War and Society

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
HIST 2220
Semester Length
Max Class Size
Method(s) Of Instruction
Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
HIST 2220, War and Society, introduces students to the study of warfare from early human societies to the present day. Major themes include: the role of violence in human nature, the evolution of warfare resulting from technological innovations and cultural change, and the complex relationships between war, culture, and society. Topics may include: warfare in ancient Greece; medieval chivalry; gunpowder and the transformation of military technologies; modern industrialized warfare, nuclear strategies; guerrilla warfare; peacekeeping.
Course Content

A sample course outline may include the following topics.
Note: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.

  1. Introduction to War and Militarism
  2. Conflict and Cooperation in Early Human Civilizations
  3. Classical Warfare: From the Greek Phalanx to Roman Gladiators
  4. Pre-Modern Warfare: Castles and Chivalry
  5. The Military Revolution: Gunpowder and Drill
  6. Enlightened Warfare and the Nation-in-Arms
  7. Strategy and Tactics: From Maps to the Battlefield
  8. Nineteenth Century Industrialization and Twentieth Century Total War
  9. The Cold War Era: Nuclear Stalemate and National Liberation
  10. Post-Modern Warfare: Terrorism, Drones, and Cyber-Warfare
  11. Home/Front: Gendered Warfare and its Psychological Impact
  12. Religion and War: Conscientious Objection, Just War, and Jihad
  13. Mass Mobilization: War, Media, and Propaganda in the Digital Age
  14. Peace Movements and Hope for a World Without War
Learning Activities

Classroom instruction will include both lectures and seminar discussions. Lectures will provide instruction on weekly topics with opportunities for student inquiry and discussion. Seminars will encourage active class participation in the analysis of assigned primary and secondary readings. Classroom instruction may also include student presentations on specific readings and/or topics, and other types of student-led activities. Classroom instruction may also include tutorials and workshops on transferrable skills, including research methods, academic citation practice, and presentation skills.

Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accordance with the Douglas College Evaluation Policy. Students may conduct research with human participants as part of their coursework in this class. Instructors for the course are responsible for ensuring that student research projects comply with College policies on ethical conduct for research involving humans.

Students will have opportunities to build and refine their research capacity and historical thinking skills through assessments appropriate to the level of the course. There will be at least three separate assessments, which may include a combination of midterm and final exams; research essays; primary document analysis assignments and essays; quizzes; map tests; in-class and online written assignments; seminar presentations; student assignment portfolios; group projects; creative projects; class participation.

The value of each assessment and evaluation, expressed as a percentage of the final grade, will be listed in the course outline distributed to students at the beginning of the term. Specific evaluation criteria will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.

An example of one evaluation scheme:
Class Participation 15%
Seminar Presentations 10%
Review Essay 15%
Historiographical Essay 30%
Midterm Exam 15%
Final Exam 15%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course, successful students will be able to demonstrate historical thinking skills, research skills, critical thinking skills and communication skills appropriate to the level of the course by:

1. Locating, examining, assessing, and evaluating a range of primary sources and secondary scholarly literature critically and analytically (reading history).
2. Constructing historical arguments, taking historical perspectives, and interpreting historical problems through different types of writing assignments of varying lengths (writing history).
3. Participating in active and informed historical debate independently and cooperatively through classroom discussion and presentation (discussing history).
4. Independently and cooperatively investigating the ways that history is created, preserved and disseminated through public memory and commemoration, oral history, community engagement, and other forms of popular visual and written expressions about the past (applying history).

Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Course Readers may be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically.
An instructor’s custom Course Reader may be required. Additional online resources may also be assigned. Additional reading lists and links to specific resources also may be provided online or in the instructor’s course outline.

Black, Jeremy. A Century of Conflict: War, 1914-2014. New York: Oxford University Press, 2015.

Bourke, Joanna. An Intimate History of Killing: Face-to-Face Killing in Twentieth Century Warfare. New ed. London: Granta, 2009.

Cook, Tim. Vimy: The Battle and the Legend. Toronto: Penguin Random House Canada, 2018.

Dyer, Gwynne. War: The New Edition. Toronto: Vintage/Random House, 2016.

English, Richard. Modern War: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013.

Gat, Azar. War in Human Civilization. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

Humphries, Mark Osborne. A Weary Road: Shell Shock in the Canadian Expeditionary Force, 1914-1918. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2018.

Iarocci, Andrew, and Jeffrey Keshen. A Nation in Conflict: Canada and the Two World Wars. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2015.

Keegan, John. The Face of Battle: A Study of Agincourt, Waterloo and the Somme. Oxford: The Bodley Head, 2014.

Lee, Wayne E. Waging War: Conflict, Culture and Innovation in World History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Lynn, John. Battle: A History of Combat and Culture. Rev. ed. New York: Basic Books, 2008.

Roland, Alex. War and Technology: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Stearns, Peter. Peace in World History. London: Routledge, 2014.

Townshead, Charles. Terrorism: A Very Short Introduction. 3rd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019.



One 1000-level History course, or permission of the instructor


No corequisite courses.


No equivalent courses.

Course Guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester / year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

Course Transfers

These are for current course guidelines only. For a full list of archived courses please see

Institution Transfer Details for HIST 2220
Athabasca University (AU) AU HIST 2XX (3)
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU HIST 2335 (3)
Langara College (LANG) LANG HIST 2XXX (3)
Okanagan College (OC) OC HIST 2XX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU HIST 2XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU HIST 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HIST 2XX (3)
University Canada West (UCW) No credit
University of British Columbia - Okanagan (UBCO) UBCO HIST 2nd (3)
University of British Columbia - Vancouver (UBCV) UBCV HIST 2nd (3)
University of Northern BC (UNBC) UNBC HIST 2XX (3)
University of the Fraser Valley (UFV) UFV HIST 316 (4)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC HSTR 2XX (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU HIST 2nd (3)

Course Offerings

Summer 2023