Introduction to Historical Studies

University of Toronto Mississauga

This writing-intensive course introduces Historical Studies through a variety of exercises that will allow students to read models of good writing and to practise the integration of successful strategies into their own work. After a basic overview of the disciplines of Classics, Diaspora and Transnational Studies History, History of Religions and Women and Gender Studies, students will try different tools and approaches for developing the skills useful at every stage of the creative process from pre-writing and preliminary research through to editing and undergraduate publication. Each year will focus on a particular historical event that will appear as a recurring theme in readings and assignments.
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Mairi Cowan

HIS101H5 Syllabus for Mairi Cowan — Fall 2018

HIS101 syllabus Fall 2018
HIS101 Introduction to History Fall 2018
The World Before Modernity:
An Introduction to Ancient, Medieval, and Early Modern History
Department of Historical Studies
University of Toronto Mississauga
Professor: Dr. Mairi Cowan Email: mairi.cowan@utoronto.ca
Office Hours: Thursdays, 1:10-2:00 Office: North Building 4282
Wednesdays and Fridays by appointment
Writing Specialist: Dr. Michael Kaler Email: michael.kaler@utoronto.ca
Head TA: Abdullah Farooqi Email: abdullah.farooqi@mail.utoronto.ca
Course Description
This writing-intensive course introduces students to world history as well as to the research and writing
skills that are part of the historian’s craft.
Which inventions changed history? How did they help spread innovative ideas through the ancient,
medieval, and early modern world? Were they the causes, or were they the consequences, of better
understanding between societies? By asking such questions, this course challenges us to reconsider what
we think we know about inventions and how they have shaped our world.
Introduction to History, a general survey and writing-intensive course, serves as a foundation for further
study in history by providing a basic introduction to people, events, and ideas from antiquity to the
eighteenth century; by outlining historical debates around theories of progress, significance, continuity
and change, and cause and consequence; by offering guidance on how to assess the importance of
connections and exchanges in the premodern world; and by creating opportunities for students to develop
critical skills in research, the interpretation of primary and secondary sources, and academic writing.
Course Goals
1. Engage with debates around theories of progress, historical significance, continuity and change,
and cause and consequence through a consideration of key inventions in ancient, medieval, and
early modern world history.
2. Understand connections and exchanges in the pre-modern world.
3. Learn how to study history at the university level, with an emphasis on critical reading and
academic writing.
4. Develop a sense of stewardship of the past.
HIS101 syllabus Fall 2018
Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students should be able to:
1. demonstrate historical thinking when dealing with questions of historical significance, cause and
consequence, and continuity and change;
2. describe and analyze the role of connection in ancient, medieval, and early modern world history
with an emphasis on “invention”;
3. locate, classify, and select primary and secondary sources for the study of history;
4. read sources critically;
5. revise and improve written work in light of expert feedback.
Tentative Research Question and Thesis Statement, due 28 September 5%
Annotated Bibliography, due 19 October 10%
Short Research Essay, due 9 November 15%
Revised Short Research Essay, due 30 November 15%
Lecture Participation 5%
Tutorial Participation 15%
Final Examination 35%
Required Texts and Equipment
Robert W. Strayer, Eric W. Nelson, Ways of the World: A Brief Global History with Sources, Custom
Edition for University of Toronto Mississauga (Plymouth: Macmillan Learning Curriculum Solutions,
2016 / 2017 / 2018).
* You may purchase either a new copy published this year, or a used copy published last year. You may
also purchase the regular (not custom) edition of the full textbook, but it will very likely be more
William Kelleher Storey & Towser Jones, Writing History: A Guide for Canadian Students, fourth edition
(Don Mills: Oxford University Press, 2016).
Various readings available online through the UTL website and Quercus
Course Expectations
(Adapted from the Guidelines for University of Toronto Mississauga Undergraduate Degree Level
Depth and Breadth of Knowledge
By the end of this course, students should be able to
HIS101 syllabus Fall 2018
demonstrate knowledge and a critical understanding of some current methodologies and recent
advances, theoretical approaches and assumptions, and intellectual history of historical studies;
understand the relationships among the various disciplines within historical studies;
demonstrate critical thinking and analytical skills, particularly when evaluating and interpreting
primary and secondary sources.
Knowledge of Methodologies
By the end of this course, students should be able to
understand methods of enquiry in historical studies.
Application of Knowledge
By the end of this course, students should be able to
gather, review, interpret, present, produce and critically evaluate information, arguments,
assumptions, abstract concepts, and hypotheses;
make informed judgments in accordance with the major theories, concepts, intellectual and artistic
traditions, and methods of historical studies;
apply relevant concepts, principles, and techniques;
formulate coherent lines of argument.
Communication Skills
By the end of this course, students should be able to
express information, arguments, and analyses accurately and with clarity in writing;
present work in a variety of formal and informal contexts in forms appropriate to the discipline;
use communication technologies effectively.
Awareness of Limits of Knowledge
By the end of this course, students should be able to
demonstrate an appreciation of the uncertainty, ambiguity and limits to knowledge and how this
might influence analyses and interpretations.
Autonomy and Professional Capacity
By the end of this course, students should be able to
uphold the ethical values of the University, including freedom of expression and enquiry and its
principles of academic integrity, equity and inclusion
The final writing assignment in HIS101 is a Revised Short Research Essay. To get there, students will
submit a Tentative Research Question and Thesis Statement, an Annotated Bibliography, and a Short
Research Essay. Additional information about each step will be provided in class and on Quercus.
Tentative Research Question and Thesis Statement
HIS101 syllabus Fall 2018
Your investigation of the past will begin, as historians’ investigations often do, with the careful reading of
a primary source. Choose one of the primary sources from the list provided, read it, and create a research
question and thesis statement that can be asked and answered using just this one source. Both the question
and the statement should be focused and analytical; in other words, strive to make an argument that will
enrich your reader’s understanding of one specific aspect of the past.
Annotated Bibliography
Write an annotated bibliography of three secondary sources that you will be using for your research essay.
You may choose two of these from the list of recommended sources provided, but must find the third for
Short Research Essay
Write a research essay of about 2000 words that makes an interesting argument based on your primary
source with support from secondary sources.
Revised Short Research Essay
Revise your Short Research Essay in light of comments by your TA and advice in Writing History, and
submit the improved version along with a brief letter explaining what you have done to improve your
Lecture Participation
You are expected to attend every lecture, to arrive on time, and to stay until the end of that day’s session.
If you must be absent, complete your readings and ask a classmate for information on what you missed.
In order to earn credit for participation in lecture, you will be using an iClicker. In an academic context,
clickers have been used very successfully to engage students in large classes, and this teaching technique
has been proven to increase student participation and improve student performance. We would like to
give you meaningful opportunities to be engaged learners in lecture, and we strongly believe that the best
avenue for your participation in HIS101 is through the use of clickers. If, however, you are unable to
acquire a clicker, we can make an alternate arrangement for you to earn participation marks through
written work. In order to make use of this alternate arrangement, you must inform the professor of your
intention in person and in writing by 3 pm on 20 September.
Instructions for registering the iClicker will be available on our class webpage. Please register your
iClicker by the beginning of class on Week 2. If you are having difficulty registering successfully, contact
someone at the UTM Technology Centre as soon as possible.
When calculating your final grade, your two lowest weeks of lecture participation marks will be dropped.
In other words, only the top nine weeks will be counted; if you forget your clicker or miss lecture for one
or two weeks, you can still earn a perfect lecture participation grade. Please note, however, that in-class
activities that count toward the participation grade cannot be made up, that students who forget their
clickers cannot be given credit for the questions missed, and that late registrants may miss some
participation marks. Under no circumstances are you to lend your iClicker to anyone so that he or she can
earn your participation marks for you, nor are you to agree to borrow anyone’s iClicker to help him or her
earn participation marks. To do so would constitute impersonation, a serious academic offence.
HIS101 syllabus Fall 2018
Tutorial Participation
You are expected to register for a specific tutorial section as soon as possible. Please note that it may not
be possible to switch between tutorial sections once the semester has started.
Regular attendance is the most basic form of tutorial participation. Although it is an essential part of doing
well in this course, merely being present at each tutorial meeting is only one component of your expected
participation. You should come to class prepared to discuss the week’s material, which requires that you
complete a thoughtful reading of all the assigned texts before you arrive. Your understanding of the
readings will be assessed in a variety of ways, which may include in-class activities, short written
responses on particular topics, and participation in on-line and in-class discussion groups. Work submitted
during tutorial will be assessed. Be sure to bring your readings as well as paper and pens to every tutorial,
even if you normally use a laptop, so that you can participate fully in the week’s activities.
Final Examination
The final examination will be a combination of multiple choice, short answer, and essay questions, and
will cover all material from lectures, tutorials, and required readings.
Course Website
This course uses Quercus for its course website. You should check Quercus several times each week for
announcements, updates, suggestions, and questions. Handouts and other course materials will also be
posted here.
Communicating with the Instructors
Please direct questions and comments about the lecture to the course instructor, and all questions and
comments about tutorials and assignments to your TA or the Head TA.
Questions and comments that require only a short response and that are not answered on the syllabus or
other course materials may be addressed by email. Please send messages from your UTOR account, and
be sure to sign it with your full name. Your email message must include in the Subject line the course
identifier and a concise and clear statement of purpose (e.g., HIS101: a question about the Primary Source
Study); otherwise it may be deleted, along with spam and messages potentially containing viruses. If your
email message is appropriately constructed, you can normally expect a response by email within two
business days. Please make sure you consult the course syllabus, handouts, and the course website before
submitting inquiries by email.
Where a question cannot easily or briefly be answered with a reply email, we shall simply indicate to the
student that he or she should see us during the announced office hours. Email should not be seen as an
alternative to meeting with the instructor or TA during office hours, nor should it be used as a mechanism
to receive private tutorials or to explain material that was covered in classes you have missed.
HIS101 syllabus Fall 2018
Policies on Tests and Assignments
If a deadline for an assignment is not met, the assignment is subject to a late penalty of 2% per day. This
penalty may be waived in the event of unforeseen emergencies such as illness or crisis. If your assignment
is late and you believe that you should not be penalized, please attach a written explanation to your
assignment along with appropriate supporting documentation. We shall overlook the penalty, in whole or
in part, as seems justified. Assignments that are submitted more than seven (7) days past the specified due
date will not be accepted under normal circumstances.
This “Notice of Collection” provides information from the University about the collection of medical
The University of Toronto respects your privacy. The information on this form is collected pursuant
to section 2(14) of the University of Toronto Act, 1971. It is collected for the purpose of
administering accommodations for academic purposes based on medical grounds. The department
will maintain a record of all medical certificates received. At all times your information will be
protected in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.
Please remember that grades are earned on the basis of performance in an assignment, not given on the
basis of need or effort. If you wish to appeal a grade, please follow the following steps:
Step 1: Within two weeks of receiving the grade, speak with your TA for clarification of the grade
and comments. If you are unsatisfied with the clarification and believe that the assignment
deserves a higher grade, proceed to Step 2.
Step 2: Within one week of meeting with the TA, submit a one-page request to your TA stating
the basis of your appeal, with a clear explanation for the unsatisfactory nature of the grade,
supported with specific reference to the assignment and evaluation criteria. The case will then
proceed to Step 3.
Step 3: Meet with the TA to discuss the case. The TA at this point may either raise the grade,
maintain the grade, or lower the grade based on a consideration of the original assignment and the
student’s request. If you remain unsatisfied with the TA’s grade, proceed to Step 4.
Step 4: Provide your one-page request and an unmarked hard copy of assignment to the Head TA
for re-evaluation. The Head TA will determine whether the case bears legitimate and substantive
grounds for appeal and may either raise the grade, maintain the grade, or lower the grade. If you
are unsatisfied with the Head TA’s grade, proceed to Step 5.
Step 5: Submit the one-page request and an unmarked hard copy of the assignment to the
professor for re-evaluation. The professor will determine whether the case bears legitimate and
substantive grounds for appeal and may either raise the grade, maintain the grade, or lower the
The University of Toronto expects its students to write well, and it provides a number of resources to help
you meet this expectation. A good place to start is the Writing at the University of Toronto website:
http://www.writing.utoronto.ca/. Read the Frequently Asked Questions page, explore the advice files, and
look at the latest announcements about writing support programs. The Robert Gillespie Academic Skills
Centre at UTM offers one-on-one instruction in various forms of academic writing and oral presentations.
Its learning strategists will help you at any stage of your project, from understanding the assignment,
through planning a draft, to developing strategies to improve grammar and syntax. They recommend that
you book an appointment at least one week in advance and that you leave yourself lots of time before the
HIS101 syllabus Fall 2018
assignment is due to apply what you have learned in your session. They can be contacted through their
website: http://www.utm.utoronto.ca/asc/Students/index.htm.
The University of Toronto at Mississauga is committed to accessibility. If you have a disability or health
consideration that may require accommodations, please feel free to approach me or the AccessAbility
Resource Centre as soon as possible. AccessAbility staff (located in Room 2037, Davis Building) are
available by appointment to assess specific needs, provide referrals, and arrange appropriate
accommodations. Please call 905-569-4699 or email access.utm@utoronto.ca.
Recording of Lectures
Recording or videotaping of lectures is allowed only with the express written permission of the instructor.
Academic Integrity
Academic integrity is a cornerstone of your scholarship at the University of Toronto. As an academic
community, we value honesty, fairness, and respect. We therefore take academic integrity very seriously.
The vigilant maintenance of academic integrity will help ensure not only that your marks and your degree
are true reflections of your academic achievement, but also that a degree from the University of Toronto
continues to command respect throughout the world.
The University of Toronto’s Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters says that “whenever... an offence is
described as depending on "knowing", the offence shall likewise be deemed to have been committed if the
person ought reasonably to have known”, and so it is very important that you understand what constitutes
an academic offence.
From the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters:
1. It shall be an offence for a student knowingly:
(a) to forge or in any other way alter or falsify any document or evidence required by the
University, or to utter, circulate or make use of any such forged, altered or falsified document,
whether the record be in print or electronic form;
(b) to use or possess an unauthorized aid or aids or obtain unauthorized assistance in any
academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work;
(c) to personate another person, or to have another person personate, at any academic
examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work;
(d) to represent as one’s own any idea or expression of an idea or work of another in any
academic examination or term test or in connection with any other form of academic work, i.e.
to commit plagiarism (for a more detailed account of plagiarism, see Appendix "A") ;
(e) to submit, without the knowledge and approval of the instructor to whom it is submitted,
any academic work for which credit has previously been obtained or is being sought in another
course or program of study in the University or elsewhere;
(f) to submit any academic work containing a purported statement of fact or reference to a
source which has been concocted.
For this course in particular, potential academic offences would include:
HIS101 syllabus Fall 2018
using someone else’s ideas in your own work without correctly acknowledging where those ideas
come from (normally with a footnote and a bibliographic entry);
using someone else’s words in your work without correctly acknowledging where those words
come from (normally with quotation marks around the passage in question along with a footnote
and a bibliographic entry);
including false, misleading, or concocted citations in your work;
obtaining or providing unauthorized assistance in any assignment (including essays, tests, online
quizzes, and the final exam), such as getting a friend or an essay-writing service to “edit” your
work by re-wording what you have written or copying quiz answers from another student in the
submitting for credit any work that has previously been submitted in another course;
falsifying or altering any documentation submitted for special consideration;
using or even possessing any unauthorized aid in a test or examination.
Please note that we expect all your written assignments in this course to have been written by you. You
may ask other people to read your work, ask questions about it, and point out areas that seem confusing or
erroneous, but you may not ask other people to correct or improve your work for you.
For further information, consult the Code of Behaviour on Academic Matters, and “How Not to
Please see this statement from the University on the use of Turnitin.com:
Normally, students will be required to submit their course essays to Turnitin.com for a review of
textual similarity and detection of possible plagiarism. In doing so, students will allow their
essays to be included as source documents in the Turnitin.com reference database, where they will
be used solely for the purpose of detecting plagiarism. The terms that apply to the University's use
of the Turnitin.com service are described on the Turnitin.com web site.
If you prefer not to submit your essays to Turnitin.com, please make alternate arrangements with your TA
well in advance of the assignment’s due date.
HIS101 syllabus Fall 2018
Course Outline and Schedule of Readings
Most weeks have readings from Ways of the World and from the HIS101 Tutorial Reader. Ways of the
World is the textbook by Strayer and Nelson. The Tutorial Reader is a pdf document available on Quercus
(under “Files”). Readings found in the Tutorial Reader are marked by an asterisk (*). Some weeks also
have readings from the book Writing History, and additional readings that will be made available to you
through Quercus.
Week 1: Introduction to the Course (September 6)
No tutorials this week
Week 2: Early Humanity and Prehistory (September 13 and 14)
Tutorials begin this week
Ways of the World Chapter 1 “First Peoples; First Farmers: Most of History in a Single Chapter to
4000 B.C.E.” (pp. 2-37).
* Northrup, David. “When Does World History Begin? (And Why Should We Care?).” History
Compass 1 (2003): 1-8.
Week 3: The Growth of Cities, States, and Empires (September 20 and 21)
Ways of the World Chapter 2 “First Civilizations: Cities, States, and Unequal Societies 3500 B.C.E.-
500 B.C.E.”, Chapter 3 “State and Empire in Eurasia / North Africa 500 B.C.E.-500 C.E.” (pp. 59-
* The Code of Hammurabi. Translated by L. W. King. In The Avalon Project: Documents Law,
History and Diplomacy. New Haven: Lillian Goldman Law Library, 2008.
Tentative Research Question and Thesis Statement assignment sheet (available on Quercus)
Week 4: The Development of Widespread Religious Traditions (September 27 and 28)
Tentative Research Question and Thesis Statement due
Ways of the World, Chapter 4 “Culture and Religion in Eurasia / North Africa 500 B.C.E.-500 C.E.”,
Chapter 5 “Society and Inequality in Eurasia / North Africa 500 B.C.E.-500 C.E.” (pp. 147-227).
* “Academic Integrity Case Studies” sheet
Chapter 5 (“Reporting Faithfully”) of Writing History
Week 5: Regional Histories (October 4 and 5)
Ways of the World Chapter 6 “Commonalities and Variations: Africa, the Americas, and Pacific
Oceania 500 B.C.E.-1200 C.E.”, Chapter 7 “Commerce and Culture 500-1500” (pp. 228-321).
* Excerpt from Africanus, Leo. Cosmographia & Geographia de Affrica in Other Routes: 1500 Years
of African and Asian Travel Writing. Edited by Tabish Khair, Martin Leer, Justin D. Edwards, and
Hanna Ziadeh. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2005, 131-143.
El Hamel, Chouki. Leo Africanus. In Dictionary of African Biography, edited by Emmanuel K.
Akyeampong and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012.
Sample annotated bibliographies (available on Quercus)
Arts and Science Statement on What Grades Mean (available on Quercus)
Week 6: Commerce and Conversion (October 18 and 19)
Annotated Bibliography due
HIS101 syllabus Fall 2018
Ways of the World Chapter 8 “China and the World: East Asian Connections 500-1300”, Chapter 9
“The Worlds of Islam: Afro-Eurasian Connections 600-1500” (pp. 322-407).
* “The Attractions of the Capital,” in Chinese Civilization: A Sourcebook, edited by Patricia Buckley
Ebrey, 178-185. New York: The Free Press, 1993.
Week 7: Periodization and the “Medieval” World (October 25 and 26)
Ways of the World Chapter 10 “The World of Christendom: Contraction, Expansion, and Division
500-1300”; Chapter 11 “Pastoral Peoples on the Global Stage: The Mongol Moment, 1200-1500” (pp.
* Freedman, Paul. “Spices and Late-Medieval European Ideas of Scarcity and Value.Speculum 80,4
(2005): 1209-1227.
Week 8: Crossing the Atlantic (November 1 and 2)
Ways of the World, Chapter 12 “The Worlds of the Fifteenth Century”, Chapter 13 “Political
Transformations: Empires and Encounters 1450-1750” (pp. 498-599).
* Excerpts from Cortés, Hernán. “Letter to Charles V”; Díaz, Bernal. The True History of the
Conquest of New Spain; and de Sahagún, Bernardino. Florentine Codex. In Victors and Vanquished:
Spanish and Nahua Views of the Conquest of Mexico, edited by Stuart B. Schwartz, 79-99. Boston:
Bedford / St. Martin’s, 2000.
Week 9: Global History and the Early Modern World (November 8 and 9)
Short Research Essay due
Ways of the World Chapter 14 “Economic Transformations: Commerce and Consequence, 1450-
1750”; Chapter 15 “Cultural Transformations: Religion and Science, 1450-1750” (pp. 600-687).
* Affonso of Congo. “Evils of the Trade.” In The African Past, edited by Basil Davidson, 191-194.
Boston: Little, Brown, 1964.
* Chapters 2 and 3 from The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus
Vassa, the African, Written by Himself, edited by Werner Sollors. New York: W. W. Norton, 2001,
* Advertisements for sales of slaves and notices of runaway slaves
* Table showing numbers of slaves who disembarked in different regions
Week 10: Resonances and Responses (November 15 and 16)
Writing History (whichever parts of the book you have not yet read)
Week 11: Truth and Reconciliation (November 22)
No tutorials this week
Honouring the Truth, Reconciling for the Future: Summary of the Final Report of the Truth and
Reconciliation Commission of Canada, “Preface” (pp. v-vi), “Introduction” (pp. 1-22), “The History
(pp. 37-51), and “Calls to Action” (pp. 319-337). [available on Quercus and online]
Week 12: Conclusion (November 29 and 30)
Revised Short Research Essay due
To be determined

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