Historical Biography (HIST*4030) | College of Arts

Historical Biography (HIST*4030)

Code and section: HIST*4030*01

Term: Fall 2022

Instructor: Linda Mahood


Course Format:    

Face-to-face discussions; independent research; individual meetings with prof

Course Synopsis:                        

This course will examine the changing attitude of historians to the biographical project itself, and will consider the reasons why biography as a genre has come in and out of favour over the generations. Students will learn to identify historiographical schools of thought related to biography as a genre, and will gain more practice identifying ideological biases in their sources. This course is also intended to showcase the senior student’s abilities as a historian. Students will select a subject for your biography, compile an extensive bibliography of primary and secondary sources, write a persuasive essay, and then present the work to student-colleagues at the end of the semester.  

Course Outcomes:

  1. Improved skills: research, persuasive writing, critical analysis and oral communication.
  2. Achieved further insight into the discipline of history and its methodology.
  3. Able to discuss the complex issues involved in writing a historical biography.
  4. Gained familiarity with the experiences and significance of a specific person’s life

Allocation of Grades:

Description of topic and initial annotated bibliography - 10 %
Journal article worksheet responses - 5 %
First Draft of 8-10 pages - 10 %
Peer Edit #1 and 2 - 10 %
In-class presentation; participation and preparedness - 10 %
Final Research Paper - 55 %

Required Reading

Textbook: Biography: A Very Short Introduction
Articles and books from library for discussions and research

*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.