Fall 2021 - HIST 101 D100

Canada to Confederation (3)

Class Number: 3911

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 8 – Dec 7, 2021: Thu, 12:30–2:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 14, 2021
    Tue, 12:00–3:00 p.m.



A survey of Canadian history to 1867. Breadth-Humanities.


Course Description:

This course will explore the contours of Canadian history from the period of earliest human occupation to Confederation in 1867.  We will examine major themes in Canada’s past, including: the diversity of early First Nations cultures; contact and interaction between Indigenous societies and European cultures; social, economic, and political developments in New France and early British North America; processes and impacts of colonialism; immigration, industrialization, and social and political reform in the nineteenth century; the contested path to confederation; and the question of who was actually included in the new nation of Canada.  We will discuss how class, race, ethnicity, gender, and region tempered the experiences of early settler societies and Indigenous peoples, and how a number of important issues challenging present-day Canada are rooted in the pre-Confederation period.  Through readings, tutorial activities, and assignments, you will also have opportunities to develop research, critical thinking, and communication skills that will serve you well throughout your university career and beyond.



All lectures in this course will be asynchronous, which means that they will be pre-recorded and posted on Canvas so that you will be able to access them at a time in the week that is convenient for you.  By contrast, all tutorial activities will take place face-to-face in real time to enable you to meet each other and have conversations with your peers and your teaching assistant in your regularly scheduled tutorial time.  You should therefore register in a tutorial slot that will enable you to join these real-time discussions.  I have scheduled office hours that offer an opportunity to meet with me face-to-face (Tuesdays, 3:00 - 4:00 pm) or remotely (Thursdays, 12:30 – 1:30; zoom meeting invitations will be posted in our Canvas course at the beginning of the semester).  If these options do not work for you, you may contact me for an appointment.  All teaching assistants will schedule their own office hours.

In order to succeed in this course, you will need to be able to access our online learning platform, Canvas, via computer or phone/tablet. We strongly recommend that you use a strong WiFi connection or an ethernet connection. You will be invited to join the course platform by email.  You can find a student guide to Canvas at http://www.sfu.ca/canvas/student-guide.html.


As a student of this course, you will:

  1. Develop an understanding of the complexity of Canada’s pre-Confederation past and the multiple ways that humans have experienced that past.
  2. Learn to identify and effectively interpret a range of sources that help us to examine the processes of change over time.
  3. Hone your reading, writing, research, and critical thinking skills.
  4. Comprehend gender, race, class, sexuality, and ethnicity as systems of creating power differentials in Canadian society.
  5. Learn to trace connections between what has happened in the past and issues and developments in contemporary Canada.


  • Tutorial Participation 25%
  • Assignment No. 1 - Primary Source Analysis 20%
  • Assignment No. 2 – Collect and Curate Images 30%
  • Final Examination 25%



John Belshaw.  Canadian History: Pre-Confederation.  BC Open Textbook Project, 2015.  Open access, available at https://opentextbc.ca/preconfederation/.  Used under a CC-BY 4.0 International license.

Articles, primary sources, and other learning materials available through SFU Canvas. 

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 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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 may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.