Spring 2021 - HIST 200 D100

Making History: Introduction to Historical Research (3)

Class Number: 5692

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM



Learning history by doing history. Introduction to a historical problem, and learning how to build and defend a historical interpretation through the analysis of primary and secondary sources. Small seminar format will allow hands-on experience developing research, writing, and presentation skills applicable to other history courses. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.


 Course Description and Goals

Small is beautiful!  Less is more! Through a focus on the theory and practice of microhistory, we shall study the essentials of historical research.  We shall learn how an SFU professor unraveled a sentence from a medieval manuscript, sift evidence in the trials of a sixteenth-century French impostor and a seventeenth-century German widow accused of witchcraft, follow the brief career of a Canadian pilot in the First World War, and observe how in 1970 a brutal murder of a young African American man in a small town in North Carolina became the focus of a story, in a family setting, of local and national racial conflict.  

Microhistory reduces the scale of investigation to a single individual or community or object, often overlooked, in order to reclaim human agency in a narrative to explore a large historical question or problem.  Take this course to discover how fascinating microhistory is and to develop skills in historical research that will prepare you for the learning opportunities that you can expect from other courses in the Department of History.  The course requirements will help you achieve the educational goals of undergraduate courses in the Department of History.  By the end of the course you will be able to

  • describe, reflect upon, and evaluate microhistory and its methods
  • collect, organize, and analyze information relevant to historical research
  • communicate orally and in written form the results of historical research.


  • Research assignments 20%
  • Leading Class Discussion 10%
  • Class Participation 10%
  • First Essay (1000-1500 words, due 12 February) 15%
  • Second Essay (1000-1500 words, due 5 March) 15%
  • Third Essay (2000-2500 words, due 6 April) 30%



Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html


Teaching at SFU in spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).