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


Course Designators

Below are descriptions of courses with the following ‘designators’ (the 3 letter code in front of the course number):

Course Prefix Department
HIS Department of History
JHP Joint History and Political Science
(administered by the Political Science Department, Room 3018, Sidney Smith Hall)
NMC Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations
(administered by the Department of Near and Middle Eastern Civilizations, 4 Bancroft Avenue)
SII Society and Its Institutions: Cross-Breadth Category, First Year Seminars (First-Year Seminars [courses with '199' in their codes]
are open only to 
newly-admitted Faculty of Arts and Science students.)

NOTE: All courses shown on this page are accepted towards a History program (except SII & XBC199Y1 courses). However, as shown above, they are not all administered by the Department of History.

Course Nomenclature

  • H1-F = "First Term"; the first term of the Fall/Winter Session (September - December)
  • H1-S = "Second Term"; the second term of the Fall/Winter Session (January - April)
  • Y1-Y = full session (September - April)
  • Students should note that courses designated as "...Y1F" or "...Y1S" in the Timetable are particulary demanding.

100 Level Courses (2019-220)

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.

The department also offers First-Year Foundation Seminar courses each year (see listings below - HIS195H1-HIS199H1). These are limited to thirty students each. Some previous courses offered by the Department of History include Film on History – History on Film, Comparative First-Wave Feminism, African Roots: The African Slave Trade in the Diaspora. You will work more closely with the professor and other students, and gain a more intense training in historical methods. Normally, the 195H1-199H1 courses cannot be used to fulfill program requirements, but they can be used as breadth requirements. For more information, consult the First-Year Opportunities website, which will be available during registration.

Interactions among peoples, empires, and cultures, with particular attention to the non-European world. Can we speak of “international relations” before the modern concept of nation-states was established? What forms did globalization take in the pre-modern era? Covering a broad chronological sweep we will look at exchanges of goods and technologies; dissemination of ideas and religions; voyages of migration and exploration; and episodes of conquest and colonization.

Exclusion: Any 100-level HIS course, with the exception of AP, IB, CAPE, or GCE transfer credits. HISA04H3/HISA05H3

Instructor: C. Chin/TBA
Lecture: Tuesday & Thursday 3-4
Tutorials: TBA
Pre-Modern: ½ credit

An analysis of the development of the international system from the 1750s to the present day. The course will highlight, in particular, the varying roles of war, diplomacy, and trade in changing, maintaining, and expanding the international system. It will consider wars in Europe, North America, Asia and South Asia, Africa, and several conflicts that were global in scope. Conflict will be considered from several perspectives: as the source and guardian of international order; as an agent of change within the system; as a tool of expansion; and as a threat to the survival of system and its human inhabitants. Appropriate attention will be paid to the contributions made by individuals, ideas, technology, and institutions to the evolution of international order.

Exclusion: Any 100-level HIS course, with the exception of AP, IB, CAPE, or GCE transfer credits.

Instructor: T. Sayle/V. Dimitriadis
Lecture: Monday & Wednesday 2-3
Tutorials: TBA
Pre-Modern: ½ credit

This course offers an introduction to history as a discipline - to the history of the discipline itself, to the questions, categories, and methodologies that constitute it, and how they have evolved in varied times and places, and to the methodologies students need to acquire to engage in historical inquiry and writing. The course will be part methodological workshop, part epistemological reflection.

Exclusion: Any 100-level HIS course, with the exception of AP, IB, CAPE, or GCE transfer credits.

Instructor: P. Cohen
Lecture: Thursday 9-11
Tutorials: TBA

HIS109Y1 is designed to introduce first year students to the study of European history. It requires little or no historical background at the secondary level since the major currents of European history will be discussed and analyzed on an introductory level.

Because the purpose of the course is to provide a broad background to modern European history, it will begin with an introduction to the shape of traditional society and investigate the forces at work on the social, political, economic, cultural, and intellectual structures of Western Europe from the High Middle Ages until the Second World War. The approach will be that of a wide survey but centred on five units: the structure of Traditional Society; the First Period of Challenges 1350-1650; the Second Period of Challenges 1650-1815; Confidence, Stability, and Progress 1815-1914; the Collapse of the Old Order and the Condition of Modern Europe 1914-1945.

In addition to the historical content of the lectures and readings, the basic techniques needed for the study of history -and other humanities subjects – will be discussed in the context of the material for the course. Skills such as note taking, forms of historical reporting and researching, essay and examination writing techniques, critical reading, and study methods will be reviewed.

The assigned tutorial readings will be drawn from primary sources, and the basic text will be Perspectives from the Past. A general historical text (see below) will also be required, although most of the factual material will come from the lectures.

Textbooks: J. Brophy et al., Perspectives from the Past, Vols I & II, (6th edition); J. Coffin et al., Western Civilizations, Vol 2 (19th edition); G. Graff et al., They Say/I Say (4th edition).

Exclusion: Any 100-level HIS course, with the exception of AP, IB, CAPE, or GCE transfer credits.

Instructors: K. Bartlett
Lecture: Monday 3-5
Tutorials: TBA
Pre-Modern: ½ credit

Histories of wine or beer or vodka often focus either on the production of these alcoholic beverages and their role in national economies, or the ways that drinking is part of celebrations. But drunkenness enters the historical record in other ways, too--not just as a social lubricant but as a social ill, one associated with intimate violence or violence to the self and with mass protest. From worries about the Gin Craze to the rise of temperance movements and eventually the passing of Prohibition, from tax policies to policing, this class will consider the many ways that drunkenness has been accepted, denounced, and legislated about in societies around the world. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Instructor: A. Smith
Lecture: Tuesday 3-5
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

In this seminar we will explore the complex roles of religion in cases of extreme violence. Working chronologically backward from the 1990s (Rwanda, former Yugoslavia), we will consider cases from a number of locations and decades in the 20th Century (Cambodia in the 1970s, the Holocaust in the 1940s, Armenians in the 1910s, Southwest Africa in the 1900s). Rather than limiting ourselves to the recent past, we will also explore cases from the 19th century (imperialism) and earlier as well as ongoing situations that connect past and present (aboriginal people in the Americas). Students will be expected to do the assigned reading (from personal accounts, primary sources, and scholarly articles), participate actively in discussions, prepare a series of short responses, make and oral presentation individually or with a group, and produce a final paper based on original research. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Instructor: D. Bergen
Lecture: Wednesday 10-12
Breadth category: Society and its Institutions (3)

This course introduces students to the historiographical and theoretical debates in women's and gender history from a global perspective, with emphasis on the local histories of women in the non-western world. Students will study the themes in women's history as articulated by first and second wave feminists. The second part of the class deconstructs the basic assumptions of Western feminism through the perspective of post-colonial feminist writings and empirical studies. The readings are structured so that you consider how examples from Asia disrupt narratives of universality in Western feminist epistemologies. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Instructor: N. Tran
Lecture: Tuesday 2-4
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

This seminar proposes to consider the history of the world's most popular sport, soccer, in broader political, social, economic, and cultural context. We will consider the emergence of the modern game in industrializing Britain in the 19th century; its globalization; its mobilization as a vehicle for political expression, as well as social cultural, and gendered identities; supporter culture; and soccer as an industry. Students will read scholarly works from a range of disciplinary perspectives, including history, cultural anthropology, sociology, literature, and economics. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

Instructor: P. Cohen
Lecture: Tuesday 5-7
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)