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Canadian-American Relations: Sleeping with the Elephant

Course Code: HIST 2245
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Department: History
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Seminar
Typically Offered: TBD. Contact Department Chair for more info.
course overview

HIST 2245, Canadian-American Relations, explores the Canada-United States relationship – politically, economically, environmentally, and culturally – from the colonial era to the present. Topics include: Indigenous societies and the consequences of colonialism; the origins, impact, and outcomes, from a North American perspective, of such military conflicts as the Revolutionary War, the War of 1812, the United States Civil War, the World Wars, and the Cold War; campaigns for and against continental economic integration; ecological transformations and crises; and the trials and triumphs, in both Canada and the United States, of marginalized communities, including women, workers, peoples of colour, and sexual minorities.

Course Content

1. Indigenous Cultures, European Empires, and the Creation of Settler Societies to 1763

2. The Unmaking of the First British Empire and the American Revolution, 1763-1783

3. The Continuing Revolution, 1783-1815

4. Manifest Destinies, 1815-1854

5. Conflict and Consolidation, 1854-1885

6. Imperial Rivalry, 1885-1914

7. Canadian and American Perspectives on the Great War, 1914-1919

8. Interwar Upheaval, 1919-1939

9. North America’s Second World War, 1939-1945

10. Continental Integration I, 1945-1965

11. Ambivalent Allies, 1965-1984

12. Continental Integration II, 1984-1993

13. The ‘End of History,’ 1993-2001 

14. Canadian-American Relations Since 2001

Methods of Instruction

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. 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 Test 15%

Research Essay 20%

Final Examination 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 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)

course prerequisites

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



curriculum 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 schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.