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HISTORY 1FF3 ExploringHistInSmallGroup

Academic Year: Winter 2017

Term: Winter

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Ruth Frager

Email: frager@mcmaster.ca

Office: Chester New Hall 631

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24133


Office Hours: Tuesdays, 2:00-4:00

Course Objectives:

Course Description & Objectives:


This course is designed to introduce you to the study of history in a seminar setting, while focusing thematically on the Great Depression, the Second World War, and post-war gains in Canada.  Students will work on developing research skills, identifying historical arguments and approaches, developing and refining historical arguments, and, more broadly, developing critical thinking.  The course provides the opportunity to develop effective written and oral communication skills while also learning about this important period in Canada’s history. 

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

Class Readings:


The required weekly readings are listed later in this course outline.  Many of these readings are available online (usually as an e-book or via     the e-Journals section of the online McMaster library catalogue), and some of the readings have been posted as pdf files on our Avenue to Learn site.  The rest of the required readings are from the following book:


Barry Broadfoot, Ten Lost Years, 1929-1939: Memories of Canadians Who

Survived the Depression (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1997).


Broadfoot’s book is available at McMaster’s Campus Store, and a copy of the book will be on reserve.


Students will also be required to do additional reading as the course progresses.  Additional class readings may be assigned, and students will need to read additional material specifically for their assignments. 

Method of Assessment:

Grading Scheme:

Class participation.......................................................................25%

Assignment #1: Article Assessment (250-500 words)...............5%  (due 19 January)

Assignment #2: Review of 1 Text (750-1000 words)...............10%  (due 2 February)

Assignment #3: Review of 2 Texts (1500 words).....................15%  (due 16 February)

Assignment #4: Final Paper (2000 words)................................25%  (due 30 March)

Final Exam:  ………………………………………………….20%

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Students are expected to hand in all written work at the beginning of class on the specific due dates.  Work that is late will be penalized 3% per day (including Saturdays and Sundays) in order to be fair to those students who hand their work in on time. Since each written assignment is due at the start of class, any of these four assignments will be considered a day late if they are handed in later than the start of the particular class.  In any case, no papers will be accepted after the last day of classes in April, unless the student officially obtains deferred status.  Please note that extensions or other accommodations will normally be determined by the instructor and will usually only be considered if supported by appropriate documentation. 

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at www.mcmaster.ca/academicintegrity

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at mcmaster.ca/msaf/. If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail sas@mcmaster.ca. For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

Weekly Schedule:


 * A reading that is preceded by a single asterisk is available online (usually as an e-book or via

      the e-Journals section of the online McMaster library catalogue).

**A reading that is preceded by a double asterisk is available as a pdf file on our Avenue to

      Learn site





Week 1:

Thursday, 5 January: Introduction


Week 2:

Thursday, 12 January: Hardship in the Great Depression

  • *Michiel Horn, The Great Depression of the 1930s in Canada (Ottawa: Canadian Historical Association, 1984).

    This pamphlet is available on the internet.  Please go to:

    www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/cha-shc/index-e.html and then click on “Historical  Booklets.”  Then scroll down the list of booklets and click on Horn’s title.

  • Ten Lost Years, chaps. 2-4 & 7-9 (pp. 16-48 & 74-111).



Assignment #1 is due at the start of class on 19 January.



Week 3:

Thursday, 19 January: Hardship and Resilience

  • *Denyse Baillargeon, “State, Family, Neighbours, and Credit,” chap. 7 in Baillargeon’s Making Do: Women, Family, and Home in Montreal during the Great Depression (Waterloo: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 1999), pp. 141-166.

  • Ten Lost Years, chaps. 11-15 & 24 (pp. 128-199 & 304-320).


Week 4:

Thursday, 26 January: Hardship and Protest

  • *Lara Campbell, “`We who have wallowed in the mud of Flanders’: First World War Veterans, Unemployment and the Development of Social Welfare in Canada, 1929-1939,” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association, vol. 11 (2000), pp. 125-149.

  • *Irving M. Abella, “Oshawa, 1937,” in Abella, ed., On Strike: Six Key Labour Struggles in Canada, 1919-1949 (Toronto: James Lewis & Samuel Publishers, 1974), pp. 93-128.

    Ten Lost Years, chaps. 26-27, 29-30, & 33 (pp. 330-353, 367-390, & 405-417).



Assignment #2 is due at the start of class on 2 February.



Week 5:

Thursday, 2 February: Politics and Protest

  • **Carmela Patrias, Relief Strike: Immigrant Workers and the Great Depression in Crowland, Ontario, 1930-1935 (Toronto: New Hogtown Press, 1990) (pamphlet).

(Reprinted in Franca Iacovetta et al., eds., A Nation of Immigrants (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998), pp. 322-358.)


Week 6:

Thursday, 9 February: Containing Protest and Entitlement


            Debate: Were the men from the relief camps justified in striking?   

                          (There is a separate handout on this debate.)


  • **Lorne A. Brown, “Unemployment Relief Camps in Saskatchewan, 1933-1936,” in Michiel Horn, ed., The Depression in Canada: Responses to Economic Crisis (Toronto: Copp Clark Pitman, Ltd., 1988), pp. 74-101.(Originally published in Saskatchewan History, vol. 23, no. 3 (Autumn 1970), pp. 81-104)

  • *James Struthers, “A Profession in Crisis: Charlotte Whitton and Canadian Social Work in the 1930s,” Canadian Historical Review, vol. 62, no. 2 (June 1981), pp. 169-185.



Assignment #3 is due at the start of class on 16 February.



Week 7:

Thursday, 16 February: Ethnic and Racialized Minorities in the Great Depression

  • *Gillian Creese, "Exclusion or Solidarity? Vancouver Workers Confront the `Oriental Problem,'" BC Studies, no. 80 (Winter 1988/89), pp. 24-51.(Reprinted in Laurel Sefton MacDowell and Ian Radforth, eds., Canadian Working-Class History: Selected Readings (Toronto: Canadian Scholars' Press, 1992)).

  • *Rhonda L. Hinther, “Raised in the Spirit of the Class Struggle: Children, Youth, and the Interwar Ukrainian Left in Canada,” Labour/Le Travail, vol. 60 (Fall 2007), pp. 43-76.

    To find the online version of Labour/Le Travail (formerly Labour/Le Travailleur), you will need to go to the e-journal tab of the McMaster Library Catalogue and indicate that the title begins with “labour” (please note the Canadian spelling and please remember to omit the quotation marks).  You will then see that there are two journals with this title, and you want the Canadian journal.  At present, the Canadian journal is the first entry, and, in any case, you can make sure that you are accessing the Canadian journal by confirming that you see this message at the bottom of the entry:  “Absorbed: Bulletin of the Committee on Canadian Labour History.” 


(20-24 February: Reading Week)



Week 8:

Thursday,  2 March: Immigration Policy in the Great Depression

  • * Barbara Roberts, “Shoveling out the `Mutinous’: Political Deportation from Canada before 1936,” Labour/Le Travail, vol. 18 (Fall 1986), pp. 77-110.

    * Irving Abella and Harold Troper, “`The line must be drawn somewhere’: Canada and Jewish Refugees, 1933-1939,” Canadian Historical Review, vol. 60, no. 2 (June 1979).(Reprinted in Franca Iacovetta et al., eds., A Nation of Immigrants: Women, Workers, and Communities in Canadian History, 1840s-1960s (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1998), pp. 412-445.)


Week 9:

Thursday, 9 March: Women in the Great Depression

  • *Margaret Hobbs, “Equality and Difference: Feminism and the Defense of Women Workers During the Great Depression,” Labour/Le Travail, vol. 32 (Fall 1993), pp. 201-223.

  • *Katrina Srigley, “`In case you hadn’t noticed!’: Race, Ethnicity, and Women’s Wage-Earning in a Depression-Era City,” Labour/Le Travail, vol. 55 (Spring 2005), pp. 69-105.

  • *Catherine Annau, “Eager Eugenicists: A Reappraisal of the Birth Control Society of Hamilton,” Histoire sociale/Social History, vol. 27, no. 53 (1994), pp. 111-133.


Week 10:

Thursday, 16 March: Gender, Protest and Politics

  • *Annelise Orleck, “`We are that Mythical Thing Called the Public’: Militant Housewives during the Great Depression,” Feminist Studies, vol. 19, no. 1 (Spring 1993), pp. 147-172.

  • *Angelo Principe, “Glimpses of Lives in Canada’s Shadow: Insiders, Outsiders, and Female Activism in the Fascist Era,” in Women, Gender, and Transnational Lives, pp. 349-385.

  • *Elaine S. Abelson, “`Women Who Have No Men to Work for Them’: Gender and Homelessness in the Great Depression, 1930-1934,” Feminist Studies, vol. 29, no. 1 (Spring 2003), pp. 104-127.


Week 11:

Thursday, 23 March: World War II

  • *Desmond Morton, 1945: When Canada Won the War (Ottawa: Canadian Historical Association, 1995).

    This pamphlet is available on the internet.  Please go to:

    www.collectionscanada.gc.ca/cha-shc/index-e.html and then click on “Historical  Booklets.”  Then scroll down the list of booklets and click on Morton’s title.

  • **Jeffrey A. Keshen, “Growth, Opportunity, and Strain,” chap. 2 in Keshen’s Saints, Sinners, and Soldiers: Canada’s Second World War (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2004), pp. 41-70.




Assignment #4 is due at the start of class on 30 March.



Week 12:

Thursday, 30 March: Wartime and Post-war Gains

  • **Alvin Finkel, “Brave New World” and “Trade Union Struggles,” chap. 1 and part of chap. 2 in Finkel’s Our Lives: Canada after 1945 (Toronto: Lorimer, 1997), pp. 3-39 & 69-76.


Week 13:

Thursday, 6 April: Losing Post-war Gains

  • **Alvin Finkel, “The New Millennium and Social Policy Directions,” chap. 13 in Finkel’s Social Policy and Practice in Canada: A History (Waterloo, Ontario: Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2006), pp. 325-338.






The final exam will take place during the final exam period (11-27 April).




Other Course Information:

The full course outline contains much more information and is available on Avenue to Learn.