Summer 2020 - HIST 200 D100

Making History: Introduction to Historical Research (3)

Class Number: 3269

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 18, 2020
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    Location: TBA

  • Instructor:

    Jennifer Spear
    1 778 782-8435
    Office: AQ 6013



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.


Are you interested in learning how to conduct historical research? Do you want to make new discoveries or uncover new stories about a local community? Working in conjunction with the Pacific Heritage Cemetery in Burnaby, which will be celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2024, HIST 200 will provide you with unique hands-on opportunities to conduct historical research in research, writing, and presenting the life histories of some of the people interred at the cemetery. These include Charles Woodward, the founder of the department store and his family; World War I veteran Robert Hanna; Olympic gold medalist Percy Williams; and other local notables, politicians, and municipal figures. But many more are ordinary people, whose lives are rarely mentioned in the history books. By research and writing their lives, we will open up windows into the social, political, and cultural worlds that these individuals inhabited in the lower mainland from the late 19th century to the recent past. If you choose, you can contribute the life history produced in this class to a future public display at the Pacific Memorial Cemetery for its 100th anniversary.  

Please note: at least two classes will be held offsite: one, and perhaps more, at the Pacific Heritage Cemetery (4305 Halifax Street, Burnaby; a three-minute walk from the Brentwood Town Centre Station) and another at the City of Vancouver Archives (1150 Chestnut Street, Vancouver, located in Vanier Park, on the 2 bus line).


  • Life history (including at least one draft, a final revised essay, and a presentation) 50%
  • Research notebook: to keep track of your sources, notes, thoughts, questions, etc. 20%
  • Class participation 20%
  • Transcription assignments 5%
  • Peer review of classmates’ draft histories 5%



Robert A. J. McDonald, Making Vancouver: Class, Status, and Social Boundaries, 1863-1913 (Vancouver: UBC Press, 1996).

Additional readings will be distributed via Canvas.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.


Please note that all teaching at SFU in summer term 2020 will be conducted through remote methods. Enrollment in this course 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.

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 ( or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.