History

A historical train in black and white

History is the study of the human past. It seeks to answer not only questions about what happened, but also about how and why; it responds to a human curiosity about ourselves, and it leads to greater understanding of our contemporary world.

The History program in Historical Studies is designed to give its students a wide-ranging perspective through a reflection on the past and a consideration of how historical events have shaped the world today. The Department provides a diverse and global curriculum, with faculty offering a range of specialized expertise on the distant and recent past of Canada, Africa, Asia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and the United States. 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. Courses at the 100- and 200-level introduce broad topics through a combination of lectures and tutorials. 300-level courses offer instruction on more specialized subjects, and 400-level courses are conducted as seminars in which students engage in discussion, make presentations, and pursue more independent research.

Students of history develop strong skills in research and communication. They learn how to find sources, evaluate evidence, and assemble ideas into a persuasive argument. These skills, along with a knowledge of historical context, prepare students for many interesting and often interdisciplinary careers, including politics, policy analysis, and work in the civil service; journalism, commentary on current events, and creation of new media; work in libraries, archives, and museums; community or social work; law; and teaching at all levels.