Courses focused on Indigenous Nations & Space

See the list below for courses that focus on Indigenous Nations, Indigenous issues, and Indigenous space(s) across Turtle Island…

(F= Fall-term 2021; S=Winter-term 2022)

York Theatre Mural by Ariel Martz-Oberlander, Vancouver.
Photo: Ted McGrath, 2021, Flickr:

HIS193H1-F – Calls to Action: The TRC and Residential Schools in Canadian History (H. Bohaker)

Using the formal report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a central text, this course explores that history and the ongoing legacy of residential schools in Canada while introducing first year students to historical research methods and sources. Restricted to first-year students. 

SMC194H1-F – Christianity, Truth and Reconciliation (R. Locklin)

This First-Year Foundations seminar critically explores the complex relations of Christianity and Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, with a special focus on education. Sample topics include: settler colonialism and treaty relationships; prominent Indigenous Christians, critics and reformers; the residential school system; the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada; recent initiatives in ecclesial repentance, dialogue and enculturation. The course will include online primary research in the archives of residential schools in Ontario. 

POL195H1-F – First-Year Foundation Seminar: Settler Colonialism and Enduring Indigeneity (U. Maile)

What is settler colonialism and how does Indigeneity endure it? This course explores the many, diverse ways that Indigenous peoples resist settler colonization and persist beyond it. We will examine Indigenous activisms, legal orders, political philosophies, and cultural productions that demonstrate settler colonialism is indeed a failing project.

CDN197H1-F – Inventing Canada

This course explores the ways that Canadian history and identity have been commemorated, interpreted and experienced, now and in the past. The course focuses in particular on who has been included or excluded in commemorative efforts over time. Key topics include representations of women, Indigenous peoples, and political figures on screen and through public installations like museum exhibits, plaques and statues. Restricted to first-year students. 

CDN198H1-S – Canada, Colonialism, and Settler Relations

A First Year Foundations seminar focused on exploring Canada’s colonial history and recent efforts to enact appropriate settler relations through an interdisciplinary lens. Topics will include contemporary land claims and treaty-making processes, the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, governmental apologies for the mistreatment of Indigenous peoples, the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, land acknowledgements, practices of allyship through social movement such as Idle No More, and efforts to influence Canada’s overseas mining practices. Restricted to first-year students. Not eligible for CR/NCR option.

WDW199H1-F – Indigenous Knowledge and Storytelling in Toronto (J. Johnson)

The land now known as Toronto has a 13,000+ year old history of Indigenous presence that is still unfolding. This history is inscribed in the land – it is visible in the geographical features, place names, and contemporary urban form of the city and is represented through stories (oral and written) told by diverse members of Toronto’s Indigenous community. This course engages with stories of Indigenous history and presence in Toronto through a selection of Indigenous literary works about Toronto, Indigenous guest speakers, and a series of experiential Indigenous storytelling tours of significant locations across the city. Restricted to first-year students.

INS200H1-F – Introduction to Indigenous Truth and Resilience

This course is an interdisciplinary introduction to the historical and contemporary experiences of Indigenous peoples in Canada, with an emphasis on local lands and peoples. The course will explore Indigenous resilience, relationships with settlers and settler states, and principles and ethics of Indigenous Knowledge. Tutorials will focus on critical discussion and experiential learning.

JPI201H1-S – Indigenous Politics in Canada

This course explores key issues in Indigenous politics in Canada. Provides students with an overview of historical and contemporary socio-political issues in Indigenous societies and institutions such as Indigenous self-governance, land claims and treaty negotiations.

GGR240H1-F – Geographies of Colonialism in North America (M. Farish)

This course considers the creation and consolidation of settler colonies in the region known to many as North America. With an eye to the colonial present, the course focuses on the period from the 15th century to the early 20th century. Cultural texts and place-specific cases are used to ground themes and processes that also bear on the wider field of historical geography, including narratives of discovery and possession; ecological imperialism and environmental transformation; the (re)settlement of land and colonial government; enslavement and industrialization; frontiers, borders, and resource extraction; and some of the Indigenous geographies that preceded, were transformed by and transformed, and exceeded the reach of colonial power.

INS240Y1-Y – Ecological Interactions: Intro to Indigenous and Western Sciences

Introduction to methodologies and applications of Indigenous and Western sciences, with an emphasis on environmental change, animal behaviour, evolution, sustainable practices, and implications of intrinsic ecological connections. Exploratory labs, often outdoors, develop literacy and skills in each paradigm as well as critical thought, creative reflection, and synthesis of knowledge.

INS250H1-F – Indigenous Environmental Science and Practice

This course is a study of the ecological and scientific teachings of Indigenous peoples. The course provides an overview of Indigenous peoples’ relationships with the natural world in historical and contemporary environmental issues and their implications for Indigenous Peoples and others.

FAH255H1-F – Art of Indigenous North America (M Migwans)

A broad survey of Indigenous arts in North America from Mexico to the Arctic, and from ancient to modern. Students will gain a basic literacy in key artforms including painting, architecture, basketry and more, grounded in an awareness of Indigenous realities and historical currents.

INS261H1-F – Contemporary Challenges Facing Indigenous Communities

This is a survey course focusing on the contemporary challenges faced by Indigenous peoples in Canada. In this course students research specific challenges facing Indigenous communities today. This includes specific challenges that arise out of the broader topic areas of language and culture, land rights, economics, governance, youth, education, health, social services, environment, violence, healing, community development, repatriation of cultural property, and decolonization.

HIS262H1-F – Canada: A Short History of Here (H. Bohaker)

Designed for non-history students, this introductory survey fulfills the Society and Its Institutions breadth requirement.  It is open to all who want to know more about Canada.  Topics will include First Nations/newcomer relations (including treaties and the Truth & Reconciliation report), French/English relations (including Quebec separatism), regionalism, the North, economic history, constitutional developments, and the development of Canadian identity, including common symbols associated with Canada. 

HIS314H1-S – Language, Empire, and Encounter in Francophone Canada (S. Mills)

This course will explore the history of Francophone Canada from the late 19th century until today. In addition to looking at more traditional themes focused on nationalism and constitutional politics, we will also look at the history of encounter between groups of different backgrounds and origins. As such, we will place a large emphasis on colonialism and Indigenous history, and the politics of language, race, and immigration.

ANT317H1-S – Archaeology of Eastern North America (K. Patton)

This course examines the precontact and early contact period culture history of eastern North America, including Ontario, through archaeological evidence. Topics covered include the earliest peopling of the region at the end of the Ice Age, diversity of hunter-gatherer societies, introduction of agriculture, and the development of the dynamic First Nations societies who eventually met and interacted with Europeans.

JIG322H1-S – Indigenous Worlds, Worldviews and the Environment (H. Dorries)

Explores the diverse ways of understanding and responding to the world that emerge from indigenous cultures around the world. Examines how indigenous ways of being and relating to their natural environment can help us understand and address the current environmental crisis. Using examples of indigenous activism from Canada and around the world, examines how colonial histories shape dispossession and marginalization and inform visions for the future. Topics include traditional ecological knowledge, place-based social movements, environmental concerns of indigenous peoples, bio-cultural restoration and decolonization of nature-human relations.

GGR339H1-S – Urban Geography, Planning and Political Processes (J. Spicer)

Investigates North American urban political geography, exploring conflicts over immigration, environment, gentrification, homelessness, labour market restructuring, ‘race’ and racism, urban sprawl, nature and environment, gender, sexuality, security, and segregation. Explores competing visions of city life and claims on urban space. The course investigates how these struggles connect to economic, social and environmental politics at larger spatial scales, and considers different theoretical frameworks that geographers have developed to make sense of both the persistence of old problems and the emergence of new ones. Potential field trip, cost: $20.

EDS358H1-S – Residential Schools and Education in Canada (J. Hamilton-Diabo)

An exploration of Residential Schools in Canada and their impacts on education and lives of First Nations, Métis and Inuit peoples. This course investigates the historical educational ideology of residential schools and their relationship to colonization, the role of government and organized religion in the residential school system, and contemporary strategies that encourage stable and trusting relationships with Indigenous communities. This course will also explore aspects of the Final Report of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Calls to Action.

HIS366H1-S – Indigenous Histories of the Great Lakes from 1815 to the Present (TBD)

Explores the history of Aboriginal peoples (Indigenous and Metis) living in the Great Lakes Region after the Great Lakes were effectively split between British North America (later Canada) to the north and the united States to the south, when a rapidly increasing newcomer population on both sides of the border marginalized Indigenous peoples and settled on their land. 

HIS369H1-F – Indigenous Histories of the Great Lakes, to 1830 (TBD)

Explores the history of Aboriginal peoples (Indigenous and Metis) living in the Great Lakes Region from the 16th century to the aftermath of the war of 1812. Weaving together interdisciplinary sources, this course examines central events in Great Lakes history including the formation of the Wendat and Haudenosaunee Confederacies and key Anishinaabek alliances, the arrival of European newcomers into an Indigenous landscape, the social-political impact of new diseases, reactions to European missionaries, the fur trade, major conflicts and peace processes including the Great Peace of Montreal, the Treaty of Niagara and the 60 Years War for the Great Lakes; and ending with the period of significant encroachment of new settlers on Indigenous lands.

SDS385H1-S – Queer Indigenous Politics and Cultures

This upper level course introduces students to questions of gender, sexuality, two-spirit, and same-sex desire at the intersections of race, indigeneity, and the violences of settler colonialism. Students will engage with work by scholars, activists, and artists in the fields of indigenous and queer studies, decolonizing activism, and cultural production.

CDN385H1-F – Re-Imagining Canada: Creative Visions of Our Past, Present, and Futures (S. O’Flynn)

Artists and writers are re-imagining Canada, exploring alternate pasts, presents, and futures, often critiquing systemic inequities by positing “what ifs” of resistance and renewal, while reclaiming agency, voice, and power for those who are disadvantaged in society. This course will examine these re-imaginings across various media such as fiction, poetry, graphic novels, films, multimedia installations, performance art, paintings, virtual reality works, and video games. Examples will be drawn from a wide variety of genres such as speculative fiction, Afrofuturism, Indigenous arctic horror, trans, queer, Indigenous and Indigiqueer perspectives.

WGS390H1-S – Land-ing: Indigenous and Black Futurist Spaces (TBD)

Students are invited to think through the relationships between Indigenous and Afro-futurist concepts of land. This class will engage Indigenous feminist and Black queer and feminist theories of land and space, linking them to Afrofuturist and Indigenous futurist thought. We explore various texts in relation to emergent methodologies, decolonial desires, and love and radical relationalities.

INS403H1-F – Indigenous Peoples and the Urban Context (TBD)

Critically examines Indigenous peoples’ experiences, encounters and interactions in urban areas in Canada. This course explores the historical and contemporary conditions of Indigenous peoples, including urban governance and the development of Indigenous organizations. This course will focus on youth perspectives and how traditions, cultures and knowledges are expressed in urban settings.

FAH452H1-F – Contemporary Indigenous Art in Canada and the United States (M. Migwans)

This course focuses on Indigenous artists working both within and outside of contemporary art spaces in Canada and the United States, through a study of key exhibitions and movements in the Indigenous arts community from 1984 to the present. From the Columbus Quincentennial in 1992 and its echoes in the “Canada 150” celebrations, to artists working from the front lines of land protection movements, we will explore ideas of nationalism, inclusion, intervention, and ‘decolonization’ of the gallery.

This project is supported by the Learning & Education Advancement Fund at the University of Toronto

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