Thematic Clusters

Communities

The close study of communities – from village life in pre-industrial times to neighborhood relationships in the modern city – is an important communities.jpgtheme of research in our department. We focus in particular on the role of subcommunities defined by class, race, gender, age, and ethnicity as well as aboriginal and migrant groups in rural and urban communities. The defining feature of this cluster is our interest in the close study – the microhistory – of social relationships within and between such groups within the physical spaces of villages, towns, and cities.

Associated Extra-Departmental Faculty

Culture/Power/History

The faculty in the Culture/Power/History cluster explore a range of questions about the often contested meanings, implications and experiences of culture at various times and in a range of geographic contexts. Working from an often interdisciplinary approach, our interests include cultural production and reception; popular culture; visual culture; youth culture; tourism and leisure; cross cultural encounter and interaction; landscape, nature and memory; and, more broadly, the relations of culture, power, and history itself.

Associated Extra-Departmental Faculty

Environmental History

How has the physical environment shaped human history? How, in turn, have different people envisaged, regulated, and transformed their environmental.jpgenvironments, and with what consequences? More fundamentally, how have different peoples conceptualized the boundary between "nature" and "culture" over time and to what ends? The interdisciplinary field of environmental history explores the relationships among peoples and places, bridging the local and global by drawing on literature in the history of science and technology, anthropology, geography, law, and the natural sciences. Current faculty research encompasses the intertwined effects of migration, communism, and industrial modernity on the human and natural environments of central Europe; the social and environmental effects of hydroelectric development in Canada and the reconfiguration of place in the postwar expansion of the Canadian welfare state; and indigenous environmental histories, ecological imperialism, food systems, and urban landscapes.

Associated Departmental Faculty

Associated Extra-Departmental Faculty

Ethnicity, Race, and Nationalism

The faculty in this research cluster study the histories of race, ethnicities and nationalism with a particular focus on the Americas. Drawing from a variety of theoretical and methodological paradigms, they explore the ways historical actors have Tuskegee Airmenunderstood and deployed these concepts over time. With attention to the ways in which race, ethnicity and nationalism are mutually constituted and overlap with other claims on subjectivity such as gender and sexuality, their research encompasses issues such as migration, labor and transnational racial formations, authenticity and political or cultural identities, the role of science and social science in understandings of race and ethnicity, freedom and inequality, and the relationships among the state, the nation and modernity.

Associated Extra-Departmental Faculty

First Nations, Aboriginal, and Indigenous History

In this field, we place the experiences of Indigenous peoples at the core of historical inquiry, and examine the ways in which those peoples first_nations.jpgshaped broader patterns of history. While our primary research interests are in the territories that have become Canada and the United States, we are also interested in comparative studies, particularly of other former British colonies. Temporally, our interests range from the early colonial period to the present. We are particularly interested in the practice of ethical collaboration with Indigenous communities and in creating conversations between Indigenous history and other fields. Our specific strengths in this field include the Northwest Coast and the Pacific, the environment, research methodologies, urban places, migration, the cultures of colonialism, and Indigenous encounters with modernity.

 

Associated Departmental Faculty

Associated Extra-Departmental Faculty

Gender, Sexuality, and the Body

Historians of gender explore the ways that "what it means to be a man" or "what it means to be a woman," as well as the very distinction of gender.jpg"male and "female," have varied over time and across space, between and within cultures. The history of sexuality not only examines transformations in sexual roles and identities over time, but also questions how "sexuality" or "sexual identity" are themselves historically contingent. The faculty in this cluster work in regions which span the globe -- from the Americas and the Caribbean to Europe -- and approach these issues from a variety of perspectives, including the relationships between gender/sexuality and "race" or class, and the intersections of gender/sexuality with other social and cultural structures such as religion, marriage, or the law.

Associated Extra-Departmental Faculty

Global History, Maritime History, and the History of Empire

The contemporary drive toward globalization is taken as the current stage in long term, ongoing interaction between different parts of the earth maritime.jpg- the exchange of goods, people, foods and cultures, carried out in most cases across the oceans of the world. The political dimension of those international contacts holds a central place in research through the examination of the specific empires, both maritime and land-based, that have waxed and waned in the last 1500 years. Approaches are both comparative, examining different states and cultures in light of others, and chronological, examining how those states and cultures changed because of exchange of ideas and commodities with counterparts around the world.

Associated Extra-Departmental Faculty

History of Children and Youth

The faculty in the Children and Youth cluster consider age as a central category of historical analysis. Our areas of research include the historical children.jpgexperiences of children and adolescents, and the cultural and political meanings of childhood and youth in diverse times and places. Faculty expertise ranges geographically from North America to the Soviet Union, and includes such broad areas of inquiry as youth labor, culture and recreation, girlhood, juvenile justice, children's bodies, and education.

Associated Departmental Faculty

Associated Extra-Departmental Faculty

History of Religion

We examine religious practices, rituals, beliefs, and their representation; the ways in which and Caravaggio. The Sacrifice of Isaac. 1601processes by which they change over time; and how these same ways and processes influence and are themselves influenced by relationships with experience, memory, identity, and power. While our primary focus is on the history of Christianity, we are also interested in comparative approaches to "religion" more broadly.

Associated Departmental Faculty

Associated Extra-Departmental Faculty

History of Science, Technology, and Medicine

Historians in this cluster examine the history of science, technology, and medicine in as broad a sense as possible. Thus, some investigations tulp.jpgstudy the internal development of scientific ideas, technological inventions, and medical breakthroughs. Others center on the reciprocal relationship between science and society, examining how science is a deeply embedded cultural activity, both influencing and influenced by society. Individuals in this cluster also work closely with science studies scholars in philosophy, English, geography, sociology, and other disciplines.

 

Associated Extra-Departmental Faculty

International Relations

The International Relations cluster addresses the central theme of modern world politics and diplomacy: how states and non-state actors wield ir.jpgand negotiate power in the international system. Collegially and individually, we examine the history of international organizations; the relationship between ideology and foreign policy; the development of the global economy; the origins and history of international law and human rights protocols; and the linkages between science, the state, and international relations.

 

Associated Extra-Departmental Faculty

Law and Society

Law is a fundamental expression of any society’s values. As a tool of governance it determines the nature of political regimes, shapes cultural law.jpgpractices and knowledge as well as class relations, defines unacceptable behaviour, and acts as a target for resistance. Historians of law and society seek the operation of law across time and in varied locales. We examine the production of law and legal systems, the development of a concept of social justice and rights, and the lived experience of law and legal regulation. Our interests include youth, rights, and criminal justice in Canadian history; the development of English Common Law and the social relationships that affected it; the relationship between religion and law; and law and the environment.

 

Associated Departmental Faculty

Associated Extra-Departmental Faculty

Migration, Borderlands, and Transnational History

migration.jpgHow were borders created? What functions did they serve? How did borders inhibit or facilitate movements and exchanges of people, goods, and ideas? How did the construction of borders shape the formation of political, social, economic, and cultural identities (and vice versa)? And how did the transcendence of borders transform the configuration of polities and societies? In a world where identity politics is increasingly charged, we believe it is especially meaningful for all of us to reconsider the limits of borders and boundaries.

Associated Extra-Departmental Faculty

Politics, Political Culture, and State Power

The term political history was nearly a tautology in the early years of the profession; as one old maxim went, "History is past politics, and politics.jpgpolitics is present history." To transcend the limitations of political history, many historians turned to social history, a field that one of its practitioners famously defined in 1944 as "history with the politics left out." Today few social historians ignore questions of power, and likewise, few political historians focus exclusively on the state as if it were an autonomous domain. Members of this cluster focus on the “new political history” and consider the state in terms of bureaucratic structures, elections, administrative policies, militaries, police powers, legitimating ideologies, and mass movements seeking to influence or control the state. We are also concerned more broadly with the question of power and the relationship between politics and culture. We have a particular focus on the study of violence – including genocide, politicide, ethnic cleansing, and riots – and the ways states and societies face cases of past violence.

Associated Extra-Departmental Faculty