400 Level Course Descriptions


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 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

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.

  • 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 Courses (2019-2020)

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 Prerequisites). 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 2019-2020 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 ‘Related 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 401Y1-Y History of the Cold War

This course is jointly taught by professors Margaret MacMillan and Robert Bothwell. It covers the rivalry between West and East, or between liberal capitalism and communism, from the 1940s until 1991. We will pay particular attention to the principal protagonists, the United States and the Soviet Union, but because the Cold War engaged all parts of the world, we plan to take a broad approach to the subject. We will discuss alliance systems and the nuclear weapons they wielded, as well as the slow disintegration of the economies and political structures of the Soviet Union and its European satellites.

Prerequisite: HIS311Y1/HIS344H1/HIS344Y1/HIS377Y1

Exclusion: HIS401H1, HIS306H5

Instructor: V. Dimitriadis
Seminar: Friday 11-1
Division:  III

HIS 404H1-F, L0101 Topics in U.S. History: Choosing War: U.S. Experiences, 1812-2009
(Joint undergraduate/undergraduate course – HIS404H1/USA400H1)

The United States has gone to war regularly over the past two centuries and this course will consider how decisions to do so have changed — or not changed — over time. Key case studies will include the War of 1812, the Mexican War (1846-48), the Spanish-American-Cuban War (1898), World War I (1917-18), World War II (1941-45), the Korean War (1950-53), Vietnam (1954-73), and Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 21st century.”

Prerequisite: HIS271Y1

Instructor: R. Pruessen
Seminar: Tuesday 12-2
Division: II

HIS 405Y1-Y Canadian Foreign Relations
(Joint undergraduate/graduate course – HIS405Y1/HIS1142Y)

The first term will examine incidents or events in Canadian international relations that illustrate the interaction between Canada and foreign powers or international entities. Using that as a base, in the second term the course will look at specific topics examined in recent historical literature, in political, economic, and military history form about 1960 to the present. Examples would be the refusal to join in the Iraq war in 2003, the Afghan intervention, 2001-11, the Free Trade agreement wit h the United States, 1985-9, the Nixon shokku of 1971 and its resemblance to the NAFTA negotiations with the United States, 2017-8. These topics will become the basis for a research essay.

Tentative Course Requirements: two seminar presentations, one preliminary research exercise, a take-home test,  a major research paper and a final exam. Participation is worth 30% of the grade.

Prerequisite: HIS311Y1/POL312Y1

Instructor: T. Sayle/R. Bothwell
Seminar: Wednesday 10-12
Division: II

HIS 414H1-F Down and Out in Medieval Europe

Explores the life conditions of individuals on the lower echelons of medieval society (the poor, servants and apprentices, the exiled, prisoners, slaves, foreigners and lepers). In parallel, we will discuss the various conceptions of poverty that prevailed in the Middle Ages. These objective will allow us to glimpse the European Middle Ages from an unusual angle as well as reflect on important socio-economic and religious changes.

Prerequisite: HIS220Y1 or 1.0 FCE on the Middle Ages, or permission of course instructor

Instructor: H. Wood
Seminar: Tuesday 1-3
Division:  III

HIS 419H1-S Canada By Treaty: Alliances, Title Transfers and Land Claims
(Joint undergraduate/graduate course – HIS419H1/HIS1118H)

This intensive joint graduate/undergraduate research seminar provides opportunity for detailed study of the treaty processes between Indigenous peoples and newcomers in Canadian history, examining the shift from alliance treaties to land surrender agreements during the colonial period through to the signing of recent treaties including the Nunavut Land Claims Agreement and the Nisga’a Final Agreement. We will consider the history of Canada as a negotiated place, mapping the changing contexts of these agreements over more than four centuries through readings and seminar discussions. The first six weeks will be devoted to an intensive study of more than four centuries of negotiated agreements between Indigenous peoples and newcomers to the lands that would become the Dominion of Canada. At least one field trip, to the Royal Ontario Museum, Woodland Cultural Centre or other similar site. For the major assignment, students will select a treaty of personal relevance to them and conduct detailed research (guided by the professor), contributing their findings to a web resource on Canada's treaties. Students in this year's Canada By Treaty will have the opportunity to learn about digital curation and website design. Primary source analysis, seminar participation, digital content, research essay.

Prerequisite: HIS263Y1/HIS264H1

Instructor: H. Bohaker
Seminar: Wednesday 1-3
Division: II

HIS 422H1-S Early Modern English Popular Culture, 1500-1800

Deals with issues of orality, literacy, gender, class, cultural bricolage and vernacular epistemology – the constituents of popular, as opposed to elite knowledge - through the study of 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 printed 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

Instructor: J. Mori
Seminar: Monday & Wednesday 10-11
Division: III
Pre-Modern: ½ credit

HIS 423H1-F The Social History of Medicine in the 19th and 20th Centuries
(Joint undergraduate/graduate course – HIS423H1/1269H)

The seminar is designed to inform students about some key developments in this specialized area of scholarship.  Classroom discussion will include such topics as the evolution of the doctor-patient relationship, the impact of medical care upon health, the emergence of various medical and surgical specialties including  internal medicine, neurology and psychiatry, the relationship between culture and the presentation of illness, and the history of medical therapeutics.

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

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

Exclusion: HIS423Y1

Instructor: E. Shorter
Seminar: Thursday 4-6
Division: III

HIS 426H1-F 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.

Instructor: N. Everett
Seminar: Thursday 10-12
Division: III
Pre-Modern: ½ credit

HIS 433H1-S 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: HIS208Y1/251Y1/permission of the instructor.

Instructor: P. Wróbel
Seminar: Thursday 9-11
Division: III

HIS 435H1-S Themes in Toronto History

This research intensive seminar will focus on questions of power, culture, and the city, with a particular focus on the post-1945 period. Themes will include the history of the poor and working classes, the history of gender and sexuality, and the history of migration, diaspora, and ‘race.’ We will focus both on questions of historiographical interpretation as well as on methodology.

Prerequisite: Any second year Canadian history course or permission of the instructor

Instructor: S. Mills
Seminar: Wednesday 1-3
Division: II

HIS 436H1-S Stalinist Terror

This research seminar explores topics and issues of violence in the Soviet Union in the 1930s, beginning with forced collectivization and ending with the Great Terror. The seminar focuses on new archivally-based research and aims to contextualize Stalinist terror within larger theories of political and social violence.

Prerequisite: HIS250Y1 or HIS351Y1

Instructor: L. Viola
Seminar: Tuesday 3-5
Division: III

HIS 443H1-S Society, Culture, and Religion in the Renaissance and Reformation

Early moderns communicated with themselves, others, and God in ways that are often foreign to us, about concerns which we may not necessarily share, and working with assumptions that may be lost to us. In this course we will work with a range of primary sources (drama, ritual, diaries, letters, travel literature, treatises, dialogues, and official pronouncements) to understand the fears, hopes, and beliefs of early modern people, and their ways of communicating these. People of the time had a growing fascination with measurement, order and rationality, and they took these as the best ways of reforming politics, religion, and life. We will explore the social, intellectual, and political dimensions of ‘reform’ from the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries, and see how reform movements generated both intolerance and tolerance. We will look in particular at how reform movements generated mass expulsions and exiles, and created the modern phenomenon of the religious refugee. We will also see how European Christians used religion as a lens through which they sought to understand non-Christian groups like Jews, Muslims, and Aboriginals.

Tentative Course Requirements:  seminar participation, class facilitation, book review, one major research paper.

Prerequisite:  HIS309H1/340Y1/357Y1 or permission of instructor

Instructor:  N. Terpstra
Seminar:  Monday 1-3
Division:  III
Pre-Modern:  ½ credit

HIS 460H1-S Soviet History and Film: 1941-1991

This course explores Soviet film as a historical source and the institutional and ideological history of Soviet film production, distribution, and exhibition from World War II to the disintegration of the Soviet Union. The course is aimed at students who have a background in Russian history or film studies and wish to develop their knowledge in either area or experiment with interdisciplinary approaches. After a brief introduction to the heritage of the Soviet school of montage and socialist realism of the Stalin era, the course will investigate the following themes: fiction film and documentary during the “Great patriotic War” (World War II); Soviet cinema of the Cold War; the “Thaw” of the 1950s and Soviet “new realism” in cinema; the return of the village; avant-garde cinema of the 1960s-80s (Tarkovsky, Paradzhanov, Sokurov) and the question of audience. Special attention will be given to the question of memory and how late Soviet film addresses the Soviet past. By examining the relation between documentary and fiction film, specific questions of form, such as editing, narration, or sound will be used to investigate ways to analyze the complex relationship between reality, ideology, and their representation on the screen. Issues of film reception will be examined through the development of the Soviet institution of “cinefication” and its decline. Taking places in two consecutive sessions, consisting of film screening, presentations, and discussions, this course extends far beyond the limitations of traditional Soviet film courses based on a small number of films with English subtitles. Students will view never before seen archival footage, as well as films and film clips subtitled by the instructor.

Prerequisite: INI115Y1/HIS250Y1/HIS335H1

Exclusion: HIS450Y1/SLA233H1/SLA234H1

Instructor: T. Lahusen
Seminar: Tuesday 5-7
Division: III

HIS 466H1-F, L0101 Topics in Canadian History: The Social History of Energy in Everyday Life, Canada, 1850-1950

In the early twenty-first century, as people around the world take in the unwelcome news from scientists about the surprisingly violent impact that fossil fuels are having on the global environment, we are being reminded on a daily basis of the deep connections between energy as a key component of our everyday lives -- the energy (overwhelmingly from fossil fuels) that provide us with food, heat, light, power, water, communications, transportation, entertainment, waste disposal, etc. -- and the larger social and material environments within which we live. As people around the world think about future alternatives to our unsustainable reliance on fossil fuels in the present, historians are showing new interest in the last energy transition, from the organic energy regime powered by wood, wind, water and human and animal muscles,  to the modern or industrial regime of coal, oil, natural gas and nuclear power.

This seminar course examines the multiple and profound changes that accompanied the transition to fossil fuels and hydro-electricity in Canada in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, focusing on the household as one way of exploring the ways in which changing energy use slowly transformed just about every aspect of daily life in this period. Through their readings, archival research, writing assignments, field trips and discussions, students will explore Canadians’ distinct experience of the previous global energy transformation. As students will discover, Canadians’ transition to modern energy has been highly variable, intermittent, overlapping, and, in some cases, strongly resisted. As well as providing some insights into the role of energy in Canadian societies in the past, this course just might contain some useful tips for negotiating the next energy transition, away from fossil fuels.

Prerequisite: HIS263Y1/HIS264H1 or permission of the instructor

Instructor: R. Sandwell
Seminar: Wednesday 1-3
Division: II

HIS 466H1-F, L0201 Topics in Canadian History: Upper Canada Creating a Settler Society

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

Instructor: C. Morgan
Seminar: Tuesday 1-3
Division: II

HIS 466H1-F, L0301 Topics in Canadian History: Sex Work Histories in Comparative Contexts
(Joint undergraduate/graduate course – HIS466H1/HIS1168H)

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.

Prerequisite: HIS263Y1/​ HIS264H1 or permission of the instructor

Exclusion: HIS417Y1 

Instructor: L. Bertram
Seminar: Monday 1-3
Division: II

HIS 466H1-S, L0101 Topics in Canadian History: The History of Education in Canada

In this seminar course, students will examine the history of education in Canada, focusing on the factors that contributed to its changing and varied meanings, nature and purposes between about 1840 and 1980. Through their readings, writing assignments and discussions students will explore the ways in which various people, kinds of people and organizations – including First Peoples, recent British, African, and European immigrants, educational bureaucrats and revolutionaries, children, teachers, farm families, and life-long learners – developed, and were influenced by a wide range of educational initiatives, from public schools to Residential Schools, and from Women’s Institutes to Travelling Libraries. This broad overview will allow students to examine education’s varying significance in Canadian society through a variety of lenses, including the creation of the first common schools, educational reform, teacher training, adult education, and the experience of public schooling for teachers, students, parents and communities. As well as reading secondary sources written by historians, students will have the opportunity to read, analyze and discuss a range of educational materials from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.

Prerequisite: HIS263Y1/HIS264H1 or permission of the instructor

Instructor: R. Sandwell
Seminar: Wednesday 1-3
Division:  II

HIS 466H1-S, L0201 Topics in Canadian History: Race in Canada

This course explores the enduring power and changing forms of “race” in Canada and in the United States. We will examine how “race” has affected society and inequalities within both nations. We will also see how “race” has impacted both nations’ engagements with the world. To make our comparison concrete, we will consider connections as well as divergences. To that end, our examination of “race” will focus on tracing interactions among law, society, and policy from the late 19th century to the early 21st century. We will examine these interactions as they affected white, black, indigenous, Asian, Latino, Muslim and mixed race residents. We also will probe related impacts on transnational and international relations.

Prerequisite: HIS263Y1/HIS264H1 or permission of instructor

Instructor: L. Mar
Seminar: Friday 12-2
Division: II

HIS 467H1-F French Colonial Indochina: Cultures, Texts, Film

This course examines French colonial Indochina through a number of different lenses. Early attention will be afforded to the cross-cultural “contact zones” between colonial and colonized societies. Other issues that will be stressed include contested geographies, the characteristics of a settler society, imperial cultures, expressions of colonial power, and forms of opposition and resistance. A number of primary sources will serve as fruitful artefacts to be analysed in class: colonial novels, recently translated resistance literature, documentaries, and feature films. The net result will be to underscore the many tensions of colonialism. Finally, we will turn to a series of wistful and nostalgic recent filmic representations of French colonial Indochina, films described as “Indochic” by literary critic Panivong Norindr. By sifting through these phantasmatic memories of Indochina, and contrasting them with a number of case studies, this course will illuminate issues that go well beyond the boundaries of former Indochine – issues of contested memory, identity, and resistance.

Prerequisite: ANT344Y1/EAS204Y1/GGR342H1/HIS104Y1/HIS107Y1/HIS280Y1/HIS283Y1/HIS284Y/HIS315H1/HIS388H1/NEW369Y1

Exclusion: HIS467Y1

Instructor: E. Jennings
Seminar: Tuesday 10-12
Division: I/III

HIS 470H1-F History, Rights and Difference in South Asia

This seminar addresses modern South Asian history to think critically about ideas of rights since 1750. Examining themes in the political, economic, and legal history of South Asia (most especially India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) 1750-present, the course highlights the central place of colonial and postcolonial histories, and the questions of difference they pose, within the intellectual history of rights. The course will survey major debates on rights: citizenship and its relationship with custom and tradition; rights, the rule of law, and the question of cultural and gender difference; and rights and ideas of contract in the context of market exchange, colonial capitalism, and postcolonial development. Readings include primary historical sources from South Asia, legal and political theory on rights, and postcolonial historiography.

Tentative Course Requirements: two short analytical papers, one longer paper on a major theme, class attendance and participation.

Prerequisite: A mark of 73% or higher in HIS282Y1 or instructors permission.

Recommended Preparation: background in political and social theory and some background in South Asia.

Instructor: R. Birla
Seminar: Tuesday 1-3
Division: I

HIS 475H1-F/S/HIS 476Y1 Senior Thesis Seminar

History Specialists only. Compulsory for all Specialists undertaking a one-year dissertation. Weekly seminars provide training in reviewing literature, writing research proposals, formulating hypotheses, oral presentation of findings and constructive critique of other students work. Posters will be prepared for an annual spring conference. Students must find topics and thesis supervisors. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

History Specialists must choose either to write a Senior Thesis (HIS 475H/476Y) or take one of the Methodology courses listed on the PDF iconMethodology Courses for History Specialist.pdf document. The Methodology credit may be combined with another of the department’s program requirements (Divisions 1 to 3 or Pre-Modern). The thesis differs from the independent study in its length and by its research paper format. Students registered in HIS475H1 and HIS 476Y1 are under the obligation of attending the weekly senior thesis seminar scheduled on Mondays from 10-12 in the Natalie Zemon Davis Conference Room (SS 2098). Students selecting the Senior Thesis option must have a B+ average in no less than 4.0 HIS courses.

How to Enrol:

  • Complete the HIS475H1-HIS476Y1 ThesisBallot-2018.pdf (Senior Thesis) 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, 2019 for Summer 2018 or by August 15, 2019 for the Fall-Winter 2019-2020 academic year.
  • 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.

HIS 477H1-F 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.

Tentative Course Requirements: each member of the seminar will participate actively in all sessions (20%), introduce one session in the fall term (10%), prepare a bibliography (10%), and write a major research paper (60%)

Recommended Preparation: A course in modern British history/Victorian literature

Instructor: L. Loeb
Seminar: Tuesday 4-6
Division: III

HIS 484H1-F The Car in North American History

This seminar examines the history of the car in North America from the perspective of technology, business, landscape and popular culture. Particular attention is paid to issues of production, consumption, geography, and daily life, and to the importance of class race, gender, region, and age in shaping the meaning and experience of car culture.

Prerequisite: HIS263Y1/​ HIS264H1/​ HIS271Y1

Instructor: D. Anastakis
Seminar: Tuesday 11-1
Division: II

HIS 485H1-F Topics in Chinese History: Sexuality in Chinese History from Daoist Devotees to Dr. Sex

(Research Seminar) As a component of historical agents' lives and motivations, sexuality has been coming to the attention of many historians over the last three decades. In this thematic seminar, you will be guided in approaching a diverse array of primary and Secondary Sources, and in developing critical faculties for systematically examining both. By the end of the course, you will have produced a paper of 12- 15 pages or a presentation of 15-20 minutes involving original historical research. You should be better equipped to consider, with a critical intensity equal to that directed at the course materials, your own role as author of history. You are expected to arrive in this class with some previous familiarity with Chinese history and with the methods of historical analysis. Please be aware that we will examine materials that you might find offensive or disturbing.

Prerequisite: EAS102Y1/HIS280Y1/JMC201Y1

Exclusion: HIS485Y1

Instructor: Y. Wang
Seminar: Tuesday 5-7
Division: I

HIS 489H1-F The History of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Illness
(Joint undergraduate/graduate course - HIS489H1/HIS1270H)

This seminar  is intended to introduce students to some of the main issues in the history of psychiatry and some major developments in this unique medical specialty. Classroom discussion will cover such topics as changes in the nature of psychotic illness and the psychoneuroses, disorders of the mind/body relationship, psychiatric diagnosis and changes in the “presentation” of mental illness.

Textbook: Edward Shorter, A History of Psychiatry from the Era of the Asylum to the Age of Prozac.

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

Exclusion: HIS423Y1

Instructor:  E. Shorter
Seminar:  Friday 10-12
Division:  III

HIS 490H1-F Everyday Stalinism

This course is an advanced research seminar in Soviet history. It will explore issues of everyday life in Soviet Russia during the Stalin era. What was the "Soviet normal"? Was there such a thing? How did people live in and outside the Gulag? Students will be introduced to major topics through the use of a series of different types of sources. During the first eight weeks of the seminar, students will read intensively, acquiring familiarity with various sources and their specific problems in Soviet history; at the same time, they will design a topic and bibliography for their research paper. The remainder of the course will be devoted to individualized research.

Prerequisite: grade of A in HIS250Y1/ grade of B+ or higher in HIS351Y1

Instructor: L. Viola
Seminar: Tuesday 3-5
Division: III

HIS 496H1-F, L0101 Topics in History: The Spanish Inquisition

This course explores the origins of the Spanish Inquisition, its functions and mode of operation, and its impact on early modern Spanish society, religion, and culture.  Special attention will be given to the Inquisition’s investigation and prosecution of Conversos (forcibly baptized Jews and their descendants) and Moriscos (forcibly baptized Muslims and their descendants) for their alleged belief in and practice of their ancestral faiths.  A consideration of these inquisitorial trials will facilitate a broader examination of the identity of these minority groups and their relative social and religious integration into Spanish Catholic society.  The course will also give attention to the Inquisition’s prosecution of Protestants and witches, and to the Inquisition’s role in educating and promoting the reform of the Catholic laity.  Seminar discussions will focus on secondary scholarship, such as James Amelang’s Parallel Histories: Muslims and Jews in Inquisitorial Spain, and on the analysis of selected primary-source documents.  Written assignments will include a primary-source analysis and a research essay.

Prerequisite: 14.0 FCEs including 2.0 FCE HIS course.

Instructor: M. Meyerson
Seminar: Friday 10-12
Division: III

HIS 496H1-F, L0201 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 FCEs including 2.0 FCE HIS course.

Instructor: J. Jenkins
Seminar: Monday 10-12
Division: III

HIS496H1-S, L0101 Topics in History: The Secret War 1939-1945

This course considers the role played by Allied, and especially British, secret intelligence services during the Second World War. Students will consider the various roles intelligence served during the war, and weigh the extent to which codebreaking, running of double-agents, and deception operations shaped the course of the war. Assignments include a research essay using primary sources.

Prerequisite: 14.0 FCEs including 2.0 FCE HIS course.

Instructor: T. Sayle
Seminar: Monday 11-1
Division: III

HIS 496H1-S, L0301 Topics in History: Historical Memory and Human Rights 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 FCEs including 2.0 FCE HIS course.

Instructor: L. van Isschot
Seminar: Wednesday 10-12
Division: II

HIS 496H1-S, L0401 Topics in History:  Globalization and Empire in the Twentieth Century
Joint undergraduate/graduate course - HIS496H1/HIS1272H1)

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: 14.0 FCEs including 2.0 FCE HIS course. Three modern history/politics courses at the 200 level or above

Instructor: J. Jenkins
Seminar: Monday 10-12
Division: II/III

HIS 496H1-S, L5101 Topics in History: Themes and Trends in African Women and Gender History
(Joint undergraduate/graduate course - HIS496H1/HIS1705H) 

In recent years, new theoretical and empirical interventions as well as interesting debates have emerged in what has been a novel sub-field of African History. This seminar’s interest is in locating key historiographical debates while simultaneously paying attention to ways women and gender historians have been working in the field and archives, defining and theorizing issues/problems, using evidence, making and writing histories. Among key guiding questions will be: What kinds of problems are the authors and African women laboring in relation to what and why? Who or what is most distinctive or exciting about this or that work (methodologically, theoretically or empirically)? What do the new interventions suggest about how African women and historical conceptualization, writing and analysis have shifted over time?

Tentative Course Requirements: A short reflection paper –worth 10%; Group seminar presentation- worth 30%; Major research paper- worth 40% and Seminar participation -worth 20% of the final grade.

Prerequisite: 14.0 FCEs including 2.0 FCE HIS course. HIS295Y1.

Instructor: --
Seminar: --
Division: I

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

History Majors only. The Department of History offers senior undergraduate students the possibility of study under the course designations HIS498H1-F/S or HIS499Y1-Y. 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.

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 enrol 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. Students must attend the senior thesis seminar which is scheduled on Mondays from 10-12 in the Natalie Zemon Davis Conference Room (SS 2098).


  • It is not practical to do an I.S. as a full-credit taken in one term (i.e. HIS499Y1-F or 499Y1-S)
  • Students are allowed only 1.0 I.S. course in History
  • Where research projects can be undertaken within the scope of an existing HIS seminar, students will not normally be allowed to enroll in Independent Studies.

How to enrol:

  • Complete the HIS 498H-499Y Registration Form.pdf (Independent Study 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, 2019 for Summer 2018 or by August 15, 2019 for the Fall-Winter 2018-2019 academic year.
  • 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.

JHP 451Y1-Y The People from Nowhere

This course traces from earliest times to the present the evolution of a people called Carpatho-Rusyns and their historic homeland ‘Carpathian Rus’, located in the heart of Europe. The historic survey will deal with political, socioeconomic, and cultural developments, all the while testing the hypothesis that nationalities are imagined communities.

Recommended Preparation:  a course in eastern European history, or in nationalism

Instructor:  P. Magocsi
Seminar:  Wednesday 3-5
Division:  III