Invitation to History: Polar Encounters (HIST*1050) | College of Arts

Invitation to History: Polar Encounters (HIST*1050)

Code and section: HIST*1050*02

Term: Fall 2017

Instructor: Alan Gordon


Course Synopsis:

This course introduces students to the basics of the historian’s craft including interpreting primary sources, locating and critically analyzing secondary sources and writing for History.  It will provide you with the tools that you need to be successful in your History major, minor or area of concentration.  You can choose any one of the following four classes.  The classes are different in terms of topic, but will teach the same skills and prepare you for other history classes in the same way.  This section is called Polar Encounters.

Polar Encounters: European explorers first encountered North America as an obstacle on their way to Asia.  The search for a northwest passage through the continent’s northern reaches dominated northern exploration from the start of the 16th century until the 20th century.  Recently, global warming has once again thrust the northwest passage into the spotlight.  This course will trace the history of northern American exploration.  It will examine the mysteries of the disappearance of the Franklin and Hudson expeditions and explore encounters among various peoples in the North and between people and the environment.

Methods of Evaluation and Weights:

Short Written Assignment  15%
Essay Proposal  10%
Research Essay  25%
Midterm Exam  20%
Final Exam  20%
Class Participation  10%

Texts and/or Resources Required Include All or Parts of:

TBD:  (Last year’s text was Eber, Dorothy. Encounters on the passage: Inuit meet the explorers. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008.)


*Please note:  This is a preliminary web course description only.  The department reserves the right to change without notice any information in this description.  The final, binding course outline will be distributed in the first class of the semester.