIS course. Further pre-requisites vary from year to year, consult the department.

Instructor: D. Bergen/A. Shternshis
Lecture: T 10-1 R 10-12
Division: I

400 Level Courses

400-Level HIS courses are two-hour seminars that deal with very specialized subjects and are often closely connected to a professor's research. Most have specific course pre-requisites and require extensive reading, research, writing, and seminar discussion, and in most you will have the opportunity to do a major research paper. All 400-level HIS courses have enrolment restrictions during the FIRST ROUND (must have completed 14 or more full courses, be enrolled in a HIS Major, Specialist or Joint Specialist program and have the appropriate prerequisite). During the SECOND ROUND of enrolment, access to 400-level seminars is open to all 3rd and 4th year students with the appropriate prerequisite. IMPORTANT: Due to significant enrolment pressure on 4th year seminars, during the first round of enrolment, the Department of History reserves the right to REMOVE STUDENTS who enrol in more than the required number for program completion (Specialists – 2; Majors, Joint Specialists – 1) without consultation.

Students in 400-level seminars MUST ATTEND THE FIRST CLASS, or contact the professor to explain their absence. Failure to do so may result in the Department withdrawing the student from the seminar in order to "free up" space for other interested students. Additional 400-level seminars for the 2014 Summer Session may be added at a later date. To fulfill History program requirements, students may also use 400- level courses offered by other Departments at the U of T that are designated as ‘Related Courses' or 'Equivalent Courses'.

HIS496H1-S, L0101 Topics in History: History of the Cold War

This seminar focuses on one of the defining events of twentieth century international relations. Lasting from the end of the Second World War to c.1990, the Cold War is often viewed as a power struggle between the United States and the Soviet Union, but in pitting two different political, social, and economic systems together in competition with each other, the Cold War also drew in much of the rest of the world, sometimes willingly and sometimes involuntarily. Specific topics to be discussed include: the origins of the Cold War; flashpoints such as the arms race, Berlin and Cuba; various third-world & regional conflicts, especially the war in Vietnam; alliance relations within both the Communist and non-communist blocs; détente; and Cold War’s end. Students will be expected to produce a significant research paper (20-25 pages) that is based on extensive primary research.

Prerequisite: HIS311Y1/HIS344H1/HIS377H1

Exclusion: HIS401Y1

Instructor: TBA
Lecture: TR 2-4
Division: II/III

HIS 498H1-F Independent Study

The Department of History offers senior undergraduate students the possibility of study under the course designations HIS498H1-F/S or HIS499Y1-Y. Independent studies are for students who wish to pursue a detailed research project. This usually involves the preparation of a major paper, though it may take other forms, and must be done under the supervision of an eligible History faculty member. (Please note that faculty are under no obligation to supervise I.S. projects). Students wishing to enroll in these courses must be enrolled in a History Major program, with a B+ average in no less than 4.0 HIS courses, or obtain special permission of the instructor.

How to enroll in either the Independent Study:

  • Complete the HIS 498H-499Y Registration Form with the help of your proposed supervisor. Attach a one-page outline of the project you wish to undertake and a copy of your transcript. Ensure that your supervisor signs the form.
  • Return the documents to the Department by April 1, 2017 for Summer2017.
  • If approved, your study course will be added to your record on ROSI by the Department of History. If it is not approved, we will notify you and your proposed supervisor as soon as possible by email.

For further information, students may contact the Associate Chair, Undergraduate.