Fall 2023 - HIST 300 D100

Historiography (4)

Class Number: 3477

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Dec 5, 2023: Thu, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history.



Examines the conceptual problems involved in the historian's attempt to apprehend the past. Focuses on the nature of historical knowledge and explanation, and to the broad systems and patterns in which history has been conceived.


How have historians understood and written about history? What objectives have they pursued and what methods have they used in writing history? We shall explore these questions in various ways. A survey of the history of historiography accompanied by illustrative samples will begin the course. Then we shall investigate two ways of decolonizing history by reading excerpts from an archive prepared by Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto before its destruction in 1943 by German forces and from a survivor of one of Canada’s Indian Residential Schools. Students will set the agenda in the final weeks of the course with their own historiographical research projects as they study an historian, or historical genre, or historical controversy. 


The course requirements of History 300 will help you achieve the educational goals of undergraduate courses in the Department of History. Specifically, by the end of the course you will be able to

  • identify and assess objectives, methods, and genres of historical writing.
  • perform historiographical research.
  • develop a research topic in historiography.
  • present historiographical research in oral and written form.

The assessment of these goals will take several forms: regular class participation and a presentation that facilitates class discussion of an aspect of historiography, two short essays on historiographical themes, a longer historiographical research essay in which you will draw on several primary and secondary sources, and a prospectus that will prepare you for the research essay.


  • Participation (oral and written) 15%
  • Two short essays (800-1000 words each) = 2 x 19% 38%
  • Prospectus for Historiographical Research Essay 10%
  • Class Presentation in preparation for the Historiographical Research Essay (Weeks 9-12) 7%
  • Historiographical Research Essay (2000 words, due 30 Nov.) 30%



We shall use Canvas in several ways. It will serve as a tool for written participation.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.