Spring 2017 - HIST 444W D100

Conceptualizing Atlantic Canada (4)

Class Number: 3975

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 1:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    BLU 11911, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Willeen Keough
    1 778 782-4534
    Office: AQ 6231
  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including nine units of lower division history. Recommended: HIST 101 or 102W.



Explores the social, political, economic, cultural, and intellectual environments in which the region of Atlantic Canada has been created and re-imagined over time. Writing.


Within the “family” of Canadian Confederation, Atlantic Canada has long been seen as the “poor cousin.” Traditional historiography has treated the area as a distinct, homogenous region, characterized by economic underdevelopment, high unemployment, over-reliance on transfer payments, and relentless out-migration. Many Canadian media have portrayed the area as a welfare ghetto, peopled predominantly by feckless characters—friendly and beguiling, but constantly requiring handouts from the federal government.

More recent scholarship has begun to challenge this meta-narrative of regional disparity and dependence—moving into new categories of analysis and suggesting new ways to conceptualize the history of Atlantic Canada. For centuries, for example, the area was actually oriented toward oceanic highways, not the North American continent, and was a bustling sector of trade and migration in a larger transatlantic world. Economic development in the area has not uniformly or irrevocably followed a downward trajectory. The histories of Atlantic Canada’s component parts have been marked as much by diversity as similarity. And within the political borders of each part, there has been further diversity in experience, based on gender, class, race, ethnicity, and religion. Yet in the past 150 years, there has also been a shared sense of identity and grievance, emerging from unequal power relationships with central Canada. So what is Atlantic Canada: a coherent socio-economic region? an imagined cultural or political landscape? a source of migrant workers for central and western Canada? a bureaucratic invention? Following a thematic approach, this course will examine the complex mixture of history and myth, the politics of region, and the politics of memory that have contributed to the creation and re-imagining of “Atlantic Canada.”


  • Seminar participation 15%
  • Written reading responses 10%
  • Book review 20%
  • Research paper - in class presentation of first draft 15%
  • Research paper - final draft 30%
  • Critical commentary (oral) 10%



Margaret Conrad and James Hiller, Atlantic Canada: A Region in the Making, 3rd ed. (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Dean Bavington, Managed Annihilation: An Unnatural History of the Newfoundland Cod Collapse (UBC Press, 2010).

William Wicken, The Colonization of Mi’kmaw Memory and History, 1794-1928: The King v. Gabriel Sylliboy (University of Toronto Press, 2012).

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