AU has recently welcomed a newly revised history course into their Centre for Work and Community Studies. This course, Girls and Women in Urban Canada (HIST 365), explores the role and life of Canadian women and girls in Canada from 1880 onwards.
Essentially, HIST 365 replaces AU’s previous HIST 364 (Women and Family in Urban Canada); since HIST 364’s last revision, there were a ?number of developments? in Canadian women’s history, explained course author Donna Belisle in an online interview. Due to this, she explained, ?we have therefore replaced HIST 364 with a new course that showcases these developments.?
?Essentially,? indicated Dr. Belisle, ?HIST 365 introduces students to the major themes in Canadian women’s history.? The course’s main focus is on urban Canadian women ?during a period of extreme social transformation.? Students focus on this in the course’s four units.
HIST 365 opens with a comprehensive introductory unit, ensuring that students are given an adequate foundation upon which further course knowledge will have the opportunity to build. Topics explored in the remaining three units include exploring women’s domestic responsibilities from 1880 to 1940, enabling students to form in-depth ideas of the expected workload of a Canadian woman during this time period.
?Between 1880 and 1940,? explained Dr. Belisle, ?Canadians witnessed urbanization, industrialization, and the rise of the modern state. These occurrences affected Canadian women in several ways.? HIST 365 enables students to become well versed in the challenges and triumphs of Canadian women during this time. Students explore the impact of racialization and immigration on Canadian women, as well as women and the labour activation movement. ?By exploring Canadian women’s responses to these events, the course teaches us about the gender of Canadian history, the consequences of modernization, and women’s various experiences prior to World War II,? indicated Dr. Belisle.
Evaluation for HIST 365 consists of two telephone assignments, worth 5% and 10% respectively. These telephone assignments, which are basically ?informal discussions with course tutors about the readings in the course package,? are interactive and fun, designed to help students gain maximum knowledge out of the course. HIST 365 evaluation also includes one essay assignment, worth 30%, and one final research paper, with a proposal and final paper combined weight of 55%. Essay and paper suggestions are varied, and include topics such as women’s domestic responsibilities; women’s voting equality; women and immigration; women and ethnicity in women’s history; women and political activism; juvenile delinquents; girl culture and popular culture; and motherhood.
Course professor Donna Belisle is well versed in Canadian history, having recently received her PhD in this area from Trent University. Her dissertation focused on consumerism and its influence on the Canada of today. Dr. Belisle has been published in the Canadian Historical Review; Journal of Women’s History; and Labour/Le Travail. Currently, she is pursuing a postdoctoral fellowship at the Centre for Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of British Columbia.