Fall 2018 - HIST 200 D100

Making History: Introduction to Historical Research (3)

Class Number: 5182

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 9:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    AQ 5038, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Hilmar Pabel
    1 778 782-5816
    Office: AQ 6230



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.


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 investigate the contribution of a regional civilian administrator to one of the most horrific crimes of the twentieth century:  the Holocaust.

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.  At least, that is how some historians would describe microhistory.  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 of History 200 will help you achieve the educational goals of undergraduate courses in the Department of History.  In particular, by the end of the course you will be able to:

  • describe, reflect upon, and evaluate a particular type of history (microhistory) and its methods 
  • collect, organize, and analyze information relevant to historical research
  • communicate orally and in written form the results of historical research


  • Short Research Assignments 20%
  • First Essay (1000-1500 words, due 12 October) 15%
  • Second Essay (1000-1500 words, due 29 October) 15%
  • Third Essay (2000-2500 words, due 28 November) 30%
  • Leading Class Discussion 10%
  • Class Participation 10%
  • ** due dates are tentative



Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre (1983).

Peter A. Morton, ed. The Trial of Tempel Anneke: Records of a Witchcraft Trial in Brunswick, Germany, 1663, 2nd ed. (2017).

Graham Broad, One in a Thousand: The Life and Death of Captain Eddie McKay, Royal Flying Corps (2017).

Mary Fullbrook, A Small Town near Auschwitz: Ordinary Nazis and the Holocaust (2012).

We shall use Canvas in several ways.  You can download a Canvas app for your devices.

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