Summer 2021 - HIST 101 D100

Canada to Confederation (3)

Class Number: 3476

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM



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


Why study Canada before Confederation (1867)? Better yet, how do we study Canada before there was an even a… well, Canada? In this course, we will trace key developments in the history unfolding in northern North America all the way from the last Ice Age right up to the 1860s, with an emphasis on the ‘post-contact’ era (late 1400s onwards). While the distant past may sometimes seem irrelevant to us now, don’t be fooled: the roots of many of the issues confronting us in the present lie in this time period. In this course we will explore Indigenous history, Indigenous-European contact and encounter, imperial rivalries (eg. between Britain and France), the establishment of nation-states in North America, as well as the histories of slavery, war, colonialism, and genocide within what is now Canada. These are heavy topics, but we will explore them through looking at fascinating primary sources (sources from the past), secondary sources (sources about the past), and challenging but also rewarding activities that are meant to bring out the historian in you.  Welcome to History 101!

Remote Delivery Details:

Lectures (Asynchronous)
: Will be posted on Canvas on or around 8:30am on Thursday

Tutorials (Sychronous): Meet with your tutorial leader and fellow section members on Zoom on Thursdays at the time for which you registered (either at 12:30, 1:30, 2:30, 3:30, or 4:30). See Canvas and/or goSFU for more details.


  • Participation (A mark based on the quality and quantity of your overall involvement in synchronous tutorials on Zoom and possibly online discussion forums on Canvas) 15%
  • Office hours assignment Attend the online office hours of your tutorial leader at least once this semester) 5%
  • The "Book Response" (A short paper about a key aspect of the history portrayed in Bush Runners (2019); 20%
  • Semi-optional assignments (40-60%, 20% each) All short (each will require a *minimum* of less than 1,000 words each, depending on the assignment). You will be awarded a grade representing the best two of three of the following three written projects, so, you are permitted to skip one of them if you want: 1. The “Workshop/Thinkshop” (A paper in which you critically and historical examine a primary source and what it tells us about the past, but also examines the limits of the source as well); 2. The “Perspectives” Assignment (A paper that asks you to compare, contrast, and synthesize several historians’ views on black history in early Canada); 3. The “Borders” Assignment (A paper that looks at one of the foundational treaties between the United States and British North America, and considers the impact of the imposition of a border on a First Nation); 40%
  • Optional Assignment (if done, it's worth 20%; if not, it’s worth nothing, and everything else is reweighted) Argument/Pedagogy Assignment (An optional short final paper asking you to consider some sources about Confederation, as well as other topics you’ve learned about in the course. If you were asked to change the History 101/102 curriculum at SFU, how might you do it, if at all? Is Confederation a viable cut-off point for Canadian History? Explain) 20%



Mark Bourrie, Bush Runner: The Adventures of Pierre-Esprit Radisson (Windsor: Biblioasis, 2019). Widely available for purchase or for free online via Google Books and SFU Library. All other course materials on 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.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  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 ( or 778-782-3112).