Fall 2020 - HIST 436 D100

British Columbia (4)

Class Number: 3438

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 9 – Dec 8, 2020: Wed, 4:30–6:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

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



Selected problems in the social, cultural, economic and political development of British Columbia.


In 2016, First Nations artist Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun pushed for the province to change its name with his #RenameBC campaign as part of an art exhibit at the Museum of Anthropology. He was drawing attention to the province’s colonial heritage by advocating that “British” be dropped from the province’s name and a new name should be chosen to reflect Indigenous communities living here. The more recent land disputes in Witsuwit’en territory and the defacing of the Gassy Jack statue in Vancouver illustrate how BC’s history is shaped by colonialism and the general lack of treaties with the province’s Indigenous communities. Unpacking and coming to a better understanding of the legacy of colonialism in BC is an important part of reconciliation. Rather than approaching BC history in a chronological fashion, this course will explore the tension between attempts to keep the “British” as a significant part of British Columbia and the push back by various groups who rejected the state’s narrow definition of what it meant to belong on the unceded territories of the First Nations.


This course will unpack the different narratives of political, economic, social and cultural possibilities in BC from 1850-2000 in order to examine how they cemented the structures of colonialism and how they have created policies and norms of exclusion that are still perpetuated today.


Objectives—At the end of this course, students will be able to

  1. Understand how colonialism is a structure and not an event.
  2. Understand how the lack of treaties in the province continues to shape relationships with Indigenous communities.
  3. Show how colonial cultural norms continue to inform policy towards BIPOC.
  4. Build their writing skills through a variety of low stakes in-class writing, and formal writing assignments.
  5. Develop skills in critical thinking and archival research through a formal assignment.


  • Participation (synchronous and asynchronous) 20%
  • Digital Artifact 10%
  • Positionality Statement 15%
  • Annotated Bibliography and Outline 10%
  • Peer Editing Workshop 10%
  • Final Project 35%


The course will be taught both synchronously (Wednesdays 4:30-6:20pm) and asynchronously.



The reading materials for the course will be accessible through Canvas.


Barman, Jean. The West Beyond the West, 3rd ed. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2007.

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 fall 2020 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).