Syllabus: History 2400, History of Atlantic Canada since 1500


Winter Semester, 2007

History 2400: History of Atlantic Canada since 1500


Class meets in Slot 6, Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, 1:00-1:50 pm., rm. SN 2098



Instructor: Norma Hall, rm. A 4011.

Office hours: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 10:00 am.-12:00 pm., or by appointment



This course will survey interactions between peoples in the Atlantic Canadian region from the time of First Nations-European contact. It will review the variety of responses to: community formation, persistence, and exchange to 1713; conflicting territorial imperatives and regional reorganization between 1713 and 1815; and patterns of local government and social control instituted after 1815. It will then consider the integration of local governments into Confederation, and the social and political consequences of the region’s shift from a maritime to a landward economic orientation during the National Policy era. Finally, it will evaluate Atlantic Canadian responses to limitations posed by the region’s political and economic position within Confederation.


Required Texts:


Conrad, Margaret R., and James K. Hiller. Atlantic Canada: a concise history. Don Mills ON.: Oxford University Press, 2006.

[Also acceptable from Conrad and Hiller: Atlantic Canada: a region in the making (Don Mills ON.: Oxford University Press, 2001).]

Articles as assigned each week (see appended lecture schedule).

Suggested, but not required:


For a more comprehensive discussion of most topics covered in the course see:

Buckner, Phillip A., and John G. Reid, eds. The Atlantic Region to Confederation: A History. Toronto and Fredericton: University of Toronto Press and Acadiensis Press, 1994.

Forbes, E.R., and D.A. Muise, eds. The Atlantic Provinces in Confederation. Toronto and Fredericton: University of Toronto Press and Acadiensis Press, 1993.

Required and suggested course readings are available at the QEII library reserve desk.


Term Work:

There are two key written assignments. The first paper is a brief essay proposal with bibliography. The second paper is a full essay (minimum 10 pages, maximum 25 pages – refer to assignment sheet for complete details), to be based on the proposal and researched from texts listed in the bibliography.

Expectation: The Memorial University of Newfoundland, 2006/2007 University Calendar, page 58, section 4.6.4, advises that “good writing skills are required for effective communication. Students are, therefore, expected to demonstrate proficiency in logical organization, clarity of expression and grammatical correctness in their writing” (). The Calendar also provides guidelines for writing on page 60, section 4.8.3, “Good Writing” (regoff/calendar/sectionNo=REGS-0661#REGS-0676>).

Style Guide: The History Department supplies a brief guide to formatting written assignments (see appended, “Guidelines for Historical Essays”). Consider this guide authoritative on points that it covers. Students will find it useful to have a professional guide to scholarly writing to consult for more detailed information. I regularly refer to: Kate L. Turabian, A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations 6th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1996), but there are many good guides available.

Deadlines: Both assignments should be submitted as soon as possible: the first no later than January 29, the second by April 3. Assignments must be submitted directly to the instructor during class time, scheduled office hours, or by appointment. The instructor is not responsible for tracking down assignments submitted any other way. Unexcused late papers are not acceptable. Be aware that excuses must be supported by appropriate documentation (see Calendar, page 67, section 4.14.4, “General Academic Regulations”, regoff/ calendar/sectionNo=REGS-0858>).

Assignments submitted two weeks prior to a deadline may be re-submitted for re-evaluation at the deadline. Papers will be returned with critical commentary to encourage improvement. (To document that a final draft does take account of the criticism of a preceding version, the previously marked draft must be re-submitted with the revised paper). Proposal papers submitted on January 29 will be returned on February 12. Essay papers submitted on April 3 will be returned at the time of the final examination in April, to be scheduled by the Registrar.

Voluntary Withdrawal and Plagiarism:

The last day for voluntary withdrawal without academic penalty, is February 26. Everybody will write their own papers, projects and exam (read the statements on plagiarism, cheating and impersonation in the Calendar, page 25, section 4.11.4, “Academic Offences,” regoff/calendar/sectionNo=REGS-0748>).

Examination and Evaluation:

The essay proposal and bibliography will account for 20 percent of the grade in the course, the research paper for 35 percent. The final exam is worth 30 percent and class participation will count for 15 percent, made up of in-class exercises of worth 3.75 percent each. The relation between percentage marks and letter grades is as follows:

A (80-100)                  D (50-54)

B (65-79)                     F (below 50)

C (55-64)

Failure to complete the papers and exam will result in a final grade of ‘F’ representing 0%.


Lecture Schedule, Assigned Readings and Questions to Consider:

Week 1 (8-11 Jan.)             Introduction: Syllabus, Concepts & Terminology,

*In-class exercise 1: Negotiation of reading responsibility*

*In-class exercise 2: ‘Blue Sky’ problem solving and essay proposals*


Conrad and Hiller, Chpt. 1

Week 2 (15-18 Jan.)           Natives, Newcomers and Contact.


Conrad and Hiller, Chapt. 2, & pp. 22-27 (2006) [pp. 36-40 (2001 edition)].

Pastore, Ralph T. “The collapse of the Beothic world.” Acadiensis 19, no. 1 (Fall, 1989): 52-71.

Trigger, Bruce G. “Early North American Responses to European Contact: Romantic versus Rationalistic Interpretations.” The Journal of American History 77, no. 4 (March, 1991): excerpt, 1196-1206. [Also available online through QEII Article Indexes @ JSTOR]

Q: What obstacles confront historians of First Nations peoples? What role did Europeans play in establishing differences among Aboriginal groups?

Week 3 (22-25 Jan.)           Commodities, Trade and Territory


Conrad and Hiller, pp. 27-33 (2006) [pp. 41-47 (2001)]

Pope, Peter E. “The 16th-Century Fishing Voyage.” In How Deep Is The Ocean? Historical Essays on Canada’s Atlantic Fishery. Edited by James E. Candow and Carol Corbin. 15-30. Sydney NS.: University College of Cape Breton Press, 1997.

Turgeon, Laurier. “French Fishers, Fur Traders, and Amerindians.” The William and Mary Quarterly 55, no. 4, 3d Series (October, 1998): 585-610. [Also available online through QEII Article Indexes @ JSTOR]

Q: What was the significance of the fish and fur trades of the Atlantic region in Europe? Is there a difference between presenting the people and places surveyed this week as part of European, or as part of Canadian history?

Week 4 (29 Jan.-1 Feb.)    Early Settlement Attempts

*Last Call for Proposal and Bibliography*


Conrad and Hiller, Chapts. 4 & 5

Hynes, Gisa. “Some Aspects of the Demography of Port Royal, 1650-1755.” In Atlantic Canada before Confederation: the Acadiensis reader, volume one, 2d ed. Edited by P.A. Buckner and David Frank. 11-25. Fredericton NB.: Acadiensis Press, 1985.

Thorp, Daniel B. “Equals of the King: The Balance of Power in Early Acadia” Acadiensis 25, no. 2 (1996): 3-17.

Q: To what degree was Acadia integrated into the French Empire? Do demographics – information about population characteristics – help to answer questions about a society’s political structuring?

Week 5 (5-8 Feb.)               British Imperial Ascendancy


Conrad and Hiller, Chapt. 6 & pp. 77-81 (2006) [pp. 90-97 (2001)]

Lockerby, Earle. “The Deportation of the Acadians from Ile St.-Jean, 1758.” Acadiensis 27, no. 2 (1998): 45-94.

Wicken, Bill. “26 August 1726: A Case Study in Mi’kmaq-New England Relations in the Early 18th Century.” Acadiensis 23, no. 1 (1993): 5-22.

Q: How did British imperial officials gain control of the Atlantic Region? Were their methods unusual?

Week 6 (12-15 Feb.)           The Colonial Challenge and Regional Structuring


Conrad and Hiller, pp. 83-93 (2006) [pp. 98-109 (2001)]

*Cahill, Barry. “The Black Loyalist Myth in Atlantic Canada.” Acadiensis 29, no. 1 (1999): 76-87.

*Walker, James W. St.G. “Myth, History and Revisionism: The Black Loyalists Revisited.” Acadiensis 29, no. 1 (1999): 88-105.

Q: What is the salient point on which Cahill and Walker differ when it comes to ‘Black Loyalists’? What is at stake?

Week 7 (22 Feb.) In-class exercise 3: Interpreting Primary Documents

*Be familiar with Cahill & Walker [see assigned articles, Week 6]

Week 8 (26 Feb.-1 Mar.)   Sails and Rails: The Making of Regional Industrial Capitalism


Conrad and Hiller, Chapt. 8 & 9 (2006) [Chapt. 8 (2001)]

Cadigan, Sean, “Artisans in a Merchant Town: St. John’s, Newfoundland, 1785-1855.” Journal of the Canadian Historical Association/Revue de la Société historique du Canada, new series, 4 (1993): 95-119 [Also available through QEII EJournals @ Érudit]

McKay, Ian. “Class Struggle and Merchant Capital: Craftsmen and Labourers on the Halifax Waterfront, 1850-1900.” In The Character of Class Struggle. Edited by Bryan D. Palmer. 17-36. Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1986.

Q: How important were merchants in the social structure of Atlantic Canada? What factors seem to have affected their status?

Week 9 (5-8 Mar.)              ‘National’ Policy and the Politics of Position


Conrad and Hiller, Chapt. 10 (2006) [Chapt. 9 (2001)]

Beattie, Betsy. “Changes at Home: The Maritime Economy and the Exodus, 1850-1890.” In Obligation and Opportunity: Single Maritime Women in Boston, 1870-1930. 25-41. Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2000.

Reilly, Nolan. “The General Strike in Amherst, Nova Scotia, 1919.” In Labour and Working-Class History in Atlantic Canada: A Reader. Edited by David Frank, and Gregory S. Kealy. 258-278. St. John’s NL.: ISER, 1995.

Q: Who benefitted most from economic changes associated with the National Policy in the Maratimes? Who benefitted least? What accounts for this difference?

Week 10 (12-15 Mar.)       Responding to War, Boom and Bust

*Documentary: “Battle of the Somme: the true story”*


Conrad and Hiller, Chapt. 11, 12 & pp. 178-187 (2006) [Chapt. 10 (2001)]

Simmons, Christina. “‘Helping the Poorer Sisters’: The Women of the Jost Mission, Halifax, 1905-1945.” Acadiensis 14, no. 1 (1984): 3-27.

Macgillivray, Don. “Military Aid to the Civil Power: The Cape Breton Experience in the 1920s.” Acadiensis 3, no. 2 (1974): 45-64.

Q: During the long economic depression in the Maritimes, how were roles for dealing with inequalities divided among governments and Progressive charities?

Week 11 (19-22 Mar.)       Newfoundland and Confederation                                *Guest Speaker*


Conrad and Hiller, pp. 187-190 (2006)

Porter, Stephanie. “Our Terms (Part I).” Transcript. The Newfoundland and Labrador Independent 4, no. 38 (22 Sep. 2006): 1, 2, 4.

Hiller, James K. “Newfoundland Confronts Atlantic Canada, 1867-1949.” In The Atlantic Provinces in Confederation. Edited by E.R. Forbes, and D.A. Muise. 349-381. Toronto and Fredericton: University of Toronto Press/Acadiensis Press, 1993.

Kennedy, John C. “Labrador Metis Ethnogenesis.” Ethos 62, no. 3-4 (1997): 5-23.

Q: Did the experiences of the Maritime Provinces within Confederation suggest that Newfoundland would benefit significantly from becoming a Canadian province? Have debates about Confederation changed?

Week 12 (26-29 Mar.)       State Intervention, Modernization and Regionalism


Conrad and Hiller, Chapt. 14 & 15 (2006) [Chapt. 11 (2001)]

Marquis, Greg. “‘A Reluctant Concession to Modernity’: Alcohol and Modernization in the Maritimes, 1945-1980.” Acadiensis 32, no. 2 (2003): 31-59.

Wright, Miriam. “Women, Men and the Modern Fishery: Images of Gender in Government Plans for the Canadian Atlantic Fisheries.” In Their Lives and Times: Women in Newfoundland and Labrador: A Collage. Edited by Carmelita McGrath, Barbara Neis, and Marilyn Porter. 129-143. St. John’s: Killick Press, 1995.

Q: What is the nature of the association between modernization and progress?

Week 13                                In-class exercise 4: Review

*Last Call for Research Paper*


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