Summer 2024 - HIST 428 D100

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

Hist of the Arctic

Class Number: 3273

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • 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.


People, Polar Bears, Pipelines: A History of the Arctic
As global warming accelerates and polar ice melts, the Arctic is fast becoming a hot topic of conversation worldwide. Canada is a circumpolar country with sizable arctic territories, yet most people living in Canada have never been north of sixty. This course introduces students to the recent human and environmental history of the Canadian North, focusing principally on the Northwest Territories, the Yukon, and Nunavut. Inuit, Dene, Métis, and other Indigenous voices and perspectives will be foregrounded, but we’ll listen to and learn from historical non-Indigenous visitors, sojourners, and settlers as well.

We’ll examine key social themes and transformations in this region, including cross-cultural trade, Christianization, and modernization. We’ll learn how people have behaved toward and understood northern environments by studying different cultural traditions of renewable and non-renewable resource use, environmental knowledge, and adaptation to environmental change. We’ll analyze conflicting, even radically divergent accounts of events in Arctic history, told through various media, including comics and films. Finally, we’ll explore the multiple, often contradictory “ideas of North” that Euro-Canadians have constructed over the last few centuries. This will entail some critical reflection on our positionality as residents of southern Canada, and on the colonialism and white supremacy undergirding historical and contemporary representations of Canada as a “northern” nation.



  • Participation 20%
  • Critical reflection #1: Oral history 20%
  • Historiographical essay 30%
  • Critical reflection #2: The North & you 30%



All texts will be made available on, or linked to from Canvas.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term 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.