Summer 2021 - HIST 428 D100

Problems in the Social and Economic History of Canada (4)

History Gone Viral

Class Number: 3492

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 1:30 PM – 4:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units including nine units of lower division history. Recommended: HIST 101, 102W.



Selected problems in the history of Canadian agriculture and industrial development, migration and settlement, labor, native policy and class structure. Content may vary from offering to offering; see course outline for further information. HIST 428 may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught.


History gone Viral: Historicizing Quarantine, Disease, and Public Health in Canada from Smallpox to SARS
We are, it is said, living in unprecedented times. Or are we? In HIST 428, we will examine how contagious disease periodically emerged as a political, economic, and social crisis in Canada. We will analyze theories about moral panics, probing the fraught relationship between individuals and the state that underpinned decisions about public health interventions in a range of epidemiological contexts between 1782 and 2003. You can expect to closely analyze primary sources produced in times of epidemics to develop an in-depth understanding of the contours of government policy, public concerns, and medical developments that underpinned Canada’s and Canadians’ responses to epidemic and endemic contagious disease.

To round out the term, we will together create a website and podcast series, History Gone Viral: Historicizing the COVID-19 Quarantine, for which students will present their interpretation of primary documents, contextualized within the historiography of public health.


This remote course will include synchronous seminars and asynchronous components. Students who cannot attend seminars will be accommodated.


After successfully completing this course, students can expect to:

  • Historicize social, economic, and political responses to public health crises, situating COVID-19 in historical context;
  • Analyze primary and secondary sources pertaining to public health, epidemics, and quarantine to understand the tensions between collective and individual responses to health as they have emerged and evolved in Canadian contexts;
  • Communicate research findings in a public history project.


  • Online discussion participation 10%
  • Perusall participation 10%
  • Contributing discussion questions 5%
  • Informal writing assignments 15%
  • History Gone Viral Project -- Proposal 10%
  • History Gone Viral Project -- Peer review 10%
  • History Gone Viral Project -- Final draft 40%



All course materials will be available digitally.

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).