Canada Since 1945

Curriculum Guideline

Effective Date:
Course Code
HIST 3315
Canada Since 1945
Humanities & Social Sciences
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
Max Class Size
25 (writing intensive)
Contact Hours
Lecture: 2 hrs. per week / semester Seminar: 2 hrs. per week / semester
Method(s) Of Instruction
Learning Activities

Class sections will be divided between lectures and seminar discussions. The seminar discussion sessions will serve as a forum for the analysis and discussion of scholarly literature and as a testing ground for student hypotheses. The instructor will encourage students to elaborate, refine and revise ideas. Discussion sessions will also include tutorials in conducting historical research, the exploration of primary source documents, and practice in oral presentations. Participation in both lectures and seminar discussions is required for the successful completion of the course.


Methods may include:

  • lecture/discussion
  • group work
  • peer review
  • independent research
  • instructor feedback on students’ work
  • individual consultation
  • presentation (individual or group)
Course Description
This course examines the political, social and cultural history of Canada from the end of World War II to the present day, focusing on the changing nature of Canadian society; the evolving role of the state in the lives of Canadians; and Canada’s place in the world.
Topics include: optimism and uncertainty in the postwar period; the demographic changes brought about by the post-war baby boom; the Cold War and consumer society; the Americanization of Canada; the emergence of new social movements and the social, political and ideological upheavals of the 1960s; Aboriginal people, land claims and the struggle for public voice; immigration, diversity and multiculturalism; francophone Quebec sovereignty; regional resistance to federal policies and politics; the emergence of environmentalism; and questions of national identity and national unity. Particular emphasis is placed on the social experiences of the generations born after the war.
Course Content

A sample course outline would include the following topics.

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


  1. Introduction
  2. Canada Reconstructs: The postwar reality
  3. The Baby Boom, suburbanization and “normal” citizens
  4. Cold War/Hot War: Canadian-American relations
  5. Oh, Canada! The Massey Commission, maple leaves, and cultural nationalism
  6. The not-so Quiet Revolution in Quebec
  7. Youthquakes: New social movements and protests
  8. Towards a modern welfare state: The Just Society
  9. Just Watch Me: Trudeau, Quebec and the October Crisis
  10. The Unjust Society: Aboriginal Peoples in postwar Canada
  11. Referendums and repatriating the Constitution
  12. Canada enters the digital age: Free trade and changing economic realities
  13. Immigration, multiculturalism and transnationalism
  14. Canada in a global world
Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the successful student will be able to:

  1. Examine historical sources critically and analytically. These sources include not only survey texts and scholarly articles, but also short monographs and extended primary sources. Students are required to read in the course subject area beyond the texts assigned by the instructor.
  2. Create and communicate personal interpretations of historical problems. This course is writing intensive. Forms for communication of personal interpretations include research essays (from 3000-5000 words), research proposals and annotated bibliographies, comparative book reviews, shorter interpretive essays, historiography analyses, primary source studies, and final examinations or final summative assignments.
  3. Analyze the ideas of other students and the instructor in both tutorials and seminars both independently and in cooperation with other students.
Means of Assessment

Assessment will be in accord with the Douglas College student evaluation policy. Specific evaluation criteria will be provided by the instructor at the beginning of the semester and will vary according to the instructor’s assessment of appropriate evaluation methods.


An example of one evaluation scheme: Any combination of the following totalling 100%


Primary source document analyses


Research proposal and annotated bibliography


Research essay


Comparative book review


Seminar presentations


Class participation


Final examination




Textbook Materials

Textbooks and Materials to be Purchased by Students:


Texts will be chosen from the following list, to be updated periodically:

An instructor’s Course Reader may be required, and students will be required to read in the course subject area beyond the texts assigned by the instructor.


Bothwell, Robert. Alliance and Illusion: Canada and the World, 1945-1984. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2008.

Bothwell, Robert, Ian Drummond and John English Canada Since 1945: Power, Politics and Provincialism. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2001.

Christie, Nancy and Michael Gauvreau, eds. Cultures of Citizenship in Post-War Canada, 1940-1955. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2004.

Edwardson, Ryan. Canadian Content: Culture and the Quest for Nationhood. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2008.

Fahrni, Magda, and Robert Rutherdale. Creating Postwar Canada: Community, Diversity, and Dissent, 1945-1975. Vancouver: UBC Press, 2008.

Finkel, Alvin. Our Lives: Canada After 1945. Toronto: Lorimer, 1997.

Iacovetta, Franca. Gatekeepers: Reshaping Immigrant Lives in Cold War Canada. Toronto: Between the Lines, 2006.

Owram, Doug. Born at the Right Time: A History of the Baby Boom Generation. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1997.

Palmer, Bryan. Canada’s 1960s: The Ironies of Identity in a Rebellious Era. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009.

Vance, Jonathan. A History of Canadian Culture. Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 2009;


One 1000-Level History Course

Or the permission of the instructor