Canadian Political History (HIST*3160) | College of Arts

Canadian Political History (HIST*3160)

Code and section: HIST*3160*01

Term: Winter 2021

Instructor: Matthew Hayday


Course Format:

This course will have a combination of synchronous and asynchronous elements. The lecture material will be pre-recorded and posted to Courselink. Students will meet online for a fifty minute synchronous discussion of assigned course readings once per week. There may be occasional synchronous meetings to discuss assignments and research tools.

Course Synopsis:

This course analyzes the development of Canadian politics and public policy from Confederation to the Harper years.  A major component of the course will study the changing structures that shaped Canada’s political development, including elections, political parties and constitutional change.  While the main focus of the course will be on federal politics, we will also look at several developments at the provincial level through a number of case studies.  We will also spend a significant amount of time analyzing the development of public policy in Canada, including social welfare policy, foreign policy and identity policies such as bilingualism and multiculturalism.  


7.50 credits including 1 of HIST*2100, HIST*2600, POLS*1400, POLS*2300 

Learning Outcomes:

By the end of this course, a diligent student should be able to:

  1. Explain how Canada’s political process, political culture, key political institutions, political parties and public policies have changed from the mid-19th century to the present.  As part of this, you will be able to identify key factors and forces that have an impact on political history more broadly.  
  2. Work with and interpret primary source materials in the field of political history, including Hansard parliamentary transcripts, party platforms, biographies/ memoirs and newspapers, through skills developed working on the essay proposal and essay.
  3. Explain how the historiography of Canadian political history has evolved and changed over time, through experience gained by reading and discussing published scholarship in class discussions.
  4. Communicate your ideas orally in a more effective manner, and guide others in discussion of complex concepts, through experience gained by regular participation in class discussions.
  5. Communicate your ideas more effectively in written form, and hone your analytical abilities, through skills developed by writing an essay proposal and an essay.

Methods of Evaluation and Weights:

Research Proposal – 15%
Research Essay – 40%
Class Discussions and Participation – 15% 
Final Exam – 30%

Texts Required:

Bryden, P.E. Canada: A Political Biography. Don Mills: Oxford University Press Canada, 2017.


* 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.