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


Summer Course Descriptions - 2018

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 2018 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 102Y1-Y Empires, Encounters, and Exchanges 

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

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

Instructor: R. Sutherland-Harris/J. Sproule
Lecture: MW 5-7
Tutorials: TBA
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.

HIS241H1-S Europe in the Nineteenth Century, 1815-1914

This course gives an introduction to major themes in European history over the ‘long’ nineteenth century. The geographical focus will be on the countries of Western Continental Europe, especially France, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy, though at times developments in Great Britain and Russia will be discussed; the themes covered will be quite wide ranging. Political developments to be covered include the establishment of Restoration Europe, the revolutions of 1848, the unifications of Italy and Germany, imperialism and the coming of the First World War. We will also discuss industrialization and its manifold effects, a variety of intellectual and social movements, and changes in cultural life over the course of the century. The course explores the history of everyday life as well as the history of high politics and culture, and emphasizes the importance of multiple approaches to historical problems. Attendance at lectures, tutorial participation, reading, research, and writing are all essential components of this 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 on the preparation of essays.

Exclusion: EUR200Y1

Recommended Preparation:  HIS103Y1/HIS109Y1

Instructor: D. Sokolowski
Lecture: TR 5-7
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: J. Rombough
Lecture: TR 5-7
Tutorials: TBA
Division: III
Pre-Modern: ½ credit

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: HIS263Y1

Instructor: D. Barbour
Lecture: MW 5-7
Tutorials: TBA
Division: III

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 311Y1-Y Introduction to Canadian International Relations

This course is a lecture-tutorial course designed to outline not only Canadian external relations but also imperial and foreign developments involving Canada as a colony or as an ally from 1700 to Justin Trudeau. The course begins with a description and discussion of French and English claims to sovereignty in the Americas; native Americans/Canadians as foreign policy actors; the division of North America: what was divided and what was not; British Canada and British Canadians; economy, politics and foreign relations in the 19th and 20th centuries; the interrelation of Canadian society and politics and world wars; bilingualism and foreign relations; the Cold War, the arms race, and nuclear peril; Canada in international institutions -- the League of Nations, the United Nations, the International Monetary Fund, CUFTA and NAFTA.

Textbook(s):  Norman Hillmer and J.L. Granatstein, Empire to Umpire, second edition; Robert Bothwell, The Penguin History of Canada.

Tentative Course Requirements:  term work (20%), two essays (20% each), and final exam (40%).

Recommended Preparation:  a course in Canadian history or politics.

Instructor: J. Levin Bonder/K. Davis
Lecture: MW 2-4
Tutorials: TBA

HIS 330H1-S Germany from Frederick the Great to the First World War

This survey history of modern Germany begins by illuminating the unchanging rhythms of everyday life in pre-modern Europe.  It ends in a very different age – when motorcars and trams rumbled through the streets of huge cities, when German battleships prowled the North Sea and Zeppelins hovered above Lake Constance, when Nobel Prize-winning scientists were the envy of the world, when Expressionism was exploding artistic conventions, and when new ideas about race and eugenics were emerging.

Did Otto von Bismarck’s invocation of “blood and iron” in 1862 epitomize Germany’s transition to modern times?  Or should we look to other developments to understand how the Germany of Goethe and Schiller became the Germany of Hitler and the Holocaust?  Several themes are highlighted: social conflict (and the search for community), confessional division (and popular piety), regional diversity (and the “imagined nation”), the women’s movement (and patriarchal resistance), and political battles that contributed, paradoxically, to both polarization and stalemate. Taking up these contentious themes will allow students to engage critically with Germany’s fractured past.

Audio-visual materials and a 15-minute discussion period are featured in every class. We will view an East German film based on Heinrich Mann’s satire of Germans’ subject mentality under Kaiser Wilhelm II. And students will have access to a vast array of images and documents (in translation) on the website of the German Historical Institute, Washington, D.C.

Required Reading:  James Retallack, ed., Imperial Germany 1871-1918: The Short Oxford History of Germany (pb. 2008); Theodor Fontane, Effi Briest, orig. 1896, in English translation (pb).

Prerequisite:  HIS241H1/EUR200Y1

Instructor: G. Wiens
Lecture: MW 5-7
Division: III

HIS 344H1-F Conflict and Co-operation in the International System Since 1945

This course examines the conduct and consequence of international politics in an atomic/nuclear age when the stakes of the “Great Game” were not just the fates of states and nations, but also the survival of humanity itself. The diplomatic, strategic and economic aspects of international relations will all receive appropriate elucidation.

Exclusion: HIS344Y1

Recommended Preparation: EUR200Y1/HIS103Y1/HIS241H1/HIS242H1

Instructor: C. Sebestyen
Lecture: TR 1-3
Division: III

HIS346H1-F Rice and Spice in Southeast Asia: A Regional Food History

This course examines the importance of food products such as rice, spices and sugars in the livelihoods of the inhabitants of Southeast and in the world economy.  Although we will study the circulation of other food products from the region, we use these three commodities to frame our analysis of the changing meanings of food products in Southeast Asian history.  The course traces the circulation of these products within the Southeast Asian region in the pre-modern period; into the spice trade of the early modern era, and the establishment of coffee and sugar plantations in the late colonial period; the production of “national” dishes in the modern era and the consumption of these dishes in global settings. We will explore each of the commodities through the prism of food and ritual, identity, scarcity, consumption and globalization.

I assume no prior knowledge of Southeast Asian or food history.

Instructor: N. Tran
Lecture: TBA
Division: I

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: TR 10-12
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: T 10-1 R 10-12
Division: III

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'.

HIS496H1-F, L0101 Topics in History: Early Modern English Popular Culture, 1600-1800

An in-depth examination of historical issues. Content in any given year depends on instructor. See History website for more details.

It is strongly recommended that students have taken one of the following history courses:  HIS220Y1, HIS243H1, HIS357Y1, or HIS368H1

Prerequisite: 14.0 FCEs including 2.0 FCE HIS course. Further pre-requisites vary from year to year, consult the department.  

Instructor: J. Mori
Lecture: MW 3-5
Division: II/III

HIS 498H1-F 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, 2018 for Summer 2018.
  • 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.