HIST 4485 Syllabus

James Murton
Office: H302

(705) 474-3450 Ext. 4402
Office Hours: Tues. 2:30-4:00 pm &
 Wed 10:30-11:30 am

Pre-Reqs: Fourth year of a BA4 in History and the completion of 36 credits in History.

Classroom: H304
Class Time: W 12:30-3:30

I encourage you to come by my office, whether to get help with assignments, ask questions about course material, discuss your progress, or simply to talk history.

Introduction to the Course
At the centre of British colonialism in North America was the desire for land. Yet land is a complicated thing. It is bought and sold as property, warred over as territory, valued as a source of familial stability, worked differently by men than by women, and idealized in landscape painting and writing. Less commonly acknowledged is that land is also the plants and animals on it, and the soil, the waters and minerals under it. As property, territory, cultural ideal and ecosystem, land shaped the history of North America, even as North Americans, Native and newcomer, shaped land. This course uses a selection of case studies to examine the interaction between people and land, and thus environment, in the resettlement of North America. Students will gain a more solid understanding of the relationship between human cultures and the material realities of land and environment, will consider the history of food, farming, colonialism and Native-settler relations in the US and Canada, and will get an introduction (or a further introduction, as the case may be) to the field of environmental history. While doing so, students will also build skills in conducting primary-source research, participating in debate and discussion, reviewing historiography, and critiquing writing.

Course Outline & Structure
Hist 4485 is a seminar course. Each week, either the instructor or a student will give a brief introduction to that week’s readings and raise questions for discussion. All classes will proceed through discussion and debate of the arguments, sources, and methods in the assigned texts. Therefore, it is absolutely essential that you carefully and thoughtfully read all assigned material and arrive at class prepared for discussion. If it becomes clear you have not done this, you will be asked to leave.

If you think you will have problems speaking up in class you should come to see the instructor. There are a number of things we can do to make it easier for you to participate.

Finally, note that the class will be divided into two groups (A &B). As is indicated in the class schedule section, in several weeks, Groups A & B will do different readings. Where Groups A & B are not mentioned all students will do the same readings.

Assigned Texts
Required for All

1. Weaver, John C. The Great Land Rush and the Making of the Modern World. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s U P, 2003.
2. Articles on reserve at the library.
3. Hist 4485 Refshare list.

4. Rampolla, Mary Lynn. A Pocket Guide to Writing in History, 4th or 5th ed. New York: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2004 or 2006. Note: Required for all courses in history. No work will be assigned from this book but it will be assumed that you have it or can access it.

Required for Group A

1. Harris, Cole. Making Native Space:Colonialism, Resistance and Reserves in British Columbia. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2002.
2. Cronon, William. Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England. New York: Hill & Wang, 1983.
3. Potyondi, Barry. In Palliser’s Triangle: Living in the Grasslands, 1850-1930. Saskatoon: Purich, 1995.
4. Stoll, Steven. The Fruits of Natural Advantage: Making the Industrial Countryside in California. Los Angeles: California University Press, 1998.

Required for Group B

1. Wood, J. David. Places of Last Resort: The Expansion of the Farm Frontier into the Boreal Forest in Canada, c. 1910-1940. Montreal & Kingston: McGill-Queen’s UP, 2006.
2. Fiege, Mark. Irrigated Eden: The Making of an Agricultural Landscape in the American West. Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1999.
3. Binnema, Theodore. Common & Contested Ground: A Human and Environmental History of the Northwestern Plains. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2004.
4. Donahue, Brian. The Great Meadow: Farmers and the Land in Colonial Concord. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2004.
5. Banner, Stuart. Possessing the Pacific: Land, Settlers, and Indigenous People from Australia to Alaska. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2007.

All required texts are available at the Campus Bookstore. All the books are on reserve at the library (except Banner and Potyondi – the library does not own these).
The syllabus and other course material will be available on the course Blackboard site. Log in at http://blackboard.nipissingu.ca.
Marks and Assignments

Assignment Weight Due Date
Weekly Reading Discussion Papers 20% Start of class
Seminar Participation 20% N.A.
Seminar Leadership 10% TBA
Historiographical Essay 10% Dec 9
Research Essay 30% Mar 31
Peer Review/Critique 10% TBA

Weekly Reading Discussion Papers

Students will submit a total of eight discussion papers on assigned readings for that week. Students should respond to the articles critically, considering argument, methodology, and evidence employed, and discuss how the readings relate to ongoing course themes. For weeks in which several articles by different authors are assigned, students should also point out common themes and the different contribution of the various authors to those themes.

Given that the papers are based upon assigned readings, full, formal documentation is not required; informal parenthetical referencing within the text is fine, if you prefer. These papers will be marked for style, argument, analysis, and clarity. They must be no more than two pages long – I will stop reading at the end of page two. The reason for this limit is to encourage you to think hard and carefully about what are the central themes and important evidence.

Papers must be submitted at the beginning of the class for which the readings were assigned. Late papers will not be accepted, however, early submission is fine. The papers will ultimately translate into 20% of the final grade.

Seminar Participation

As noted above, preparation for, and participation in, seminars is absolutely critical. Absences for anything other than serious illness or dire emergencies will result in a penalty of 5% of the total course mark. If you are asked to leave the class, you will be considered to be absent.

Seminar Leadership

Students will be required to help lead, in pairs, discussion of assigned books over two classes. Seminar leaders will need to have read both books for their two weeks (whereas normally you would only read one). Seminar leadership will require you to give a brief (10 minute) discussion of the major arguments, methodology and evidence of assigned readings, and to facilitate discussion via a set of pre-prepared, probing, thoughtful questions.

How you divide the work up between your co-presenter is up to the both of you. Some people may want to do a joint presentation over both weeks. In other cases, students may choose to each become expert on one of the assigned books (though you must still read both). In either case you must consult with the instructor beforehand.
Historiographical Essay
During the first term students will write a historiographical paper on the subject upon which they have decided to write their major second term research essay. These papers will explore the manner in which historians have approached and discussed a particular subject or area and explore the major debates, identifying and distinguishing between the major schools of thought and the implications of these different positions.

Your topic must relate in some way to the major course theme of land and resettlement in North America. Your topic should also be chosen with some sense of how it can be boiled down to a more focused topic suitable for your research paper. For example, you might write a historiographical paper exploring the literature on land and resettlement in Upper Canada, as preparation for a research paper focusing on the European resettlement of your home town. We will discuss possible topics more fully in class.

You must consult at least 10 articles or books.

As always, you must use scholarly, peer-reviewed sources.

Length: about 8 pages

Research Essay
The research essay is to be a focused, argument-driven paper, showing evidence of substantial research and considerable thought. You are expected to draw on the theoretical concepts developed in this course and on the research from your historiographical essay.

This paper is the major assignment for this course and students should plan for enough time to think carefully about topic and approach, to do research, to organize the paper and determine its thesis, and to do writing and editing – in general, to produce a major piece of work.

You must consult a substantial and appropriate amount of scholarly, peer-reviewed secondary sources, and one or two primary sources.

This assignment will be completed in three stages. First, you will write a complete draft of the essay. Next, you will present your arguments, evidence and conclusions to the class near the end of winter term. Drawing on comments from classmates and the instructor, you will write a revised draft. The draft must be posted to the course Blackboard site one week before you present. The final, revised version is due on the last day of class.

Length: 20-25 pages

Peer Review/Critique

In weeks in which you are not presenting your own research, you will read fellow student’s papers and write a short critical review. These reviews will be the basis for class discussion of the paper. After the class they will be handed in to the instructor who will read them and pass them on to the writer.

Remember – critical does not mean negative! It means a review that is based on evidence and careful and judicious analysis. A critical review can be positive.
Late Policy
Assignments are due on the due date. Late assignments will be penalized 5% per day, counting weekends. Assignments handed in more than 10 days after the due date will receive a grade of zero.
University Grading Standards (from the Academic Calendar)
“A” – (80-100%)
“B” – (70-79%)
“C” – (60-69%)
“D” – (50-59%)
“F” – (0-49%)

“A” indicates Exceptional Performance: comprehensive in-depth knowledge of the principles and materials treated in the course, fluency in communicating that knowledge and independence in applying material and principles.
“B” indicates Good Performance: thorough understanding of the breadth of materials and principles treated in the course and ability to apply and communicate that understanding effectively.
“C” indicates Satisfactory Performance: basic understanding of the breadth of principles and materials treated in the course and an ability to apply and communicate that understanding competently.
“D” indicates Minimally Competent Performance: adequate understanding of most principles and materials treated in the course, but significant weakness in some areas and in the ability to apply and communicate that understanding.
“F” indicates Failure: inadequate or fragmentary knowledge of the principles and materials treated in the course or failure to complete the work required in the course.

Academic Dishonesty
Academic dishonesty includes cheating and plagiarism. The definition of cheating is fairly straightforward. The following information on plagiarism is offered to clear up any possible confusion. I advise you to read the section of the university calendar dealing with academic dishonesty and come to me if you have any questions or concerns.

The university calendar defines plagiarism as follows:

“Essentially, plagiarism involves submitting or presenting work in a course as if it were the student’s own work done expressly for that particular course when, in fact, it is not. Most commonly plagiarism exists when:
a) the work submitted or presented was done, in whole or in part, by an individual other than the one submitting or presenting the work.
b) arts of the work (e.g. phrases, ideas through paraphrase or sentences) are taken from another source without reference to the original author.
c) the whole work (e.g. an essay) is copied from another source and/or
d) a student submits or presents a work in one course which has also been submitted or presented in another course (although it may be completely original with that student) without the knowledge or prior agreement of the instructors involved.”
Penalties range from a grade of zero on the assignment concerned to expulsion from the university. Students should be warned that I take a very dim view of plagiarism and will pursue the maximum possible penalty against anyone suspected of it.

Proofing Abbreviations and Grammatical Terms
I will use the following set of abbreviations and grammatical terms when marking your essays. My comments are intended to help you improve your writing. When you review these comments, use the following as a key.

run-on: a sentence where two sentences, which should be separate, are run together (Bill hit the ball he is a good batter.)
cs: comma splice: a run-on sentence where the two sentences are joined by a comma
lc: lower case (change the capital letter to lower case)
uc: upper case (change the lower case letter to a capital)
frag: sentence fragment (the sentence is missing a verb or subject—usually a verb)
sp: incorrect spelling
ds: change to double space
ss: change to single space
ID: identify (who is this person?; what is this organization?; etc)
awk: the sentence sounds awkward—thus, usually, obscuring your point. Re-word it
vag: vague: re-word in order to make the point in a more specific or detailed manner
ww: wrong word (the word doesn’t mean what you appear to be using it to mean)
nw: not a word
trans: transition: the point doesn’t appear to follow logically from the previous point
ref: what concept, person, etc. does this pronoun refer to?
?: I don’t understand what this sentence means/what you’re trying to say here
pv passive voice. A way of structuring sentences that you should try to avoid as much as possible, although don’t be fanatical about it (as some people are): it does have its uses. In the active voice, the subject precedes the verb which precedes the object (“John hit Bill”), whereas in the passive the object precedes the verb (“Bill was hit by John”). The problem (or one problem ) with the passive voice is that it is often used to omit the subject entirely, thus hiding who actually did what (“Bill was hit”). It also makes your writing sound vague and hesitant.
clause: Any group of words containing a subject and verb (ie, a sentence, but can also refer to part of a sentence).
mm: misplaced modifier. Most easily explained using an example: “She served hamburgers to the men on paper plates.” The phrase on paper plates appears to refer to men, whereas it should actually refer to hamburgers. Generally phrases should come directly after the words they modify. Corrected: “She served hamburgers, on paper plates, to the men.” Or: “She served the men hamburgers on paper plates.”
dm: Dangling modifier. A word or phrase that modifies a word not clearly stated in the sentence. For example, “After reading the original study, the article remains unconvincing.” The doer of the action has not been stated. A corrected version might read: “After reading the original study, I find the article unconvincing,” where the doer of the action is “I.”

More information on grammar and writing can be found in the Rampolla guide. A comprehensive online resource is OWL (The Online Writing Lab) at Purdue University: owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/. A good set of basic guides to grammar and referencing can be found at the Queen’s University Writing Centre: www.queensu.ca/writingcentre/# (click on Handouts).

Assignments in this course must be based on scholarly, peer-reviewed sources. Non-scholarly, non-peer reviewed sources (such as most web pages) may only be used for general information and background.

The major scholarly, peer-reviewed journal in environmental history is:

Environmental History emphasis on North America
(available in print at the library or online at: www.historycooperative.org/ehindex.html)

Other environmental history journals:

Environment and History emphasis on Britain

Journals in related fields that may publish environmental history:

Agricultural History emphasis on North America
Journal of Historical Geography major journal in this related field
Historical Geography emphasis on North America
Annals of the Association of American Geographers geography generally
The Canadian Geographer geography of Canada
BC Studies interdisciplinary studies of BC
Acadiensis history of Atlantic Canada
Pacific Historical Review history of the Pacific Northwest
Prairie Forum history of the Canadian Prairies
Food and Foodways food history

Major Journals in North American History:

Canadian Historical Review Canadian history
American Historical Review history generally
Journal of American History US history

You will also, of course, find many useful scholarly, peer-reviewed books in the library on environmental history and related areas. For guidance, use the footnotes of assigned books and articles. Note as well the authors you are assigned to read – these are generally important scholars – and see what other published works they have that may be useful.
Class Schedule
Note: Readings followed by the words ON RESERVE are available on reserve at the library; where the word REFSHARE follows, see the Hist 4485 Refshare list (accessed through the library webpage – click on “Refshare”). Where no location is indicated, readings are from required books.

Fall Term

Week 1 (Sept 16): Introduction to the Course

Readings: None

Week 2 (Sept 23): Introduction: Transformations of the Earth

Readings for all: Worster, Donald. “Transformations of the Earth: Towards an Agro-Ecological Perspective in History.” Journal of American History, 76(4) (1990), pp. 1087-1106. REFSHARE.
Patriquin, Larry. “The Agrarian Origins of the Industrial Revolution.” Review of Radical Political Economics 36(2) (2004), pp. 196-216. REFSHARE.
Donahue, Brian. “Mixed Husbandry.” In The Great Meadow, pp. 54-73. ON RESERVE and in assigned text.
Weaver, pp. 3-30.

Week 3 (Sept 30): Concepts: Using and Owning Land

Readings for all: Weaver, pp. 46-87.
Steinberg, Theodore. “Fast Fish in America: An Introduction.” In Slide Mountain, or, the Folly of Owning Nature. Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1995. ON RESERVE.
Cronon, William. “Bounding the Land.” In Changes in the Land, pp. 54-81. ON RESERVE and in assigned text.
Harris, Cole. “The Making of the Lower Mainland.” In The Resettlement of British Columbia. Vancouver: UBC Press, 1997, pp. 68-102. ON RESERVE.

Week 4 (Oct 7): Concepts: Land and Settler Colonialism in the “British World”

Readings for all: Seed, Patricia. “Houses, Gardens and Fences: Signs of English Possession in the New World.” In Ceremonies of Possession in Europe’s Conquest of the New World, 1492-1640. New York: Cambridge U P, 1995. ON RESERVE.
Harris, Cole. “How Did Colonialism Dispossess?: Comments from an Edge of Empire.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 94(1) (2004), pp. 165-182. REFSHARE.
Weaver, pp. 88-177.

Week 5 (Oct 14): Study Week

Week 6 (Oct 21): Overview: An Appetite for Land

Readings for all: Weaver, pp. 178-308

Week 7 (Oct 28): The Question of Native Title, I

Readings for Group A: Harris, Making Native Space, pp. xv-135

Readings for Group B: Banner, Possessing the Pacific, pp. 1-162.

Week 8 (Nov 4): The Question of Native Title, II

Readings for Group A: Harris, Making Native Space, pp. 136-292.

Readings for Group B: Banner, Possessing the Pacific, pp. 163-320.

Week 9 (Nov 11): Agriculture & Markets: the Case of New England, I

Readings for Group A: Cronon, Changes in the Land, pp. vii-126 (Preface & Chaps. 1-6)

Readings for Group B: Donahue, The Great Meadow, pp. xiii-154 (skim Chap. 6)

Week 10 (Nov 18): Agriculture & Markets: the Case of New England, II

Readings for Group A: Cronon, Changes in the Land, pp. 127-70.

Readings for Group B: Donahue, The Great Meadow, pp. 155-234.

Week 11 (Nov 25): Living in the Grasslands, I

Readings for Group A: Potyondi, Living in the Grasslands

Readings for Group B: Binnema, Common and Contested Ground, pp. xi-85

Week 12 (Dec 2): Living in the Grasslands, II

Readings for Group A: Potyondi, Living in the Grasslands

Readings for Group B: Binnema, Common and Contested Ground, pp. 86-200

Week 13 (Dec 9): Proposals and Mini-Presentations

Winter Term

Week 14 (Jan 6): Making the Industrial Countryside, I

Readings for Group A: Stoll, The Fruits of Natural Advantage, pp. xi-92

Readings for Group B: Fiege, Irrigated Eden, pp. ix-116

Week 15 (Jan 13): Making the Industrial Countryside, II

Readings for Group A: Stoll, The Fruits of Natural Advantage, pp. 93-185.

Readings for Group B: Fiege, Irrigated Eden, 117-209.

Week 16 (Jan 20): Ending the Great Land Rush, I

Readings for Group A: Murton. “Soldiers, Science and an Alternative Modernity.” ON RESERVE.
Weaver, “Reallocation.”

Readings for Group B: Wood, Places of Last Resort, xiii-105

Week 17 (Jan 27): Ending the Great Land Rush, II

Readings for Group A: Murton, “Stump Farms,” and “Pattullo’s New Deal.” ON RESERVE.

Readings for Group B: Wood, Places of Last Resort, 106-82.

Week 18 (Feb 3): Epilogue: After the Great Land Rush

Readings for all: Wilson, Alexander. “City and Country.” In The Culture of Nature: North American Landscape from Disney to the Exxon Valdez. Toronto: Between the Lines, 1991. ON RESERVE.
Davis, Mike. “The Case for Letting Malibu Burn.” Environmental History Review. 19(2) (1995), pp. 1-36. REFSHARE.
Harris, Cole. “Towards a Postcolonial Land Policy.” In Making Native Space, pp. 293-323. ON RESERVE and in assigned text.
Weaver, “Epilogue”

Week 19 (Feb 10): Week Off for Research

Week 20 (Feb 17): Study Week

Week 21 (Feb 24): Week Off for Research

Week 22 (Mar 3): Presentations

Week 23 (Mar 10): Presentations

Week 24 (Mar 17): Presentations

Week 25 (Mar 24): Presentations

Week 26 (Mar 31): Revisions