Spring 2020 - HIST 330W D100

Controversies in Canadian History (4)


Class Number: 8902

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history.



An examination of selected topics in Canadian history. The content will vary from offering to offering. See department for further information. HIST 330W may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught. Students may not take selected topics within HIST 330W for further credit if duplicating content of another history course and vice versa. Writing.


Canadian Controversies: Monuments and Memorialization

In 2018 Victoria’s city council announced that, after consulting with the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations, it would remove the statue of Sir John A. MacDonald from its front lawn. As Mayor Lisa Helps put it, John A. Macdonald “was a great man… and he was also the architect of the Indian Residential School system. So we need to find a way to both commemorate history and reconcile with history.” Some locals loudly objected. The leader of the federal Conservative Party denounced it as an act of “political correctness.” In this course, we take the unequivocal position that residential schools were a form of cultural genocide; this will not be a matter of debate. What does emerge as a question worthy of consideration is the role, purpose, and value of monuments and memorialization in general, and why now they are the focus of such intense debate.

Drawing on Professor Chenier’s role as historical advisor to the LGBT Purge Fund’s committee to establish a monument in honour of lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans, and Two Spirit (LGBT2S) people who were fired from the civil service and the military simply because they were/are LGBT2S, we consider what historians can to contribute to ongoing debates about how to represent the past, and what past should be represented.

This course will involve several mandatory class trips off campus.


  • Participation 25%
  • As a writing-intensive course, students will be required to submit three short response and reflection papers (15% each), and a final 12-15 page research essay (30%) 75%
  • Possible topics range from the history of a local monument, a proposal for a new monument, or a critical analysis of monuments in general.
  • This course employs “ungrading” as one method of assessment. We will discuss what this is in our first class, but you can look it up here to find out more: https://www.jessestommel.com/why-i-dont-grade/



Readings TBA; in all my courses you can complete the course without having to purchase any books.

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