The Making of Canada offers a survey of Canadian history from the earliest days of contact between Indigenous peoples and Europeans to the present.
This course is divided into two parts.
In the first term we will explore the unfolding story of the intermingling of peoples in the territory that will become Canada from the earliest days of contact between Indigenous North America and Europe through the turning point year of 1885. The overall framework for the term will be the ongoing tension between the impulses for domination and conformity on one hand and the competing drive for accommodation and diversity on the other. We will explore how this plays out between different Indigenous and European settler communities as well as within the historic Anglo-French rivalry. We will pay particular attention to the role of Indigenous players in the contest for supremacy in North America and to the experience of Indigenous communities within British North America and into the Confederation era, laying a foundation of understanding for the unique position of Indigenous peoples in Canadian society as well as cultivating an awareness of ongoing issues involving land, the Indian Act, treaties, and culture. A second major focus for the term will be an exploration of the foundations of the Canadian state in pre-Confederation and Confederation era milestones including the Royal Proclamation of 1763, the Quebec Act, the achievement of Responsible Government, and the experiment of Confederation. A particular effort will be made to link the issues, events, and ideas of the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries past to current concerns.
The course is delivered in a two-hour lecture format, complemented by a one-hour discussion group that will involve primary source analysis and discussion of specific issues raised in lectures.
In the second half of the course the post-Confederation period will be examined from several different perspectives. Throughout it all, the central theme of a country moving from an agrarian to an industrial society will be described and discussed. Among the themes to be addressed will be the immigration policy and the immigrant experience, Indigenous and non-Indigenous relations, economic development, societal and cultural changes, French-English relations, urbanization, war, changing gender relations, and protest in its multiple forms. Taken together, we will explore how these themes found expression in Canada’s political institutions. Overall, the goal is to give students a firm grounding in Canada’s historical development, and to highlight some of the areas that were and/or are the subject of historical debate.