Instructor: Professor Joanna Dean

Course Description:

This course will consider the role of Canada’s geography and environment, its vast spaces and distances, local and embodied attachments to place, and networks of mobility and diaspora, in the shaping of Canadian history. The course is historiographical in approach: we will look at how the writing of history has changed over time, and consider the influence of historians such as Harold Innis on the emergence of the themes that preoccupy historians today, such as indigenous and settler epistemologies, colonialism and postcolonialism, nationalism(s), multispecies assemblages, embodiment and materiality, and the play of race, gender, class and sexuality.  We will also be playing close attention to the writing of history, and the varying ways in which narrative has shaped the discipline.

Students will be expected to read and discuss about 3 articles or chapters a week, to write a weekly post, give an oral presentation, and write a historiographical essay.

The reading list changes slightly each term, but in the past has included chapters from:

  • Andrew Baldwin, Laura Cameron and Audrey Kobayashi, Rethinking the Great White North: Race, Nature, and the Historical Geographies of Whiteness in Canada (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011)
  • Stephane Castonguay and Michele Dagenais, eds.  Metropolitan Natures: Environmental Histories of Montreal,(University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011).
  • George Colpitts, Pemmican Empire: Food, Trade and the Last Bison Hunts on the North America Plains, 1780-1882(2014).
  • Julie Cruikshank, Do Glaciers Listen: Local Knowledge, Colonial Encounters and Social Imagination (UBC Press, 2005).
  • Allan Greer, Mohawk Saint:  Catherine Tekakwitha and the Jesuits (2005)
  • Harold Innis, The Fur Trade in Canada, (1930).
  • Joy Parr, Sensing Changes: Technologies, Environments and the Everyday, 1953-2003 (UBC Press, 2010)
  • Adele Perry, Colonial Relations: The Douglas Connolly Family and the Nineteenth-Century Imperial World(Cambridge UP, 2015).
  • Donald Wright, Donald Creighton, A Life in History,(University of Toronto Press, 2015)