History

A historical train in black and white

History is the study of the past and how it informs the present. Historical research fulfils the human need for information, and results in greater understanding of our contemporary world. The study of history covers a broad range of topics, including different societies (Aboriginal) or different groups (conquistadors or slaves); diverse economic, political or social movements (industrial revolution; liberalism; women in society or environmentalism); revolutions (Russian or Iranian) or historical periods (the Renaissance); cultural trends (hip hop) or changing technology. We are products of our history: familial, ethnic, religious and national. Understanding our past provides insight into our current situation and reflection on our future.   

The History program in Historical Studies is designed to give its students a wide-ranging perspective on Canada and the world through reflection on the past. The Department provides a diverse and global curriculum, with faculty offering a range of specialized expertise on Canada, Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, the United States, and Medieval societies. The curriculum also offers courses on important themes such as imperialism, colonialism and nationalism; war and politics; culture and society; religion; the environment; social issues involving class, gender, and ethnicity; and migration and immigration. Some of these topics enhance the students’ studies in other disciplines within the Department. Introductory 100 and 200-level courses on broad topics combine lectures and tutorials and teach writing skills; 300-level courses offer instruction on more specialized subjects and 400-level courses are conducted as seminars in which students may experience independent research, make presentations and engage in discussion.

Students of history develop strong communication skills, written and oral, required in a variety of careers. They learn to analyze issues, read critically, do research, and present a case and an argument for it. Such skills are relevant and equip students with knowledge of our changing workplaces and society.

History is a discipline that provides a context, a background, and a perspective for many interesting and often interdisciplinary careers, including: journalism; media; research; work in libraries, archives and museums; community or social work; law; teaching at all levels; politics, administration and government.