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Special Topics: 2015-16

Fall Semester 2015:

Canadian History Through Literature

Can stories about things that didn't really happen, shed light on things that actually did? This seminar course will use the approaches of cultural history to examine Canadian poetry, fiction, writers, and literary movements in order to explore aspects of Canadian history (including but not limited to European exploration, the Riel rebellions, WWI & WWII). In doing so we will grapple with issues of memory and identity: what do we choose to remember and why? What does it mean to be a Francophone, an Aboriginal, a Maritimer, and/or a “Canadian”? We will occasionally move beyond literature and history to think about Canadian culture more broadly: visual art, theatre, music, etc. Ultimately, this course is about how we as Canadians attempt to portray ourselves and our past through cultural means. It demands a great deal of reading, writing, and class participation... but it’s also a lot of fun! 

Area Designation: Canadian


Winter Semester 2016:

History 209 - Foreign Food: Eating in the Age of Empires

Food as it was understood in earlier periods: spices to preserve and mask rotting meats; sugar, chocolate and raisins as cure-alls; cocoa as a hallucinogen; potatoes as a plot to kill off surplus peasants; porridge as a middle-class conspiracy to undermine working-class culture. In this course we use intrinsically interesting case studies to explore important themes in the history of food discovery, distribution, and consumption. Central to our course readings and discussions will be subjects such as the use of unfree labour, the expansion of a capitalist economic system, the growth and evolution of European imperialism, and negotiations in social relations along class, gender, and racial/ethnic lines.

Area Designation: Global

Edward MacDonald
(902) 894-2805