400 Level Course Descriptions

Undergraduate

400 Level Courses (2022-2023)

Course Designators

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.

400-level HIS courses are two-hour seminars that deal with very specialized subjects ad 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 Prerequisites). During the SECOND ROUND of enrolment, access to 400-level seminars is open to all 3rd and 4th year students with the appropriate Prerequisites.

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 2022-2023 Fall/Winter 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 ‘Equivalent Courses’.

The Department also offers a few joint undergraduate-graduate seminars. These are indicated in the course description. Undergraduate enrolment in joint seminars is restricted, and the expected level of performance is high.


HIS 401H1-F, L5101 The Cold War through its Archives

The course reviews the history of the Cold War in light of formerly secret archival documents. Examples include the US White House Tapes and Venona decrypts; massive declassification of records in the ex-Soviet bloc; and parallel developments in China, Cuba, and other Communist states. Archival discoveries have cast new light, not just on individual episodes (e.g., Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979) but on the origins, strategies, and driving forces of this 45-year conflict. The focus will be mainly on the superpowers and their alliance systems.

Prerequisite: HIS311Y1/HIS344H1/HIS344Y1/HIS377H1
Exclusion: HIS401Y1, HIS306H5
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: TBA
Seminar: Wednesday 5-7
Geographic Area: c

HIS 404H1-S, L0101 Topics in U.S. History: Slavery in North America
(Joint undergraduate/graduate course – HIS404H1/HIS1802H)

Slavery has existed in many human societies throughout history. Beginning in the sixteenth century, European empires pioneered new regimes of racialized chattel slavery that ensnared Native Americans and, ultimately, involved the transportation of millions of African captives to plantation zones in the Americas. This course examines the history of slavery in British North America and the United States (c. 1619-1865). We will explore both the Atlantic and domestic slave trades; Indigenous and Atlantic slaveries; the codification of racial difference that accompanied slavery’s expansion; gender and the reproduction; enslaved people’s lives and politics; the economic history of slavery; the politics of slavery in the United States (1776-1865); the gradual abolition of slavery in the U.S. North and the British Empire; and the destruction of chattel slavery during the Civil War (1861-65). We will conclude by taking up what Saidiya Hartman calls the afterlives of slavery in post-war American history.

Prerequisite: HIS271Y1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: M. Mishler
Seminar: Wednesday 1-3
Geographic Area: b

HIS 407H1-F, L0101 Imperial Germany, 1871-1918

This seminar combines an examination of historiographical controversies and the study of primary documents in translation. We focus on broad-gauged social, cultural, and political change under Bismarck and Kaiser Wilhelm II. Specific topics include nation-building, localism and regionalism, antisemitism, gender and sexuality, radical nationalism, working-class culture, and the First World War. A 1951 East German film, The Kaiser’s Lackey, will be shown at the end of term. Seminars will incorporate short student presentations each week. Most primary sources will be accessed from the German History in Documents and Images project on the website of the German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C. A historiographical or research essay of 20-25 pages will count for 50% of the final grade. Textbooks include James Retallack, ed., Imperial Germany 1871-1918: The Short Oxford History of Germany (OUP, 2008); and Helmut Walser Smith, The Butcher’s Tale: Murder and Anti-Semitism in a German Town (Norton, 2003).

Prerequisite: HIS330H1 or permission of the instructor
Exclusion: HIS407H5
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: J. Retallack
Seminar: Monday 2-4
Geographic Area: c

HIS 413H1-S, L0101 Slave Emancipation in the Atlantic World
(Joint undergraduate/graduate course – HIS413H1/HIS1710H)

Examines the process and consequences of slave emancipation in the Atlantic World, beginning with the French and Haitian Revolutions and concluding with slavery and abolition in West Africa in the early 20th century. Students are introduced to the major literature and historiographical debates surrounding emancipation.

Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: M. Newton
Seminar: Thursday 12-2
Geographic Area: b

HIS 417H1-F, L0101 The Oldest Profession in Canada: Sex Work Histories in Comparative Contexts

This seminar explores the historical effects of the “world’s oldest profession” in Canada and beyond. Using a range of texts, including film, memoirs, oral history and visual culture, it seeks to enhance both historical and contemporary discussions of the sex trade by examining its rich, difficult and problematic pasts. Seminar readings and discussions will examine the lives and experiences of multiple sex trade involved populations, from affluent 19th-century madams to streetwalkers and queer and trans communities. Students in this seminar will develop their own original research project and have the opportunity to contribute to a new public history initiative on the history of sex work in Toronto.

Prerequisite: HIS263Y1/HIS264H1
Exclusion: HIS417H1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: L. Bertram
Seminar: Friday 12-2
Geographic Area: b

HIS 422H1-F, L5101 Early Modern English Popular Culture, 1500-1800
(Joint undergraduate/graduate course – HIS422H1/HIS1416H)

Deals with issues of orality, literacy, gender, class, and social conflict through the components of popular, as opposed to elite, knowledge, and culture. Subjects of study include folklore, magic, religion, drink, sex, riot, and festivity in early modern England. Some background in medieval and/or early modern history or literature is highly recommended. Extensive work will be undertaken with primary sources.

Prerequisite: One of HIS101Y1/HIS109Y1/HIS220Y1/HIS243H1/HIS244H1/HIS368H1/HIS337H1/HIS349H1/HIS357Y1
Exclusion: HIS496H1 (Topics in History: Early Modern English Popular Culture, 1600-1800), offered in Summer 2018
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: J. Mori
Seminar: Thursday 5-7
Geographic Area: c
Temporal Requirement: ½ credit

HIS 423H1-F, L0101 Social History of Medicine in the 19th & 20th Centuries
(Joint undergraduate/graduate course – HIS423H1/HIS1269H)

Introduces students to current issues in the social history of medicine and some of the major developments in the modern history of the discipline. The format is class discussion based on themes covered in the course textbook, covering such topics as the history of the doctor-patient relationship, changes in physicians' social status, changing attitudes toward the body, and the evolution of various medical and surgical specialties including obstetrics and gynecology. (Joint undergraduate-graduate).

Textbook(s): Edward Shorter, Doctors and Their Patients: A Social History.

Tentative Course Requirements: A major historiographical research paper (60%), outline for research paper (25%), and participation (15%).

Exclusion: HIS423Y1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: E. Shorter
Seminar: Thursday 3-5
Geographic Area: c

HIS 426H1-S, L0101 Medieval Italy, 400-1000

Italy serves as an excellent yardstick to measure the transition from the ancient world to the Middle Ages. This course examines major developments in Italy from the fifth to the tenth century, a period which saw the collapse of Roman rule, the establishment of several barbarian successor kingdoms, the splintering of the peninsula along geo-political lines, and finally the collapse of any form of centralized government.

Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: N. Everett
Seminar: Thursday 10-12
Geographic Area: c
Temporal Requirement: ½ credit

HIS 433H1-S, L0101 Polish Jews Since the Partition of Poland
(Joint undergraduate/graduate course – HIS433H1/HIS1287H)

The course will explore the history of Polish Jews from the Partitions of Poland to the present, concentrating on the late 19th and first half of the 20th centuries. It will examine the state policies toward Jews of Austria, Prussia, Russia and Poland; the rise of Jewish political movements; the life of Jewish shtetls in Christian neighbourhoods; changes in the economic position and cultural development of Jewish communities in Poland; and the impact of communism on Jewish life. Materials are in English. Primary sources in translation as well as secondary sources representing diverse interpretation and points of view will be analyzed.

Prerequisite: HIS208Y1/HIS251Y1/permission of the instructor
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: P. Wróbel
Seminar: Thursday 9-11
Geographic Area: c

HIS 439H1-S, L5101 Russia’s Empire

This course examines ways in which the Russian Empire and Soviet Union expanded their territories, the ways they controlled those colonies, and the ways in which they dealt with rising nationalism both at home and abroad.

Prerequisite: HIS250H1/250Y1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: TBA
Seminar: Tuesday 6-8
Geographic Area: c

HIS 457H1-S, L0101 The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Empire

The French Revolution and the Napoleonic Empire constituted a decisive turning-point in the history of France. The Revolution was first and foremost a political crisis which provoked the collapse of the Old Regime monarchy and the invention of a Republican form of government, and plunged France into a long period of social turmoil, civil war and political violence. The Empire in turn represented a return to authoritarian politics conjugated with many of the new republican ideals brought forth in 1789. This course will explore the central themes in the history of France during the Revolution and the First Empire. We will consider the period’s principal political, social and cultural aspects: the causes of the French Revolution; the shift from constitutional monarchy to Republic; the relationship between politics and religion; the invention of a new republican political culture; counterrevolution and Terror; the Directory; Bonaparte’s rise to power; the Napoleonic Empire; the nature of war during the Empire; the Restoration; and the Revolution’s legacy in France and beyond today.

Prerequisite: HIS243H1/HIS244H1/HIS319H1/HIS341Y1/HIS387H1
Exclusion: HISC26H3
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: P. Cohen
Seminar: Wednesday 1-3
Geographic Area: c
Temporal Requirement: ½ credit

HIS 466H1-F, L0101 Topics in Canadian History: Commemorations and Public History, Canada, 1800-2000

This course explores selected topics in the history of commemoration, public memory, and public history in Canada. We will examine the number of different locations in Canadian society in which historical memories have been created and disseminated. Covering a time span from, roughly, the early nineteenth century up to the present, we will examine how the past has been remembered. Such processes have often involved various groups - political, economic, and social elites - who have attempted to create ‘pasts’ or ‘traditions’ for themselves and others in society, often as part of creating socio-economic and political hegemony. The course will look at institutions and processes, such as the state or tourism, as examples of such developments. However, we will also read about their contestation; the attempts by women, working-class people, and ethnic and racialized groups to counter the powerful’s apparent monopoly on the public memory of the past. We also will explore the multiple ways in which historical memories have shaped and created landscapes, in ways both discursive and material.

Prerequisite: HIS263Y1/HIS264H1 or permission of the instructor
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: C. Morgan
Seminar: Tuesday 1-3
Geographic Area: b

HIS 466H1-S, L0101 Topics in Canadian History: Upper Canada Creating a Settler Society, 1790s-1860s

This course explores selected topics in the history of Upper Canada, such as its formation in the crucible of transatlantic and imperial warfare, relationships with Indigenous people, the creation of multiple institutions, and colonial leisure and culture. As well as having its own particular local characteristics and features, not least its proximity to the United States, Upper Canada was one of a number of settler societies within the British Empire. The course is intended to explore various dimensions of these aspects and, wherever possible, to consider the relationships between local dynamics and imperial currents. Although the colony became ‘Canada West’ in 1841, our readings and discussions will stretch beyond that conventional political boundary, moving us into the 1850s and 1860s.

Prerequisite: HIS263Y1/HIS264H1 or permission of the instructor
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: C. Morgan
Seminar: Tuesday 1-3
Geographic Area: b/c

HIS 475H1-S, L0101 Senior Reserch Seminar

In this seminar, students will learn the historical methodology skills required to undertake their major independent research project for future professional use or graduate studies, including the development of a topic, formal literature reviews, and the writing of research and grant proposals. History Specialists & Majors only (priority enrollment for Specialists). Not eligible for CR/NCR option. See department website for prerequisite details and registration instructions. Students may count HIS475H1 towards the Specialty methodology pathway or carry on to HIS476H1: Senior Thesis.

Prerequisite: Consent of supervisor and department
Exclusion: HIS476Y1, HIS491Y1, HIS498H1, HIS499Y1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: H. Bohaker/A. Smith
Seminar: Monday 4-6

HIS 477H1-F, L0101 Topics in the Social and Cultural History of Victorian Britain

This course will examine the impact of industrialism on Victorian society and values. Readings will concentrate on major contemporary critics of nineteenth-century British society, including Engels, Mayhew, Owen, Dickens and Morris. Required Reading: All readings will be put on reserve at the library. Students who wish to may purchase: Engels, Condition of the Working Class; Morris, News From Nowhere; Dickens, Hard Times; Arnold, Culture & Anarchy.

Recommended Preparation: A course in modern British History/Victorian literature
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: L. Loeb
Seminar: Tuesday 4-6
Geographic Area: c

HIS 483H1-S, L0101 Space and Power in Modern Africa

This course examines the production, experience, and politics of space in modern Africa from a historical perspective. How is space - local, national, and imperial - produced? In what ways does power inscribe these spaces? This course will explore these questions through a variety of readings examining historical examples and cases from across the continent.

Prerequisites: HIS295Y1/ HIS297Y1 or any 300-level course in African History
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: S. Aidid
Seminar: Tuesday 11-1
Geographic Area: a

HIS 491Y1-Y, L0101 Senior Thesis

Students research and write a primary-sourced based thesis of approximately 7,000 words. They attend seminar to provide training in reviewing literature, writing research proposals, formulating hypotheses, oral presentation of findings and constructive critique of other students work. History Specialists & Majors only (priority enrollment for Specialists). Students must find topics and thesis supervisors. Not eligible for CR/NCR option. See department website for prerequisite details and registration instructions.

Prerequisites: Consent of Supervisor and department
Exclusions: HIS476Y1, HIS498H1, HIS499Y1
Distribution Requirements: Humanities
Breadth Requirements: Society and its Institutions (3)

Instructor: S. Hawkins
Seminar: Monday 2-4

HIS 496H1-F, L0101 Topics in History: Weimar and Nazi Germany: How Do Democracies Die?

Does the destruction of Germany’s first democratic republic provide a map for how democracies die? What lessons can Germany’s history provide for our current political moment? This seminar on Weimar and National Socialist Germany analyzes the transition from democracy to dictatorship between the German Revolution of 1918 and the building of the Nazi state between 1933 and 1938. How was democracy introduced in Germany after the First World War? What were its challenges? Who were its defenders? In what ways was Weimar a failing state after 1929, and what did this mean for the country’s institutions?
In analyzing the country’s movement from democracy to dictatorship an interdisciplinary variety of texts will be studied, covering topics from political violence and economic instability, to the languages of civil society and the importance of trust/solidarity in a democratic polity. We will ask the question of whether the Weimar Republic failed or was destroyed, and how the National Socialist dictatorship arose from its collapse.

Prerequisite: 14.0 credits including 2.0 HIS credits
Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Instructor: J. Jenkins
Seminar: Monday 10-12
Geographic Area: c

HIS 496H1-S, L0101 Topics in History: Globalization and Empire

The twentieth century has been called the age of nation states. We will investigate it as an age of empire. While some empires were destroyed by the First World War, others expanded and new imperial systems arose. This course explores the Soviet Union and National Socialism as twentieth-century empires and analyzes ongoing transformations in the imperial systems of Great Britain and France. The rise of the United States as a global empire, and its effect on the reshaping of the European state system after 1945, will be a central point of focus. Via the impetus provided by studies on globalization, we will investigate the types of global connection created by imperial competition. 

Prerequisite: three modern history/politics courses at the 200 level or above. 14.0 credits including 2.0 HIS credits
Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Instructor: J. Jenkins
Seminar: Monday 10-12
Geographic Area: c

HIS496H1-S, L0201 Topics in History: Historical Memory and Transnational Justice in Latin America

Transitional justice encompasses a broad range of experiences, including amnesties, peace agreements, memorial building, and criminal prosecutions, as well as truth and reconciliation commissions. Enthusiasm for transitional justice is understandable, and critical reflection on the politics of memory is imperative. In what ways has memory in Latin America been mobilized by various groups to confront serious violations of human rights? We will address the connections between memory, accountability and social reconstruction, and each student will be asked to write a research paper on a case study or topic of their choice.

Prerequisite: 14.0 credits including 2.0 HIS credits
Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Instructor: L. van Isschot
Seminar: Wednesday 10-12
Geographic Area: b

HIS 496H1-S, L0301 Topics in History: Art, Culture, and Politics in Quebec

This course will explore the interplay between art, culture, and politics in Quebec throughout the 20th century. Topics will include jazz, the Automatiste movement, and the art, literature, and social movements of the Quiet Revolution and its aftermath.

Prerequisite: 14.0 credits including 2.0 HIS credits
Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Instructor: S. Mills
Seminar: Wednesday 1-3
Geographic Area: b

HIS 496H1-S, L0401 Topics in History: Trends in Women and Gender History in the Global South

This seminar is intended as an introduction to key issues, debates, and themes in the historiography of women and gender in the global south. The course focuses on the intersections of gender, sexuality, nationalism and transnationalism in Africa, Asia and the Caribbean within the context of colonialism, decolonization and globalization from the late 19th century to the early 21st century. Case studies range from gender and tradition in colonial and nationalist discourses; nationalist leaders and women’s emancipation; body politics; sexuality, the state and citizenship to feminism, nationalism and transnationalism.
The seminar asks not only questions of gendered and sexual inclusive and exclusive discourses and practices; it also considers questions of what history is and how it is constructed.
The seminar will be a space for intellectual exploration and learning, for the forming and sharpening of ideas, and for discovery about some of the ways women and gender historians have been making histories, working in a variety of fields and archives, defining and theorizing problems and using evidence-based research.

Prerequisite: 14.0 credits including 2.0 HIS credits
Distribution Requirements: Humanities

Instructor: N. Musisi
Seminar:  Thursday 4-6
Geographic Area: b

HIS 498H1-F/S/499Y1-Y Independent Studies Courses

History Majors and Specialists only. These courses result in the production of an independent research project. This may not necessarily take the form of a thesis. Students must find topics and project supervisors. Not eligible for CR/NCR option. See department website for specific registration instructions.

Prerequisites: Minimum 80% over 3.0 HIS credits at the 200-level or above
Distribution Requirements: Humanities