Summer Course Descriptions


Summer Course Descriptions - 2020

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 2020 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 & Strategy : An Introduction to the History of International Relations

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.

HIS103Y1 does not count as a distribution requirement course in any category.

Instructor: V. Dimitriadis
Lecture: Monday & Wednesday 5-7
Tutorials: Monday 7-8; Wednesday 4-5; Wednesday 7-8
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.

HIS 241H1-S Europe in the 19th Century, 1815-1914

This course introduces students to major themes in European history over the ‘long’ nineteenth century, from the time of Napoleon to the First World War. The themes covered will be quite wide ranging. Topics include: the genesis of modern political language (liberalism, conservatism, socialism, nationalism), industrialization and the "social question," nationalism and the revolutions of 1848, imperialism, colonialism and ideas of race, militarism, the rise of labor movements, the suffragette movements, and the origins of the world war. The course will focus on both domestic developments and foreign policy. While the lectures will concentrate on political history, the course emphasizes the importance of multiple approaches to historical problems. A film club is included (voluntary, for extra credit) and students are encouraged to attend.

Attendance at lectures, tutorial participation, reading, research, and writing are all essential components of the course. In the tutorials, students will discuss a variety of primary sources, including novels, essays, and public speeches. Students will also work closely with tutors with regard to the preparation of a term essay.

Exclusion: EUR200Y1/EUR200Y5/FGI200Y5/HIS241H5/HISB93H3

Recommended Preparation: HIS103Y1/HIS109Y1

Instructor:  TBA
Lecture:  Tuesday & Thursday 5-7
Tutorials:  Tuesday 7-8; Thursday 4-5; Thursday 7-8
Division:  III

HIS 264H1-F Critical Issues in Canadian History

This course introduces the history of Canada through an exploration of key themes and methods. It will cover several time periods, but it is not a standard survey that begins with New France and proceeds forward to next week. Rather, we will focus on some the key forces that shaped Canada over time. We will also study some of the important skills of historical research and writing. Possible topics include treaties with First Nations, immigration, empire and nationalism, welfare, and environment. All students are welcome, but a key aim of the course is to help prepare students for upper year Canadian History courses.

Exclusion: HIS263Y1

Instructor: TBA
Lecture: Monday & Wednesday 5-7
Tutorials: Monday 7-8; Wednesday 4-5; Wednesday 7-8
Division: II

HIS 280Y1-Y History of China

Does China have “five thousand years of continuous history”?  We will explore this deceptively simple question in this introduction to the history of what is now China from before the development of writing to the present. No previous knowledge is required.

In addition to covering basic information about chronology and environment, this course will be organized around some key tensions:

  • Material life and popular culture vs. ideal norms and elite culture
  • Changes vs. continuities: when did key watersheds occur, and what were their consequences?
  • “Chinese” societies vs. their neighbors, especially the nomadic peoples of the northern steppes
  • People vs. nature–physical modifications to the environment over time
  • People vs. their bodies– gender, sexuality, and families

By the end of the course, we will have explored not just what we know, but how we know about China’s history. You will be introduced to the practice of reading primary historical documents in translation, with a view to how historians use them to produce knowledge about the past.

Instructor:  TBA
Lecture:  Tuesday & Thursday 1-3
Tutorials:  Tuesday 3-4; Thursday 12-1; Thursday 3-4
Division:  I
Pre-Modern:  ½ credit

HIS 292H1-S Latin America: The National Period

A survey of Latin American history from the wars of independence to the present day.

Exclusion: HIS292Y1/HIS290H5

Instructor: TBA
Lecture: Monday & Wednesday 11-1
Tutorials: Monday 1-2; Wednesday 10-11; Wednesday 1-2
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 343H1-S History of Modern Espionage

The course will explore the history of espionage, from its modern foundations in the years immediately preceding the First World War to the post 9/11 era. We will also take stock of emerging trends in the conduct of intelligence.

The purpose of the course is to familiarize students with the historical evolution of espionage and to assess the nature of the contribution of intelligence services to the functioning of the international system in peace and war. Our focus will be on an examination of the intelligence systems of three major powers that shaped the historical development of espionage: Britain, the United States and the Soviet Union/Russia. The first half of the course explores the history of intelligence and its impact down to the end of the Second World War. The second half of the course is devoted to aspects of Cold War intelligence, the popular culture of espionage, and more recent intelligence developments and controversies.

Exclusion: HIS343Y1

Recommended Preparation: HIS103Y1 or an equivalent introduction to modern international relations

Instructor:  TBA
Lecture:  Tuesday & Thursday 1-3
Division:  III

HIS 368H1-F Early Modern Britain, 1485-1660

Introduction to the political, social and religious history of early modern England, Scotland and Ireland. Particular attention will be paid to the history of the monarchy, Protestant Reformation, gender issues and relations between different parts of the British Isles.

Exclusion: HIS337Y1

Recommended Preparation: EUR200Y1, HIS109Y1/243H1/244H1

Instructor: J. Mori
Lecture: Tuesday & Thursday 5-7
Division: III
Pre-Modern: ½ credit

HIS 377H1-S 20th Century American Foreign Relations

This course surveys the history of American foreign relations from World War I to the present. Themes of the course include the rise of the United States as a major power; the role of culture and ideology in international relations; and the implications of foreign policy for American national identity.

Prerequisite: HIS271Y1/POL208Y1

Exclusion: HIS377Y1

Instructor: M. Vallières
Lecture: Tuesday & Thursday 5-7
Division: II

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: C. Lim
Lecture: Tuesday & Thursday 11-1
Division: I

HIS 389H1- F Topics in History: The Holocaust in Literature
(Joint undergraduate course HIS389H1/JGJ360H1)

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.

Instructor: D. Bergen/A. Shternshis
Lecture: Tuesday 10-1 & Thursday 10-12
Division: III

HIS 393H1-F Digital History

Take your first steps into the exciting new world of the digital humanities! How will the shift from print to digital change what it means to be a historian? How will historical arguments and methods change? What skills will you need to be a next-generation historian? In today’s shifting media landscape, these issues are of paramount importance. Digital History is your chance to begin to explore them, while also getting practical experience in topics like:

• How to turn big data into historical arguments
• How to work with oral sources
• How the form of a historical argument affects its content
• How to use maps, GIS and other geographical tools in historical work

This course also provides preparation for the Department’s digital capstone project course, Hacking History, and is strongly recommended for all students with an interest in digital media.

Prerequisite: 200-level History course or one of WDW235H1/WDW236H1

Exclusion: HIS389H1 (Digital History)

Instructor: M. Price
Lecture: Tuesday & Thursday 10-1

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. First year students are not permitted to enrol in 300 or 400-level HIS courses.

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'.

HIS406H1-F Advanced Topics in Gender History: Gender in East and Southeast Asia

This seminar critically examines the presumptions about gender relations in East and Southeast Asia to explore how particular categories of “feminine” and “masculine” norms have been appropriated to represent the cultures of these two regions.  

Although many of the topics are historical, students will read interdisciplinary readings that engage with theoretical questions important to feminist studies. Themes to be explored include “culture” and its effects on gender categories; class and status and their influences on normative gender roles; the idea of modernity and its effects on constructs of gender in the respective spheres; and finally, the applicability of Western feminism to the women’s experiences in other parts of the world.  

Instructor: N. Tran
Lecture: Tuesday & Thursday 12-2
Division: I

HIS 498H1-F/S and HIS 499Y1-Y 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, 2020 for Summer 2020.
  • 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.