Honours in History

Applications for admissions to the History Honours Stream are accepted from March 1 to May 1 of each year.  Students must have completed 20 courses by May 1 to apply.  Completed forms should be submitted by May 1 to the Chair of the Humanities Department in EA3147.
Honours in HistoryStudents who are interested in graduate study or would like to engage in a serious intellectual exercise should consider an Honours Degree. It is an opportunity for students to select a topic, engage in systematic study under the supervision of a faculty supervisor, and produce a scholarly finished project. An Honours Degree is not for everyone. Students who have strong time-management skills, self-discipline, and work well independently are most likely to succeed.

DescriptionThe Honours Project is an in-depth experience with the discipline of History. Students will complete a two-course sequence in their last year of study (HIST 5110 and HIST 5120). During these courses, students will define a topic, conduct a literature review, and produce a thesis or project based on original research. The completed thesis will range between fifty and sixty pages of text, not including footnotes and bibliography. Less commonly, students may, with the approval of a sponsoring faculty member, choose to do a project based on their research rather than a traditional thesis. In addition, the general graduation requirements for Honours vary somewhat from the general graduation requirements for the B.A. in History. For instance, students must take a minimum of 20 History courses instead of a minimum of 16 History courses. Students enrolled in the Honours program who fail to satisfy all the requirements for the Honours degree (for instance, they do not complete the thesis), but who have satisfied all requirements for a BA in History shall receive a BA History degree upon graduation.

EligibilityAdmittance to the program is competitive, and students must have a 3.0 GPA in their last ten courses to apply. History faculty members determine which of the qualified applicants will be admitted into Honours. Once admitted to the Honours Program, students must maintain a 3.0 in their major courses, as well as a 3.0 overall GPA.

ApplicationStudents may apply to the Honours program after completing 20 courses.  Your application must include the following items:

• The Mount Royal Honours application form obtainable from the History Major Advisor.
• The Honours History application form obtainable from the History Major Advisor.
• An unofficial transcript of all college/university courses including courses completed at other post-secondary institutions.

Applications are due by May 1 — no exceptions. Application materials should be submitted to the Chair of the Department of Humanities located in EA 3147. You will be notified by June 15 if you have been accepted to the program and you will have until June 30 to notify the Associate Dean of Arts if you accept the offer to join the Honours Program in History.
Potential Supervisors

Dr. Joe Anderson
Professor Anderson works with students who are interested in many time periods in American and U.S. history as well as numerous areas of historical inquiry (environment, technology, social, agricultural/rural, public history). His publications include studies of post World War II farming in the American Midwest, the American Civil War home front, technology, food production and consumption, and the relationship between universities and the public. Students who work with Professor Anderson will begin their projects in the summer before they enroll in HIST 5110.

Students select their own honours topic, but some possible areas of study include:

• Changes in land use and farming techniques
• Extraction, processing, and consumption of natural resources
• The American Civil War and Reconstruction
• Depictions of race and gender in popular media
• Conceptions of health, nutrition, and diet
• The Cold War and the American home front
• Historic sites, museums, and historic preservation

Dr. Tom Brown
Professor Brown’s major areas of teaching and research are the history of medicine and psychiatry, and the history of sexuality. Students who have an interest in writing an honours thesis in any of the following areas are welcome to come and discuss their proposed projects with Tom (or he can perhaps guide you to a workable topic):

• History of medicine: 19th and 20th centuries: Canada, Britain, or the United States
• History of psychiatry, psychoanalysis, madness, or asylums: 19th and 20th centuries: Canada, Britain, or the United States
• History of sexuality, gay/lesbian/queer history: 19th and 20th centuries: Canada, Britain, or the United States
• History of the Holocaust

Dr. David Clemis
Professor Clemis is a historian of early modern Europe (1500-1800) with particular interests in the social, cultural and political histories of Britain and France. His current research focuses on medical, legal and moralistic perspectives on addiction and intoxication in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. His other areas of scholarly expertise in the history of early modern Britain and France are: the history of cities; the history of crime and morality; political history and theory; history of ideas about the self, the body, and personal identity; and history of emotions (the social, cultural and institutional contexts of the expression of emotions and human behavior).

Examples of subjects students might investigate include:

• The impact of the slave trade on eighteenth-century Bristol
• The insanity defense in eighteenth-century criminal trials
• The drinking culture of the British Army, 1650 to 1783
• The punishment of crime in France, 1760 to 1814
• The idea of ‘childhood’ in the Enlightenment
• ‘The Psychology of the Crowd’ in eighteenth-century London
• The justifications of war in the age of the Enlightenment

Dr. Shawn England
Professor England's past research focused on civil-military affairs in Latin America, particularly Mexico during the tumultuous period between the outbreak of the Revolution in 1910 through the creation of the Institutional Revolutionary Party by the 1940s. Currently he is examining various cultural and political challenges facing indigenous populations of the Americas (including the United States) during the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. He has taught courses on Latin America in both the colonial and national periods, as well as courses about US history. He would be very pleased to help any Honours student interested in writing about various aspects of Latin American or US history, particularly in the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. Here are just a few examples of possible thesis topics:

• US Military Interventions in Latin America
• Anarchist Movements in the Americas
• An Analysis of Indigenous Assimilationist Policies in Modern Nation States of the Americas
• Political Extremism in the United States
• Far Right Politics in Mexico during the Revolutionary Era
• Twentieth Century American Moral Panics and Anti-Vice Crusades

Liam Haggarty
Professor Haggarty's scholarship investigates the history of Indigenous Peoples in western Canada and their relationship with non-Indigenous Peoples and governments. Specifically, his research explores how aspects of Indigenous Societies, such as economics and politics, functioned historically and adapted to the changes that accompanied colonialism. Liam's teaching focuses on Indigenous Studies and colonialism in Canada and other parts of the world, such as Latin America and the South Pacific, as well as Canadian history and the history of western North America. He is interested in supervising honours theses on a wide range of topics related to the Indigenous history of specific communities in Alberta, western Canada, and other select areas in North America. Possible honours topics include:

• Indigenous Land and Resource Use
• Indigenous Self-government
• Indigenous-government Relations
• Government Policy Related to Indigenous People
• Representations of Indigenous People in Popular Media
• Approaches to Decolonisation

Dr. Jarett Henderson
Jarett's research, broadly speaking, focuses on the history of colonialism in Canada and Quebec during the long-nineteenth century (1763-1914). He is particularly interested in how ideas about gender, race, and political engagement were connected to larger imperial events such as the abolition of slavery and convict transportation. Jarett has also conducted research on the role that archives play in shaping what historians are able to know about the past (1867 - 1920) and on the colonization of Western Canada (1867 - 1914). He would be more than willing to supervise honours theses in any of the following thematic fields: political and social reform; gender, family, and sexuality; race, rebellion, and responsible government; Canada, Quebec, and the British Empire; and archives, historical methodologies, and the uses of the past.

Some possible areas of inquiry:

• "Far From a Honeymoon": The 1841 Act of Reunion and the Metaphor of Family
• A History of the Making of the Makers of Canada Series
• Reporting Rebellion in the Colonial Gazette
• Representations of Canada at the 1886 Colonial and Indian Exhibition
• Debating Canadian Colonialism: How the Imperial Parliament Comprehended Canada
• Making Mount Royal French Canadian: Colonial History, Calgary, and the Re-branding of American Hill in the Early 20th Century
• Canada and the Abolition of Slavery
• Compensating the Disloyal and the 1849 Rebellion Losses Bill
• Lady Elgin and the Intimate Politics of Empire
• Louis Riel and French Canada: 1837-38 and 1885
• Company Colonialism: The 1857 Report on the HBC
• Social and Sexual Reform in late-19th Century Western Canada|

If there is a topic that you would like to pursue and you think it fits with the broad interests above but you do not see it on the list, please do not hesitate to contact Jarett.

Dr. Emily Hutchison
Dr. Hutchison specializes in the political culture of late medieval Europe, and in particular, the political interactions and cultural dynamics of the early fifteenth-century French civil war. One dimension of her doctoral and published work has centred on the use of propaganda during the French civil war, including the integration of political thought with broader, more populist rhetorical themes, and the use of non-textual forms of propaganda and communication. The second dimension has centred on factionalism and identity during this same conflict. The monograph she is working on at present examines the wider patterns of factionalism and violence across the French realm among nobles and non-nobles alike, and the political engagement of the Third Estate (the non-nobles). Finally, her more recent work has focused on the cultural norms shaping acts of violence during war, such as honour and shame, reputation, and vengeance. Dr. Hutchison’s teaching expertise ranges from Ancient Greece and Rome to fifteenth century Europe. However, she is primarily interested in supervising Honours theses relating to medieval Europe, and particularly topics connected to the list below:

• War and society
• Medieval communication
• Violence
• Social tensions, rebellions and riots
• Political culture, including political thought and power politics
• Chivalric culture
• Gender and sexuality

Dr. Scott Murray
Professor Scott Murray specializes in the history of modern Europe, with a focus on Britain and Germany in the 19th and 20th centuries. He teaches courses on various topics in modern European political and intellectual history, the Industrial Revolution, representations of the Holocaust, and the Historian’s Craft. His research interests include 19th-century British political, diplomatic, commercial and intellectual history; European liberal nationalism and internationalism; and genocide and Holocaust studies. He is interested in supervising honours theses on appropriate topics in the political, diplomatic and intellectual history of Britain and Europe in the 19th and 20th centuries.

Dr. Carmen Nielson
Carmen Nielson’s areas of specialization are Canadian women’s and gender history, the history of the family and childhood history. She is also willing to supervise honours theses dealing with any aspect of nineteenth century Canadian social history (such as religion, popular culture, and voluntary associationalism). Other areas of interest are women and gender in Colonial America and the development of the Canadian social welfare state.

Dr. Kirk Niergarth
Professor Niergarth's research focuses on the relationship between culture and politics in Canada between 1920 and 1945. Most of his work concentrates on visual culture of the Depression era, but he has also published work on Canadian immigration policy in the early 20th century and on the development of political policing in post-Confederation Canada. He has taught courses focusing on Canada in the Cold War era, Canada in the 1960s, and the history of Canadian workers. He is interested in supervising honours theses on a wide variety of topics in 20th century Canadian history, particularly topics in political, cultural, labour, or intellectual history.

Just a few possible topics:

• Pulp fiction in Maclean's magazine, 1919-1939
• Cultural politics and the politics of culture in Western Canada during the 1930s
• Anti-Semitism in Alberta: 1919-1947
• Calgary and the On-to-Ottawa Trek, 1935
• Canadian Intellectuals and the 1930s: The cases of Northrop Frye, Marshall McLuhan, George Grant, and Harold Innis
• 'Thanks to my wife': Academic wives and cultural production in Depression-era Canada
• Canadian Documentary Film and the Second World War

Dr. Jennifer Pettit
Professor Pettit’s research interests are concerned primarily with Native peoples, with an emphasis on education and government policies for First Nations. Jennifer is particularly interested in the ability of First Nations peoples to respond to attempts by church and state to assimilate Indigenous peoples, either in Canada or in the United States. Dr. Pettit is also the co-director of the Donnelly website, part of the Great Unsolved Mysteries in Canadian History project ( This site encompasses a number of areas, including legal history and the study of violence. Dr. Pettit is interested in supervising honours theses/projects on an array of topics in the following areas: First Nations history—Canada or U.S.; social and/or cultural history; Canadian Studies; digital history; popular culture; and public history (historic sites and museums). Though students are able to choose their own area of study, following is a list of examples of specific topics students might focus on if they were to work with Dr. Pettit:

• Governmental ability to regulate mandatory attendance laws at residential schools
• Portrayal of First Nations peoples at historic sites in Alberta/Calgary
• Numerous aspects of the Donnelly murders in Ontario in the 1800s—legal, gender, role of competing newspapers, etc.
• Canadian vs. American education policies for Indigenous peoples
• History of a specific residential school in Canada—ex: High River or the McDougall Orphanage
• Violence in colonial society
• Public entertainments such as the circus, sideshows or amusement parks
• Popular culture topics such as Canadian television programming or music
• Aspects of daily life at residential school such as diet, gender, abuse
Feel free to contact Jennifer to discuss these or any other areas that might interest you.
Specific Graduation RequirementsAll students must meet the general graduation requirements for the Bachelor of Arts with Honours, as indicated in the Mount Royal University calendar. In addition, History Honours students must meet the specific History course requirements outlined below:

1. Students must take at least four introductory (1000-level) HIST courses,
including one 1000-level course each in Canadian, American and
European History. Students who declare a major in History from Fall
of 2011 onwards, must take HIST 1100 – Introduction to History and at
least three other introductory (1000-level) HIST courses, including one
1000-level course each in Canadian, American and European History.

2. Students must take at least 14 HIST courses at the 2000 level or higher.
In satisfying this requirement, students must also satisfy the following

a. HIST 2202 – The Historian’s Craft
b. HIST 5110 – Honours Project I
c. HIST 5120 – Honours Project II*
d. Minimum six HIST courses at the 4000 level or higher (including HIST
5110 and HIST 5120)

* Students are strongly advised to select a topic for their Honours Project from subject
areas in which they have taken a minimum of four courses, at least one at the 4000

3. Students must take a minimum of 20 HIST courses (not including courses
taken in the fulfillment of the General Education requirements).

4. Students may take a maximum of 24 HIST courses (including electives,
courses taken in the fulfillment of the General Education requirements,
and non-HIST courses** specified as satisfying the requirements of the
History program).

5. Students must achieve a minimum GPA of 3.0 in the last eight History
courses completed in the program.

** The following courses can be used to satisfy HIST course requirements: CNST 1131,
CNST 2233, HUMN 2219, and HUMN 2221.

Students completing the Honours Program who have failed to satisfy all the
requirements for an Honours degree (e.g., minimum GPA of 3.0 in their last
eight History courses) but who have satisfied all requirements for a BA Major
degree shall receive a BA Major degree upon graduation.