Women, Gender, and Sexuality in Canada, 1600-1870

Humanities & Social Sciences
Course Code
HIST 2260
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Certificate in Global Competency
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Typically Offered
To be determined


Course Description
This course examines the history of gender and sexuality in Canada from precontact to the industrial revolution, with a particular focus on Canadian women’s lives, work and place in the historical record. It examines the intersectional experiences of women within the family, the labour force, and religious, political, social and cultural movements. It investigates the intertwining constructions of gender ideology and sexual identity, exploring the diversity of women’s experiences, and interrogating how class, race, ethnicity, age, and region shaped the contours of women’s and men’s lives in different historical periods in Canada. Topics to be considered include the role of gender in Indigenous-colonial relations, women in European colonization, family economies and the gendered development of colonial legal and educational structures.
Course Content

A sample course outline would include the following topics.

Note: Content may vary according to the instructor’s selection of topics.

1. Review of historical methods. Gender and sexuality in the research and writing of history

2. Contact and Colonization

3. Gendered lives in New France I: Les Réligieuses

4. Gendered lives in New France II: Work and Family Life

5. British North America I: Separate Spheres

6. British North America II: Politics and Public Life

7. Slavery and Migration in British North America

8. The Fur Trade

9. Gender and Race in the West and beyond

10. Nineteenth Century Health and Medicine

11. Regulating Sexuality in nineteenth century Canada

12. Gendered education in the nineteenth century

13. Industrialization

14. Concluding themes: Canada on the eve of modernity

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 student 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:

Participation 15%
Reading Responses 10%
Primary Document Analysis 15%
Mid-term Exam 15%
Research Essay 20%
Final Exam 25%

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

Texts will 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, and links to specific resources may be provided in the course outline.

Brandt, Gail Cuthbert, Naomi Black, Paula Bourne, and Magda Fahrni. Canadian Women: A History, 3rd ed. Toronto: Nelson Education, 2011.

Campbell, Lara, Tamara Myers, and Adele Perry, eds. Rethinking Canada: The Promise of Women’s History, 7th ed. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Keough, Willeen and Lara Campbell, eds. Gender History: Canadian Perspectives. Toronto: Oxford University Press, 2014.




One 1000-level History course or permission of the instructor





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 2260
Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) KPU HIST 2XXX (3)
Simon Fraser University (SFU) SFU GSWS 201 (3) or SFU HIST 2XX (3)
Thompson Rivers University (TRU) TRU HIST 2XXX (3)
Trinity Western University (TWU) TWU HIST 2XX (3)
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 1XX (3)
University of Victoria (UVIC) UVIC GNDR 219 (1.5) or UVIC HSTR 2XX (1.5)
Vancouver Island University (VIU) VIU HIST 210 (3)

Course Offerings

Fall 2023

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HIST 2260 001 - Pre-requisite: one 1000-level History course or permission of the instructor.

This course can count towards an Associate of Arts specialization in Gender, Sexualities, and Women’s Studies.

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New Westminster - North Bldg.
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