New and Special Topics Courses

Students working together in a computer lab

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 2023

NEW: HISB05H3: History of Information for a Digital Age

This course provides a general introduction to digital methods in History through the study of the rise of information as a concept and a technology. Topics include the history of information theory, the rise of digital media, and, especially, the implications of digital media, text processing, and artificial intelligence for historical knowledge. Using simple tools, students learn to encode texts as data structures and transform those structures programmatically.

Prerequisite: None

HISC96H3: Language and Society in the Arab World

An examination of the relationship between language, society and identity in North Africa and the Arabic-speaking Middle East from the dawn of Islam to the contemporary period. Topics include processes of Arabization and Islamization, the role of Arabic in pan-Arab identity; language conflict in the colonial and postcolonial periods; ideologies of gender and language among others.

Prerequisite Any B-level course in African Studies, Linguistics, History, or Women's and Gender Studies

Exclusion AFSC30H3

Winter 2024

NEW CLAC26H3/HISC16H3: Indigeneity and the Classics

This course will explore the representations and realities of Indigeneity in the ancient Mediterranean world, as well as the entanglements between modern settler-colonialism, historiography, and reception of the 'Classical' past. Throughout the term, we will be drawn to (un)learn, think, write, and talk about a series of topics, each of which pertains in different ways to a set of overarching questions: What can Classicists learn from ancient and modern indigenous ways of knowing? What does it mean to be a Classicist in Tkaronto, on the land many Indigenous Peoples call Turtle Island? What does it mean to be a Classicist in Toronto, Ontario, Canada? What does it mean to be a Classicist in a settler colony? How did the Classics inform settler colonialism? How does modern settler colonialism inform our reconstruction of ancient indigeneities? How does our relationship to the land we come from and are currently on play a role in the way we think about the ancient Mediterranean world? Why is that so? How did societies of the ancient Mediterranean conceive of indigeneity? How did those relationships manifest themselves at a local, communal, and State levels?

Prerequisite Any 4.0 credits, including 1.0 credit in CLA or HIS courses

NEW CLAD69H3/HISD69H3: Sufis and Desert Fathers: Mysticism in Late Antiquity and Early Islam

This course is an introduction to mystical/ascetic beliefs and practices in late antiquity and early Islam. Often taken as an offshoot of or alternative to “orthodox” representations of Christianity and Islam, mysticism provides a unique look into the ways in which these religions were experienced by its adherents on a more popular, often non-scholarly, “unorthodox” basis throughout centuries. In this class we will examine mysticism in late antiquity and early Islam through the literature, arts, music, and dance that it inspired.

The first half of the term will be devoted to the historical study of mysticism, its origins, its most well-known early practitioners, and the phases of its institutionalization in early Christianity and early Islam; the second part will look into the beliefs and practices of mystics, the literature they produced, the popular expressions of religion they generated, and their effects in the modern world. This study of mysticism will also provide a window for contemporary students of religion to examine the devotional practices of unprivileged members of the late antiquity religious communities, women and slaves in particular.

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

NEW FSTD02H3: Special Topics in Food Studies

This seminar will expose students to advanced subject matter and research methods in Food Studies. Each seminar will explore a selected topic.

Prerequisite Any 8.0 credits including 1.0 credit from the Food Studies Courses Table

NEW HISC07H3: Data, Text, and the Future of the Past

This course prepares students to work in the field of digital history. We focus on the development of concrete skills in spatial and visual analysis; web technologies including HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and Web Components; and multi-media authoring. Each year, we choose a different thematic focus and use techniques of digital history to explore it. Students completing this class will acquire skills that qualify them to participate in ongoing Digital History and Digital Humanities projects run by department faculty, as well as to initiate their own research projects.

Prerequisite HISB05H3

Exclusion HIS355H1, HISC06H3

NEW HISC20H3: Fascism and the Far Right

This course examines the political, cultural and social history of fascism, from historical regimes and movements to contemporary expressions of the far right, alt-right and populist nationalism. We will explore topics including intellectual origins, the mobilization of culture, the totalitarian state, political violence, and global networks.

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

NEW HISD03H3: Selected Topics in Historical Research

Winter 2024 Topic: Science and Empire in South Asia 

How did the development of the sciences play a key role in the colonization of South Asia, particularly the control and exploitation of land and people? And how did British imperialism in South Asia in turn shape the sciences as we know them today? Health and medicine, botany and agricultural science, climate science and meteorology, engineering and physics, cartography and ethnography -- all of these were important to colonial power. Examining historical research and primary sources, this advanced course in the history of modern South Asia looks at these different fields of scientific enquiry and application and the institutions, people and relationships that produced them. You will work with other students in a seminar setting, with a focus on student discussion and on developing and honing your research, writing and presentation skills.

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].