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New and Special Topics Courses

This page contains descriptions for new and special topics offered in the Department of Historical and Cultural Studies. Special topics courses are developed to complement existing courses, and cover emerging issues or specialized content not represented in our main curriculum. Please see the UTSC Timetable for the course days and times.

Fall 2021

CLAC02H3 Selected Topics in Classical Civilization - Topic: Indigeneity and the Classics

For more information about this course, please see this syllabus, from which the course will be adapted. 

Prerequisite: One full credit in Classics or History

NEW: GASB65H3/HISB65H3 West Asia and the Modern World
For those who reside east of it, the Middle East is generally known as West Asia. By reframing the Middle East as West Asia, this course will explore the region’s modern social, cultural, and intellectual history as an outcome of vibrant exchange with non-European world regions like Asia. It will foreground how travel and the movement fundamentally shape modern ideas. Core themes of the course such as colonialism and decolonization, Arab nationalism, religion and identity, and feminist thought will be explored using primary sources (in translation). Knowledge of Arabic is not required.

Prerequisite: None

GASD01H3/HISD09H3 Senior Seminar: Topics in Global Asian Migrations - Topic: TBD

This course offers an in-depth and historicized study of important cultural issues in historical and contemporary Asian, diasporic and borderland societies, including migration, mobility, and circulation. It is conducted in seminar format with emphasis on discussion, critical reading and writing, digital skills, and primary research.

Prerequisite: Any 8.0 credits, including [0.5 at the A- or B-level in AFS, CLA, FST, GAS, HIS or WST courses] and [0.5 credit at the C-level in AFS, CLA, FST, GAS, HIS or WST courses]

NEW: GASD55H3/HISD55H3 Transnational Asian Thought
This course explores the transnational connections and contexts that shaped ideas in modern Asia such as secularism, modernity, and pan Asianism. Through the intensive study of secondary sources and primary sources in translation, the course will introduce Asian thought during the long nineteenth-century in relation to the social, political, cultural, and technological changes. Using the methods of studying transnational history the course will explore inter-Asian connections in the world of ideas and their relation to the new connectivity afforded by steamships and the printing press. We will also explore how this method can help understand the history of modern Asia as a region of intellectual ferment rather than a passive recipient of European modernity.

Prerequisite: Any 8.0 credits, including: [0.5 credit at the A- or B-level in GAS or HIS courses] and [0.5 credit at the C-level in GAS or HIS courses]

NEW: HISD03H3 Selected Topics in Historical Research - Topic: Fascism and the Far Right
This course examines the political, cultural and social history of fascism, from twentieth-century cases - Mussolini’s Italy, Hitler’s Germany, Franco’s Spain - to contemporary expressions of far-right populism (Trump, Bolsonaro and others). We will explore topics including intellectual origins, the mobilization of culture, the totalitarian state, and political violence. We will consider original texts, propaganda and film alongside recent scholarship.

Prerequisite: Any 8.0 credits, including: [0.5 credit at the A- or B-level in HIS courses] and [0.5 credit at the C-level in HIS courses]

HISD14H3 Selected Topics in Modern European History - Topic: Biopolitics in Modern Europe
This seminar will investigate the concept of biopolitics and it will inquire into its historical development in Europe from the eighteenth century to the twenty-first century. This will involve studying the work of the French philosopher Michael Foucault, the person who developed the concept and first attempted to trace its historical development. In addition to inquiring about the relationship between biopolitics and related concepts we will read a wide range of scholarly works that look at the development of ideas of race, the politics of reproduction, the development of eugenic policies to transform populations, and several aspects of the Nazi’s biopolitical projects. We will conclude by looking at the state of biopolitics in the twenty-first century following the revolution in genetics and continuing globalization.

Prerequisite: 7.5 credits in HIS courses, including [(HISB90H3) or (HISB91H3) or (HISB92H3) or HISB93H3]

NEW: WSTB09H3 Gender, Race, and Colonialism
This course is an introduction to how the history of colonialism and the power relations of the colonial world have shaped the historical and social constructions of race and gender. The course considers political, legal, economic, and cultural realms through which colonialism produced new gendered and racial social relationships across different societies and communities. The ways in which colonial power was challenged and resisted will also be explored.

Prerequisite: 1.0 credit at the A-level in any Humanities or Social Science courses


Winter 2022

NEW: CLAC94H3/HISC94H3 The Bible and the Qur’an
The Qur'an retells many narratives of the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. This course compares the Qur'anic renditions with those of the earlier scriptures, focusing on the unique features of the Qur'anic versions. It will also introduce the students to the history of ancient and late antique textual production, transmission of texts and religious contact. The course will also delve into the historical context in which these texts were produced and commented upon in later generations.

Prerequisite: Any 4.0 credits, including [[1.0 credit in Classical Studies or History] or [WSTC13H3]]

NEW: GASC73H3/HISC73H3 Making the Global South
The course will explore the history and career of a term: The Global South. The global south is not a specific place but expressive of a geopolitical relation. It is often used to describe areas or places that were remade by geopolitical inequality. How and when did this idea emerge? How did it circulate? How are the understandings of the global south kept in play? Our exploration of this term will open up a world of solidarity and circulation of ideas shaped by grass-roots social movements in different parts of the world

Prerequisite: Any 4.0 credits, including 0.5 credit at the A- or B-level in GAS or HIS courses

GASD02H3: Senior Seminar: Topics in Global Asian Societies - Topic: TBD
This course offers a capstone experience of issues which confront Asian and diasporic societies. Themes include gender, environment, human rights, equity, religion, politics, law, migration, labour, nationalism, post-colonialism, and new social movements. It is conducted in seminar format with emphasis on discussion, critical reading, and writing of research papers.

Prerequisite: Any 8.0 credits, including: [0.5 credit at the A- or B-level in GAS courses] and [0.5 credit at the C-level in GAS courses]

NEW: HISB96H3 Dangerous Ideas: Radical Books and Reimagined Worlds in Modern Europe
The course is an introduction to some of the most radical European ideas from the eighteenth to the twentieth century. We will study ideas that challenged the existing political order and aimed to overturn the social status quo, ideas that undermined centuries of religious belief and ideas that posed new visions of what it meant to be human. This will include the study of classic texts written by well-known intellectual figures, as well as the study of lesser-known writers and people who challenged the received wisdom of the day.

Prerequisite: None

NEW: HISC22H3 The Second World War in Europe
This course examines the impact of Second World War on the political, social, and cultural fabric of European societies. Beyond the military and political history of the war, it will engage topics including, but not limited to, geopolitical and ideological contexts; occupation, collaboration and resistance; the lives of combatants and civilians in total war; the Holocaust and the radicalisation of violence; and postwar memory.

Prerequisite: Any 4.0 credits, including 0.5 credit at the A- or B-level in HIS courses

NEW: HISC66H3/WSTC66H3 Histories of Gender and Sexuality in Muslim Societies: Between Law, Ethics and Culture
This course tracks the evolving histories of gender and sexuality in diverse Muslim societies. We will examine how gendered norms and sexual mores were negotiated through law, ethics, and custom. We will compare and contrast these themes in diverse societies, from the Prophet Muhammad’s community in 7th century Arabia to North American and West African Muslim communities in the 21st century.

Prerequisite: [Any 4.0 credits, including 0.5 credit at the A- or B-level in HIS courses] or [1.5 credits in WST courses, including 0.5 credit at the B- or C-level]

HISD25H3 Oral History and Urban Change
An applied research methods course that introduces students to the methods and practice of Oral history, the history of Scarborough, the field of public history and community-based research. A critical part of the class will be to engage in fieldwork related to designing and conducting oral history interviews.

Prerequisite: Any 8.0 credits, including [0.5 credit at the A- or B-level in HIS courses] and [0.5 credit at the C-level in HIS courses]

HISD44H3 Nearby History: The Method and Practice of Local History
This course introduces students to the methods and practice of the study of local history, in this case the history of Scarborough. This is a service learning course that will require a commitment to working and studying in the classroom and the community as we explore forms of public history.

Prerequisite: Any 8.0 credits, including: [0.5 credit at the A- or B-level in HIS courses] and [0.5 credit at the C-level in HIS courses]


WSTC30H3: Special Topics in Women's and Gender Studies - Topic: Women and Community-Based Entreprenerushi
The Social Garndener Cafe, located in the neighborhood of Little India is part of the Riverdale Immigrant Women's center, which provides new commers resources from childcare, to sexual health to job hunting. In this class, the students will work with the staff, the professor and their teamates to conduct a study of the cafe - including history, location, clientale, etc - in order to design a feasible plan to promote the cafe. The class will enagage concepts such as community-based work, sustainability, gendered labor, and women leadership and so on. Students will develop critical skills such as conducting interviews, collecting and analyzing data, effective communication, creative thinking as well as critical use of social media and other digital tool.

Prerequisite: WSTA01H3 and [WSTA03H3 or (WSTA02H3)]