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HISTORY 3CW3 Canada In A World Of Empires

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Prof. Julien Mauduit

Email: mauduitj@mcmaster.ca

Office: LRW 2007

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 26425


Office Hours: Tuesday 2:30-4:30

Course Objectives:


This thematic course analyzes the imperial background of Canadian history, from the pre-Columbian world to 1919. We will focus on major themes such as European exploration, the birth of the colonies, the enduring imperial rivalry, the governance of the British North America colonies, and the gradual emancipation of Canada from the British Empire. Emphasis will be placed on the transnational and transatlantic aspects of Canadian history. We will address various macro historical dimensions, understandable only within a spatially and chronologically wide perspective: the indigenous civilisation’s fate, Canadian’s capitalist experience, the spectre of annexation to the United States, and so on. Fundamental notions will be analyzed in relation to the imperial issues at stake, including nationalism, liberalism and relations of power within Canadian society. This global perspective will also be examined through micro realities, significant short-term or forgotten events, as well as through the individual destinies of both famous and anonymous Canadians. Finally, this course will engage with contemporary issues in Canadian and global affairs.


This course combines and alternates lectures on general themes, and seminars in which the students will discuss the assigned readings. Thus, the lectures will explore the major topics of the course and provide the essential knowledge regarding the final exam, while the seminars will allow us to analyze particular themes in greater depth and to sharpen your analytical skills in view of the research paper. “Short exams” will be held during the seminars. The class will be divided into three groups for the seminars: two groups will have their seminars on Monday, and the remaining one on Wednesday.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:


All the assigned readings will be available on Avenue to Learn (ATL).


To complete the course, you will find valuable information in these following books (available at the Mills Library):

-Carl Berger, The Sense of Power, Studies in the Ideas of Canadian Imperialism (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1970).

-Phillip A. Buckner (ed.), Canada and the British Empire (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010).

-Nancy Christie (ed.), Transatlantic Subjects. Ideas, Institutions, and Social Experience in Post-Revolutionary British North America (Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008).

-Karen Dubinsky, Adele Perry and Henry Yu (eds.), Within and Without the Nation: Canadian History as Transnational History (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015).

Method of Assessment:


Participation (Seminars)


Short Exam


Final Exam





Participation (Seminars) – 20 %

This evaluation is based on your attendance in the seminars, as well as on your active participation in the discussions. You have to read the assigned readings carefully, and then share your thoughts during the seminars. The reading for each week is to be done by the time of your seminar. Multiple interpretations can be applied to each source, and multiple links to the lectures and historical facts can be drawn, so you must not be shy of engaging into a – friendly and polite – argumentation with your fellow students, and even question my own interpretation. In fact, discussing and debating is a manifest sign of your interest and commitment. Reading the texts, then attending the seminars and discussing the assigned readings will not be important only for this grade, it is also key for your success in this course.


Short Exam – 10%

Dates: Weeks 5 and 10.

Two “short exams” will be held during the seminars, but I will only keep your best grade. They are framed on a short-answer model: you will have to provide names, dates, and other precise knowledge from the lectures. On the one hand, it will encourage you to work on your notes all along the semester, a perfect preparation for the final exam. On the other hand, I will be able to evaluate the quality of your attention during the lectures.


Final Exam – 30%

Date to TBA.

The final exam consists of two essays. You will choose the topics among the four which will be proposed to you. In these essays, you will have to insert the maximum of the relevant knowledge that you would have learned, the majority of which from the lectures, but also from the assigned readings. The essays have to be written in a structured manner: introduction, sections, conclusion.


Research Paper – 40%

Seminar Presentation: Week 10

Due Date: December 6

Doing history means using intellectual tools, methods and concepts, to interpret selected primary and secondary sources (a corpus) found during an inquiry on a specific topic. Hence, history is not a description, even less a story, but an analysis based on facts and evidence, and presented in a logical and convincing way. The research paper’s aim is to encourage you to do academic history. You will have to select a corpus on the topic of your choice, but related to this course, then analyze your sources with your own critical knowledge and reflection. You have to provide an argumentation based on evidence, to explain your interpretation and to convince the reader. A recommended way to write a good paper is to organize it around a question which has to be answered, a historical problem which has to be solved. You can frame your argumentation or demonstration in many ways, for example as a counter-argumentation of something you will read. Besides the obligation of having one introduction, an argumentation/demonstration divided into logical parts, and one conclusion, you have a certain freedom regarding the form of your paper. It has to be written double-spaced, and be 10 to 12 pages. A last requirement is to use at least two of the course-assigned readings. We will have two workshops during the lectures (weeks 2 and 9). You will also have to present your research in front of your seminar’s group (week 10 - this presentation will count for your paper grade), allowing you to benefit from the feedback of a collective discussion. A detailed guideline will be available on Avenue to Learn.

Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late: 2% of your grade will be withdrawn per calendar day.

Any extension has to be documented and determined before the deadline. As an obvious measure of fairness, please note that only exceptional circumstances could justify an extension. You are also welcome to submit your paper prior to the deadline.

If you miss a lecture or a seminar, it is your responsibility to catch up on the material you have missed. Lecture notes and slides will not be posted online

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:

Week 1

Sept. 6: Introduction


-Veronica Strong-Boag, “Not Alone: Writing Canadian History as if the World Mattered,” Canadian Issues/Thèmes Canadiens (Fall 2008): 40-43 (ATL).


Week 2: Lectures

Sept. 11: The World in the 15th C. ***Papers Workshop

Sept. 13: Contested Settlement (1497-1608)


-Charles Mann, “1491,” The Atlantic, March 2002 (ATL).


Week 3: Seminars – “Contact”

Sept. 18: Groups 1 & 2

Sept. 20: Group 3


-Peter Bakker, “‘The Language of the Coast Tribes is Half Basque’: A Basque-American Indian Pidgin in Use between Europeans and Native Americans in North America, 1540-ca. 1640,” Anthropological Linguistics, 31 (Fall-Winter 1989): 117-147 (ATL).

-Bruce Trigger, “Champlain Judged by His Indian Policy: A Different View of Early Canadian History,” Anthropologica, 13 (1971): 85-114 (ATL).

-Bruce Trigger, “Early North American Responses to European Contact: Romantic versus Rationalistic Interpretations,” The Journal of American History, 77 (March 1991): 1195-1215 (ATL).


Week 4: Lectures

Sept. 25: Ecological Imperialism & War of Civilisations?

Sept. 27: Fur Trade: Economic Imperialism


-Michael L. Blakey’s review of Alfred Crosby’s Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (1986), Medical Anthropology Quarterly (Dec. 1989): 417-421(ATL).

-M. Raghavender Rao’s review of Alfred Crosby’s Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (1986), Social Scientist, 25 (May-June 1997): 68-74 (ATL).


Week 5: Seminars – “Imperialism in New France” ***Short Exam

Oct. 2: Groups 1 & 2

Oct. 4: Group 3


-Jan Grabowski, “French Criminal Justice and Indians in Montreal, 1670-1760,” Ethnohistory, 43 (Summer 1996): 405-429 (ATL).

-Peter Moogk, “The Liturgy of Humiliation, Pain, and Death: The Execution of Criminals in New France,” The Canadian Historical Review, 88 (March 2007): 89-112 (ATL).

-Jon Parmenter, “L’arbre de paix: Eighteenth-Century Franco-Iroquois Relations,” French Colonial History, 4 (2003): 63-80 (ATL).


Week 6: Mid-Term Recess


Week 7: Lectures

Oct. 16: Imperial Rivalries: the British “Machiavellian Moment” (17-18th C.)

Oct. 18: No Class Meeting


-Jeffers Lennox, “An Empire on Paper: The Founding of Halifax and Conceptions of Imperial Space, 1744-1755,” The Canadian Historical Review, 88 (Sept. 2007): 373-412 (ATL).

-Jeffrey McNairn, “‘Everything was new yet familiar,’ British Travelers, Halifax and the Ambiguities of Empire,” Acadiensis, 36 (Spring 2007): 28-54 (ATL).


Week 8: Seminars –British Divisions in America

Oct. 23: Groups 1 & 2

Oct. 25: Group 3


-Eliga H. Gould, “A Virtual Nation: Greater Britain and the Imperial Legacy of the American Revolution,” The American Historical Review, 104 (Apr. 1999): 476-489 (ATL).

-Maya Jasanoff, “The Other Side of Revolution: Loyalists in the British Empire,” The William & Mary Quarterly, 65 (Apr. 2008): 205-232 (ATL).

-Elizabeth Mancke, “Another British America: A Canadian model for the early modern British Empire,” The Journal of Imperial and Commonwealth History, 25 (Jan. 1997): 1-36 (ATL).


Week 9: Lectures

Oct. 30: The American Revolution and “Canada,” 1763-1814 ***Papers Workshop

Nov. 1: Republican Resistance in the Canadas (1828-1840)


-Donald Fyson, “The Canadiens and British Institutions of Local Governance in Quebec, From the Conquest to the Rebellions,” in Nancy Christie (ed.), Transatlantic Subjects: Ideas, Institutions and Identities in Post-Revolutionary British North America (Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2008): 45-82 (ATL).


Week 10: Seminars: Paper Presentations ***Short Exam

Nov. 6: Groups 1 & 2

Nov. 8: Group 3

No readings this week.


Week 11: Lectures

Nov. 13: The Annexation Question, Loyalism, and Identities in Canada

Nov. 15: Guest Lecturer – Dr Maxime Dagenais, Wilson Institute for Canadian Studies, McMaster University: “Friend or Foe: The Misunderstood Tenure of Lord Durham.”


-Bruce Curtis, “The ‘Most Splendid Pageant Ever Seen’: Grandeur, the Domestic, and Condescension in Lord Durham’s Political Theatre,” The Canadian Historical Review, 89 (Apr. 2008): 55-88 (ATL).


Week 12: Seminars – “Capitalistic Conquest”

Nov. 20: Groups 1 & 2

Nov. 22: Group 3


-Greg Gillespie, “‘I Was Well Pleased with Our Sport among the Buffalo’: Big-Game Hunters, Travel Writing, and Cultural Imperialism in the British North American West, 1847-72,” The Canadian Historical Review, 83 (Dec. 2002): 1-17 (ATL).

-Allan Greer, “Commons and Enclosure 
in the Colonization of North America,” The American Historical Review (Apr. 2012): 365-386 (ATL).

-Ian McKay, “The Liberal Order Framework: A Prospectus for a Reconnaissance of Canadian History,” The Canadian Historical Review, (Dec. 2000): 616-651 (ATL).


Week 13: Lectures

Nov. 27: Exporting the Canadian “Liberal Order” to the Plains

Nov. 29: Genre Division: Imperialism in the Social Sphere?

Reading :

-Geoff Read and Todd Webb, “‘The Catholic Mahdi of the North West’: Louis Riel and the Métis Resistance in Transatlantic and Imperial Context,” The Canadian Historical Review, 93 (June 2012): 171-191.


Week 14: Conclusions

Dec. 4: Canadian Agency: From Confederation to 1919

Dec. 6: Final Exam General Review – Paper Due