Pre-Confederation Canada (HIST*2100) | College of Arts

Pre-Confederation Canada (HIST*2100)

Code and section: HIST*2100*01

Term: Fall 2022

Instructor: Catharine Wilson


Course Synopsis:

This course studies political, economic, social, and cultural developments, including the intertwined Indigenous histories, in the lands now known as Canada up to 1867. It situates these aspects of history within an international context. Students will work with primary sources and explore topics in greater detail in their research essays. 

History Majors and History Minors need to take either this course (HIST*2100) or HIST*2600 Histories of Canada Since 1867, as a core requirement.  While not required to do so, students are advised to take both HIST*2100 and HIST*2600.

Method of Delivery:

Fully in-class on campus. Students will meet weekly for two lectures and one seminar. Classes will not be recorded for later viewing, so students are expected to attend all classes in-person. 

Learning Outcomes:

By the successful completion of this course, a conscientious student will have learned to:

  1. identify and explain key factors and forces that have shaped the development of society, culture, politics, economics, and international relations up to 1867.
  2. work with and interpret primary source materials, through skills developed in seminar discussions and writing an essay.
  3. explain historiographical debates in the scholarly literature on a variety of topics.
  4. communicate ideas orally, and engage in active listening, through regular participation in seminar discussions.
  5. assume professional responsibilities as a budding historian by locating suitable primary source materials, books and journal articles and ethically citing them in an essay.
  6. improve written and analytical skills by writing an essay proposal, an essay and a final exam.

Method of Evaluation and Weights:

20%: Seminar participation         
10%: Essay Proposal & Annotated Bibliography            
35%: Research Essay            
35%: Final Exam                

Two Texts Required: a general textbook and a seminar reader

General Textbook: 
John Douglas Belshaw, Canadian History: Pre-Confederation, 2nd edition (Victoria, B.C.: BCcampus, 2020).  This is a free online course textbook available to download at:

Seminar Reader:
Amy Shaw, Corey Slumkoski, J.M. Bumsted, eds., Interpreting Canada’s Past: A Pre-Confederation Reader, 6th edition (Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press, 2021).  Available in paperback and ebook.

*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.