Fall 2016 - HIST 486 D100

Studies in History II (4)

History of Vancouver

Class Number: 4782

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    HCC 2290, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history.



Special topics.


Often described as a young, dynamic and forward-looking city, Vancouver is sometimes thought of as a place without a history.  Walking around the glass towers of downtown, you might be forgiven for taking this view…  Yet the city and region are the products of centuries of indigenous presence, of western colonialism, and of diverse international migration.  This seminar will explore how these processes developed, and how they continue to shape the social, cultural, political and material context we live in today.  Though Vancouver is frequently praised as a highly liveable city, we will discuss the encounters that have made it into a diverse and contested metropolis, and the class, gender and race-based inequalities that have long underlain its idyllic image.    

This course is offered in partnership with CityStudio Vancouver, an exciting innovation hub that pairs postsecondary courses with City of Vancouver initiatives.  This year, our course will be focussing on the Northeast False Creek Engagement Strategy.  As the City rezones this central neighbourhood and decides on the fate of the viaducts, we’ll be part of the conversation!  Our project will be to develop historical walking tours that tell the fascinating stories of the area, that explore why it is historically significant, and that make a compelling case for why an awareness of this past is an essential aspect of planning for the city’s future. 

NB. If you are lacking the necessary prerequisites, but are interested in this course, please contact the instructor for further discussion. 


  • Seminar participation and presentations 25%
  • Group walking tour 40%
  • Final paper 35%



Readings for this course will include the following books (available through the SFU bookstore, and online through the library catalogue).

Robert Macdonald, Making Vancouver (UBC Press, 1996)

Kay Anderson, Vancouver’s Chinatown, (UBC press, 1991)

Sean Kheraj, Inventing Stanley Park (UBC Press, 2015)

Nick Blomley, Unsettling the City (New York: Routledge, 2004)

Charles Demers, Vancouver Special (Arsenal Pulp Press, 2009)

Additional materials will be made available through Canvas or through the SFU bookstore.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/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