The following advanced seminar courses are special topics that are not described inside the undergraduate or graduate calendars. For the regular course descriptions, please refer to the official graduate calendar.
HIST 600 / 2 AA
The Nature of Historical Knowledge
Instructor: Dr. Wilson Jacob T 17:45-20:15
This course examines the history of the discipline and the nature of historical knowledge, as well as contemporary debates about the meaning and practice of history. The material covered may include the following: research tools (e.g. library resources, the archives and the Internet), major approaches to history (e.g. Marxist, Annaliste, feminist), the debate about objectivity and truth in history, public history (history in film, television, schools, museums), and the impact of postmodernism on historical practice.
HIST 437/610 / 2 A
Putin and the Global Public Sphere
Instructor: Dr. Alison Rowley T 11:45-14:30
It has been 20 years since Vladimir Putin burst onto the world political stage. This course examines the changing public persona of the Russian President and its impact on popular culture at home and abroad. As the seminar progresses, we will address how efforts to publicize Putin’s actions fit into the broader history of leadership cults; how the hardships of the 1990s factored into his appeal for ordinary Russians; how Putin’s performance of masculinity has affected contemporary politics; and how the use of new technologies has allowed Putin to become a lightening rod in popular culture around the world. No knowledge of Russian is required but please note that some of the materials we will look at are sexually explicit.
HIST 481/665 / 2 A
War and Memory in the 20th Century
Instructor: Dr. Matthew Penney J 14:45-17:30
This seminar explores historiographical and broader academic engagement with memory - individual, collective, and national. We will approach memories of 20th century wars by looking at a wide range of modes of representation of the past across media including novels, films, video games and genres from World War I poetry to science fiction. Like all seminars, it has a major presentation, discussion, and class participation component. Students can write a major research paper on memories and representation of nearly any theme intersecting with war and mass violence from the late 19th century to present.
HIST 498/670 / 2 A
Propaganda, Ideology and Genocide
Instructor: Dr. Frank Chalk T 14:45-17:30
This honours and graduate student seminar introduces students to the new literature on the role of “hate speech,” propaganda, and education in shaping the consciousness of “ordinary killers”. A new generation of scholars challenges the importance of “othering” propaganda and “hate speech” in motivating “ordinary killers” and prioritizes situational factors over “hate propaganda”. We will examine the new literature and challenges to it from scholars whose nuanced rebuttals counter the new narrative, beginning with studies that elucidate the meaning of “hate speech”. The seminar will read the major works in these debates produced by scholars in history, international criminal law, political science, communications, and anthropology. Each student will write a research paper on a case of genocide which illustrates the principle themes of this debate. Informed discussion based on a serious reading of the new literature is an important part of this seminar.
HIST 498/670 / 2 AA
Instructor: Dr. Andrew Ivaska W 17:45-20:15
In recent years the network has emerged as a critical touchstone of scholarly focus, both empirically and theoretically. Using the concept as a lens, this course explores a wide range of cases including: Atlantic worlds emerging in relation to the slave trade; Muslim commercial networks in the Indian Ocean; the circulations through which European empires rose and fell; and more recent examples of migration, transnational political movements, and neoliberal economics. In order to aid us in exploring these historical examples as well as critically assess the possibilities and limitations of the network as a conceptual tool, the course also features a selection of key theoretical texts from cultural theory, political economy and the roots and fruits of recent turns to a Latourian toolkit.
HIST 498/670 / 2 B
The Global Cold War
Instructor: Dr. Elena Razlogova M 11:45-14:30
This course will consider recent transnational histories of the Cold War. We will evaluate attempts to describe this period from a global perspective, including the viewpoint of the two "great" powers and the “Third World” perspective. We will question the very term “Cold War” that elides the “hot” conflicts in most of the world in this period. We will consider the advantages and pitfalls of doing micro- and macro-history of the twentieth century from a transnational perspective. Because the entire subject is impossible to cover in one course, we will focus on its aspects that inspired the most interesting methodological and narrative experiments, for example we’ll look at such issues as decolonization, global revolutionary movements, cultural propaganda, and surveillance, among others.
HIST 601 / 4 AA
Historical Research Methods
Instructor: Dr. Barbara Lorenzkowski T 17:45-20:15
This course is designed to help Master’s students conceptualize their MA theses and contemplate – in a community of peers – the joys and challenges of the historical craft. We will consider the various components of historical research: conceptualizing a topic, establishing and working with a primary source base, crafting a rigorous and theoretically informed argument, situating the argument of the thesis in relation to existing scholarship, and establishing an effective writing routine. In a series of reflection papers, class members will be asked to examine the “genre” of a selected primary source (such as, for example, diaries, newspapers, photographs, objects, oral histories, census records, or parish registers); to analyze an analytical concept that is critical to their work; and to compose a short thesis proposal no longer than the length of a typical grant application.
In keeping with the workshop-like nature of our class, we will embark on at least one field trip (with further information announced closer to the date). We will also welcome several guest speakers to our Tuesday evening gatherings, including both professional scholars, who will reflect on their lives of learning, and senior Master’s students who will share with us their own experiences of historical research and writing.
HIST 457/634 / 4 A
Sex and Gender in Latin American History
Instructor: Dr. Nora Jaffary M 11:45-14:30
Despite scholars’ efforts to historicize them both, sex and gender remain prone to essentializing conceptualizations in which current-day notions of masculinity and femininity, male and female, are projected onto the past. This class shows how such conceptualizations can be questioned by surveying the evolving history of sexuality and gender in Latin America (with a concentration on Mexico) from the pre-Columbian era through the twentieth century. We will use primary sources and scholarly works to understand how different populations thought about sexual relations and gender identities across Latin America’s varied history. Topics treated will include pre-Columbian sexuality, gender and colonialism, sex crimes and the Catholic church, masculinity, the nation, hermaphroditism, transvestism, sex work, same-sex relations, and the regulation of contraception.
HIST 462/638 / 4 A
Historicizing Food in South Asia
Instructor: Dr. Rachel Berger T 11:45-14:30
This seminar takes up the history and the historiography of food in South Asian modernity. Beginning with the late Mughal Era and moving through the postcolonial period, we will explore the significance of food as an object and an organizer of historical inquiry. Situated at the nexus of food studies & South Asian studies, this class will look at what happens when we put food – and the contingent processes of making, distributing, disposing and thinking about it – at the centre of scholarship. The class is organized around food commodities – curry, chai, dal, ghee – in contrast with themes in the social and political history of South Asia (caste, class, revolution, resistance). Our aim is to think about South Asia within the broader context of Food studies, and to think about the way in which food makes politics dynamic in South Asia. The class takes up the challenge of experiential learning and public scholarship, and, as such, will include a lab component (break out your patilas!) , field-based ethnographic work, and Oral History-driven research engagement.
HIST 485/665 / 4 AA
Curating Difficult Knowledge
Instructor: Dr. Erica Lehrer M 17:45-20:15
What unique challenges arise in attempts to deploy memories and documents of violence for public display? And what innovations in exhibition, museology, public cultural interventions and the activation of memorial sites might these challenges inspire? In this course, we will grapple with these questions in theory and practice.
Curatorial processes and their products will be considered in an attempt to reveal the myriad choices – based on cultural assumptions, political conflicts, stakeholder negotiations, community activism, and different forms of knowledge and communication - typically unseen in the resulting, usually “monovocal” displays. In our curatorial practice, we will experiment with less authoritative modes of presentation, revealing the many, often divergent understandings that exist within communities regarding their “shared” histories, as well as among different public audiences.
Given the sensitive subject matter we will be entrusted to curate, we will pay special attention to balancing the more prosaic meaning of the curation process (“to select, organize, and look after the items in (a collection or exhibition)”) with its deeper mandate “to take care of”). The goal of our curations will be to create fresh intellectual, psychological, and social space in which new possibilities for thought and action can occur.
HIST 498/670 / 4 A
Histories of Violence
Instructor: Dr. Max Bergholz J 11:45-14:30
What is violence? And how should we research and tell its history? This seminar considers these questions through a reading-intensive exploration of seminal works written during the past several decades on various aspects of violence. Topics to be covered will include civil war, massacre, genocide, ethnic violence, torture, and rape, among others. While this course is offered through the History Department, our gaze into the violent past will come into focus through an interdisciplinary lens. As such, we will consider works not only by historians, but also by political scientists, sociologists, anthropologists, and psychologists.
HIST 498/670 / 4 AA
Instructor: Dr. Gavin Taylor J 17:45-20:15
In recent years, the concept of settler colonialism—a variety of colonialism that seeks to replace the indigenous peoples of a territory with a new society of settlers—has gained increasing currency in scholarly and activist circles. Settler colonialism, scholars have argued, is not only an ongoing dynamic that produces persistent racial inequality but also a way of recounting history that justifies and naturalizes the dominance of settlers and their descendants. This course takes a comparative approach to the subject, examining the ecological, social, political, legal, and racial dynamics of colonialism in the Anglosphere of Canada, the United States, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, while also considering parallels in other parts of the world. The course will also explore the countervailing notion of indigeneity, considering the ways in which the writing of history might be possible outside a colonial framework.