Seminar in Canadian Political History (HIST*4160) | College of Arts

Seminar in Canadian Political History (HIST*4160)

Code and section: HIST*4160*01

Term: Fall 2020

Instructor: Matthew Hayday


AD-S Virtual:

This course will be taught online in a Synchronous format on the following scheduled day(s) and time(s):

TTH    11:30 am - 12:50 pm

Details provided by instructor: This seminar-based course will meet for synchronous (scheduled) virtual discussions using Zoom, twice per week. Each meeting will be 60-75 minutes in length. The first two-thirds of the semester will be predominantly dedicated to discussions of the assigned readings, and the last third to student presentations and discussions of their work in progress.

Course Synopsis:

Votes for women. Indigenous rights. Environmentalism. LGBTQ rights. Peace activism. Labour organizing. Canadian history is full of examples of groups of people who have come together to try to change the politics and societal attitudes of their country. This course is an in-depth seminar about how political changes have occurred in Canadian history. It pays particular attention to the efforts made by people who have participated in social movements and interest groups in order to transform Canadian public policies, create programs, and change attitudes and social values on a variety of issues.  We will consider their strategies for accomplishing political change, the internal dynamics of social movements and groups, and their impacts on Canadian society.  We will also look at how the particularities of the multi-faceted Canadian state, including its bureaucratic structures, its federal system, and its courts, have shaped how political change has – or has not – happened throughout Canadian history. Students will have the opportunity to engage in more in-depth analysis of a social movement, an interest group, or a particular public policy debate, in their major research paper and an in-class presentation.

Learning Outcomes:

After successful completion of this course, an engaged student will:

  1. be able to discuss and explain how social movements, interest groups and other civil society organizations have shaped Canada’s political history, its public policies, and public discourse around several fundamental issues that have shaped the country and its peoples.  
  2. be able to explain how and why some groups have succeeded in having their agendas implemented, while others were less successful, and identify key factors that contributed to their relative success and failure.
  3. be able to identify and explain theoretical models that apply to group and social movement organization and activism, and explain how different disciplines have approached the topic of political change.  
  4. have developed additional experience in working with and interpreting primary source materials in Canadian history.
  5. have improved their oral communication skills through regular participation in seminar discussions.
  6. have improved and further developed their presentation skills by helping to lead a seminar discussion, and by delivering a presentation based on their own research.
  7. have improved their written and analytical skills by writing an essay proposal, a critical book review, and a final paper.

Method of Evaluation and Weights:

  1. Research Proposal = 10%
  2. Book Review = 10%
  3. Presentation of Research Paper Topic = 10%
  4. Research Paper = 35%
  5. Seminar discussion participation = 35%

Texts Required:

  1. Smith, Miriam. A Civil Society? Collective Actors in Canadian Political Life, 2nd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018.
  2. Staggenborg, Suzanne & Howard Ramos. Social Movements, 3rd ed.  Toronto: Oxford, 2016.

*Please note: This is a preliminary website 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.