Spring 2020 - HIST 436 D100

British Columbia (4)

Class Number: 8901

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Mon, 1:30–5:20 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.


This term HIST 436 will undertake a close reading of Reclaiming Power and Place: The Final Report of the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, which addresses issues that have particular resonance in these territories. Can history help us understand how we got here? Can history help us create the change we want and need? How does doing this work in a good way change how we do history? These are the questions that will guide us as we make our way through the Report. Our reading of the Report will be supplemented with materials produced by Indigneous artists and writers like Pauline Johnson, Lee Maracle, Chief Dan George, Chief Lady Bird, Lawrence Paul Yuxweluptun, and Miss Eagle Testicles/Kent Monkman.

Reading the Report is hard emotional work and demands that we pay kind attention to ourselves and each other. In this course, we will employ a caring model for learning that recognizes that we are more than brains on sticks. I hope that your whole self will feel welcome in this space in such a way that approaching this topic will feel manageable. This does not mean it will not be difficult. 

I do not claim an Indigenous identity or experience. I work hard to deepen my understanding of the impact of colonial violence on all of us, most especially on Indigenous people. If you want to ask me more about this before enrolling in the course, or at any time, please drop me an email. I am always interested in learning new ways to provide a supportive environment where compassion and authenticity are our guiding principles.

Students will be required to keep a journal during the course, and will be responsible for leading at least one class discussion. Beyond that, this course will be iterative and emergent which means what work we decide to do will emerge from the questions we are asking and what makes sense to us personally, as well as to communities our work is about and for. You will be provided with ideas and suggestions for final projects, along with frameworks for doing your work so that you do not feel left on your own to figure out how to complete the class, but what you ultimately decide to do as far as work goes will be determined by you and me, in conversation, as we make our way through the course. Possible final projects include an auto-ethnographic analysis of your journal, an analysis of testimony to the commission, an analysis of the report itself and/or responses to the report, critical analysis of historical narratives regarding Indigenous history, analysis of the relationship of Indigenous women to feminism, analysis of the media coverage of the Inquiry, and recommendations for ethical and informed historical inquiry in this area. These can be presented in forms other than a conventional research essay, such as a video essay, a photographic montage, or other art or literary project.



  • Weekly Journal 20%
  • Guided Discussion 10%
  • Research, analysis, and presentation on resurgence 20%
  • Participation 20%
  • Final Project 30%



The Report (available online) and course pack. You may need to pay admission to a museum or exhibit.

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