HIST 1302A: Rethinking Modern Canadian History
Summer 2024

InstructorDr. Jill St. Germain 

Course Description

Canada entered the 20th century as a nation in its own right but within the embrace of the “mother” country – Britain – and chafing at the restrictions that relationship imposed. Still, the late 19th-early 20th centuries marked the apogee of British power and Canada basked in the reflected shadow and many revelled in the idea of Canada as a British nation in North America. Others did not, notably the significant French Canadian minority who advanced a vision of Canada as its own nation, without partiality for transatlantic empires. Canada departed the 20th century a different nation altogether. Politically independent in every way, the British identity that had dominated through the First World War had given way to a multicultural, multi-ethnic nation.

In HIST1302, we will examine Canadian history through the lens of two broad frameworks: a) that of the evolution of Canada from a British nation to a multi-cultural, multi-ethnic nation; and b) as a political and social experiment that is ongoing. Each of these frameworks is multi-faceted. In our examination of Canadian identity, we will consider the efforts to imprint a British identity on the nation and the counterweights to this from French, Indigenous, and immigrant communities. Our examination of the Canadian experiment will encompass Canada’s constitutional development, its status as a liberal democracy, and the impact of forces both internal and external in the evolution of both. And along the way, we will explore the stories of several individuals from various corners of the national experience to highlight diversity, achievement, and shortcomings.

Class Format

HIST1302 is offered in May/June 2024, from May 4 to June 16. It will be offered online and in an asynchronous format. It is also a lecture course. The format will consist of two course units per week for the six weeks of the course. Each unit will consist of an introductory powerpoint presentation of lecture highlights, and the lecture itself, which will be available both in full-text written version and audio version. You can read or listen or read and listen to each lecture.


Course assessment will include short tests on each lecture, two short written assignments, and a major assignment taking the form of a primary source scavenger hunt. Details will be made available in the course syllabus.