200 Level Course Descriptions


200 Level Courses (2020-2021)

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)

NOTE: All courses shown on this page are accepted towards a History program. 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.

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 HIS299Y1 Research Opportunity Programs, which are open only to students in their second year. In this course, you work as a Research Assistant to a professor on a particular subject. In past years, students in HIS299Y1 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 205H1-S Topics in Women’s History: Women and Gender in Latin American History

This course centers on the topic of gender in Latin American history. Students will engage first-person accounts, leading historical scholarship, relevant theoretical readings, and diverse forms of cultural production related to gender and sexuality. Assignments will focus on synthesizing and assessing these diverse sources, and on discussing changes over time. By the end of the term, students will have a clear understanding of how gender and gendered expectations have worked alongside issues of class, race, sexuality, and geography to shape individuals' lived experiences from the colonial period to the present.

Exclusion: HIS245Y1Y

Instructor: T. Walker
Lecture: Tuesday 4-6
Tutorials: TBA
Division: II

HIS 208Y1-Y History of the Jewish People

This course will survey the history of the Jews throughout the world from ancient times to the present. The first term will be devoted to the premodern period, paying special attention to migration, acculturation, relations with non-Jews, and change and continuity within Jewish communities throughout Europe and the Mediterranean. The second half of the course will cover the modern period, exploring the encounter between Jews and modernity, the emergence of new political movements and intellectual and cultural trends, and the impact upon the Jews of the upheavals of the 20th century. Students will have opportunity to engage with a variety of primary and secondary sources; written assignments will allow students to analyze primary sources directly. 

Recommended Preparation: HIS102Y1/HIS103Y1/HIS109Y1 

Instructor: Y. Nizri 
Lecture: Tuesday & Thursday 9-10
Tutorials: TBA
Division: I/III

HIS 218H1-F Environmental History

A lecture-based course designed to introduce students to key moments and concepts in the field of environmental history since c. 1400. This course will track the reciprocal influence of humans and the non-human world since the so-called "Columbian Exchange," emphasizing the ways in which the non-human world-from plants, animals, and disease organisms to water, topography, and geography- have shaped human endeavours. At the same time, students will engage with many of the ways in which human beings have shaped the world around us, from empire and colonization, to industrial capitalism, nuclear power, and modern wildlife conservation.

Prerequisites: any 100-level History course

Instructor: R. Woods
Lecture: Tuesday 10-12
Tutorials: TBA
Division: --

HIS 230H1-F Indigenous and Early Colonial Caribbean History

This course introduces students to the study of Caribbean history from first human settlement to the late 18th century. Subject matter covered includes indigenous social structures, cosmology and politics; the process of European conquest; the economics, society and political order of colonial society; the Middle Passage; the everyday lives and struggles of enslaved peoples.

Exclusion:  HIS294Y1

Instructor:  M. Newton
Lecture:  Tuesday 12-2
Tutorials:  TBA
Division:  II
Pre-Modern:  ½ credit

HIS 231H1-S Revolution and Emancipation in the Colonial Caribbean

This course explores the history of the late eighteenth and nineteenth century Caribbean, from the Haitian Revolution to the U.S. occupation of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Students learn about the first struggles for political independence; the struggle to abolish the slave trade; slave emancipation; indentureship and struggles to define freedom after emancipation.

Exclusion:  HIS294Y1

Instructor:  S. Sweeney
Lecture:  Tuesday 10-12
Tutorials:  TBA
Division:  II

HIS 241H1-F 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:  J. Jenkins
Lecture:  Tuesday & Thursday 1-2
Tutorials:  TBA
Division:  III

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/EUR200Y5/FGI200Y5/HIS242H5/HISB94H3

Instructor: P. Wróbel
Lecture: Thursday 9-11
Tutorials: TBA
Division: III

HIS 243H1-F Early Modern Europe, 1450- 1648

Modern European society developed as a consequence of the dramatic changes which occurred in the period between the Renaissance and the end of the Thirty Years' War. The revival of classical ideas and principles revolutionized art and architecture, and provided new models for education, politics, law, science, and social organization. The division of Christendom into mutually exclusive, often warring Protestant and Catholic nations stimulated ideas of self-identification that developed into concepts of national self-awareness. The changes in the economic prospects of Europe and the Ottoman threat in the Mediterranean resulted in the voyages of discovery that drove Europe to expand beyond the confines of the continent. This course will follow these changes, with special attention given to the intellectual and cultural forces that motivated Europeans to undertake a fundamental re-evaluation of their ambitions and identities.

Instructor: D. Sokolowski
Lecture: 2.0 hours/week
Tutorials: TBA
Division: III
Pre-Modern: ½ credit

HIS 244H1-S 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: J. Mori
Lecture: Tuesday & Thursday 3-4
Tutorials: TBA
Division: III
Pre-Modern: ½ credit

HIS 245H1-S European Colonialism, 1700-1965

This class will introduce students to the history of European colonialism.  It will analyze the nature of colonial rule, the impact of empire on both colonies and metropoles, and delve into questions of power, gender and culture.   It considers slavery and abolition, imperial networks, colonial capital, colonial competition, colonial cultures, the twilight of colonial rule, and a variety of settings.

Exclusion: HIS389Y0 (20155)

Instructor:  E. Jennings
Lecture:  Wednesday 10-12
Tutorials:  TBA
Division: III

HIS 262H1-F Canada: A Short History of Here

Designed for non-history students, this introductory survey fulfills the Society and Its Institutions breadth requirement. It is open to all who want to know more about Canada. Make sense of politics today and develop a deeper understanding of Canadian society and its institutions through study of the major events and demographic trends that have shaped the development of this country. Topics will include First Nations/newcomer relations (including treaties and the Truth & Reconciliation report), French/English relations (including Quebec separatism), regionalism, the North, economic history, constitutional developments, and the development of Canadian identity, including common symbols associated with Canada. No essay requirement. Instead, enhance your critical reading and thinking skills through short writing assignments and weekly discussions of tutorial readings.

*This course will not count towards History program requirements or as a pre-requisite for upper level courses.*

Exclusion: HIS263Y1, HIS264H1

Instructor:  H. Bohaker
Lecture:  2.0 hours/week
Tutorials:  TBA

HIS 264H1-S 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: HIS262H1, HIS263Y1

Instructor:  S. Penfold
Lecture:  Wednesday 1-3
Tutorials:  TBA
Division:  II

HIS 268H1-S Law and History

The Federal Interpretation Act of Canada states that the ‘law is always speaking’. If the law is always speaking, then it must be speaking in present tense.  But if it only speaks in present tense, does it have a past? How might we consider the field of law from different historical angles?  And more importantly, what do those different historical angles imply about competing methods of historical inquiry?  This course will introduce students to the study of Law and History, drawing on different legal traditions (e.g. Civil Law, Common Law, Islamic Law, Jewish Law, Indigenous Law) to appreciate how we might approach the study of law through a historical inquiry into the conditions (and their change over time) of what makes something ‘legal’ in the first place.

Instructor: A. Emon
Lecture: Wednesday 10-12
Tutorials: TBA
Division: II

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.

Exclusion: HIS271H5/HIS272H5/HISB30H3/HISB31H3

Instructor: M. Mishler
Lecture: 2.0 hours/week
Tutorials: TBA
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:  Y. Li
Lecture:  2.0 hours/week
Tutorials:  TBA
Division:  I
Pre-Modern:  ½ credit

HIS 282Y1-Y History of South Asia

This year-long course addresses major themes in the history of South Asia, examining South Asian political economy, social history, colonial power relations and forms of knowledge, and the production of culture. The course emphasizes the period after 1750, particularly the study of colonialism, nationalism, and postcolonial citizenship and modernity. The analysis of the modern period is informed and preceded by an overview of ancient, medieval and early modern/Mughal history. Themes include the diversity of South Asian regional, political, religious, and cultural communities; law and sovereignty; women and gender in South Asian history; subaltern resistance and rebellion; capitalism in South Asia; and major questions in recent South Asian historiography.

Exclusion: HIS282H5/HISB57H3

Instructor: P. Dhar/R. Birla
Lecture: Tuesday & Thursday 1-2
Tutorials:  TBA
Division: I
Pre-Modern:  ½ credit

HIS 291H1-F Latin America: The Colonial Period

This course provides an introduction to the broad literature on Latin America’s rich colonial history. We will begin by tracing some of the early origins of – and points of contact between - the Indian, Iberian, and African men and women who formed the basis of colonial society. As the course progresses, we will explore the variety of ways in which colonial subjects lived, worked, ate, worshipped and socialized. Lectures and reading assignments will draw upon a variety of sources, including court cases, artistic renderings, city maps and street plans, travel accounts of visits to the region, and the material, cultural, and intellectual products made possible by the wealth and dynamism of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The course will conclude with an analysis of the Age of Revolutions, a period of dramatic upheaval that remains at the center of lively scholarly debates. By the end of the semester, you will be able to engage the key issues driving these debates, as well as to address one particularly enduring question: what is Latin America’s colonial legacy?

Exclusion: HIS291Y1/HIS290H5

Instructor: T. Walker
Lecture: Tuesday 4-6
Tutorials: TBA
Division: II
Pre-Modern: ½ credit

HIS 295Y1-Y History of Africa

An introduction to African history and the methodology of history more broadly, this course sets out to question how historians do history, examine differences in theories of knowledge, and explore the relationship between academic and cultural representations of the past. The course also draws on anthropology and related disciplines.

Exclusion: HIS381H1/HIS382H1/HIS295H5

Instructor: S. Hawkins
Lecture: Friday 12-2
Tutorials:  TBA
Division:  I
Pre-Modern: 1 credit