The Uses of History (HIST*3450) | College of Arts

The Uses of History (HIST*3450)

Code and section: HIST*3450*01

Term: Fall 2017

Instructor: Brittany Luby


Course Synopsis:

As an introduction to the use of history outside the classroom, this course discusses public history and memory through the activities of governments, corporations, and voluntary associations. History as political propaganda, marketing strategy, and ideological support in a global and historical context is examined. Discussions will focus on history as presented in films, television, monuments, museums, commemorations, and other public and popular media. There will be a balance of collaborative work as well as individual assignments.

The particular focus of Fall 2017 will be “Representations of Indigenous Womanhood from Colonialism to the Present Day.” Organizing questions include, but are not limited to:

  • How, if at all, did the construction and circulation of Indigenous stereotypes put women at increased risk of violence?
  • How, if at all, have social and legal services in Canada perpetuated violence against Indigenous women and/or mitigated violence against Indigenous women?
  • How have Indigenous peoples challenged stereotypes to present a more positive image of Indigenous womanhood to others?
  • What role, if any, have settler-allies played in mitigating violence against Indigenous women?

Participants will not only be required to learn about violence against Indigenous women, but contribute to an educative art initiative, “In Unity.” Students are required to teach (or communicate) historical knowledge gained to a general audience.

Description of “In Unity: Educating on MMIWG”

“In Unity” works to stimulate critical thought about the scale of human loss in Indigenous communities by transforming government statistics into visuals that must be interpreted to be understood.

A 2014 RCMP report indicated that approximately 1200 Indigenous women have gone missing or have been murdered in Canada since 1980. Indigenous women advocated for a public national inquiry in the face of inadequate attention to both individual cases and the overall issue.

“In Unity” is a multi-media project. The centrepiece is an aerial photograph. The aerial is intended to raise awareness about the immense physical loss endured by Indigenous communities by way of missing and murdered Indigenous women.

Each participant will function as a “human pixel.” Together, participants will form the image of a feather.

In addition to the aerial photograph, we seek to display up to 1181 individual photographs. Individual participants are asked to photograph themselves holding a handwritten sign that reads, “I stand for a future where…”

All photographs will be hosted online. There will be an accompanying physical exhibit, which will include the aerial photograph, individual images, and related memorabilia.

Methods of Evaluation and Weights:

Seminar Communication - 20%
Team Specific Writing Submission - 20%
Research Essay - 30%
Workshop Portfolio - 30%

Advice from Past Students:

  1. Use the “Taking Notes for Seminar” template provided by Dr. Luby (or develop your own system for recording your thoughts on the assigned reading).
  2. Bring a copy of the assigned reading to seminar.
  3. Keep a record of your contributions to the group project. It will help you to write your reflection piece at the end of the semester.

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

Kim Anderson, A Recognition of Being: Reconstructing Native Womanhood (Toronto: Canadian Scholars’ Press, 2001).

Beatrice Mosionier, April Raintree (Winnipeg: High Water Press, 2016).

Additional readings will be made available through Ares, the online course reserve system.

*Please note this is a preliminary web 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.