Trent University, Thornton Road Campus, Fall 2018.

Professor Robert Wright

Office: Thornton 167   Email:   Tel: 905 435 5102 x 5046

Room TBA

Office Hours: Mondays, noon - 2 p.m., or by appointment.

Department of History
1600 West Bank Drive, LEC, Peterborough, ON K9J 7B8
(705) 748-1011,

Secretary: Joan Sirtonski 905-435-5102 x 5057


This version of the syllabus was posted on 9 February 2018. Subject to revision.

History 3061H/4061H examines the first Trudeau era and its enduring legacy vis-à-vis Canadian politics, culture and society.  As Justice Minister (1965-8) and especially as Prime Minister (1968-84), Pierre Trudeau presided over the transformation of Canadian political life, establishing bilingualism and multiculturalism on a national footing, enlarging the welfare state, institutionalizing the principle of equalization and, above all, patriating the Canadian constitution and its accompanying Charter of Rights and Freedoms.  Always a strong-willed and divisive public figure, Pierre Trudeau inspired many of his compatriots with his bold vision for Canada; yet he also spawned enduring critiques from Québec nationalists, alienated Westerners, business people and others.  It is only a slight exaggeration to suggest that, even now, we live in - and contest - the Canada that Pierre Trudeau built.

Course Format

History 3061H/4061H will meet as a seminar between 9 a.m. and noon on Mondays in the fall 2018 term.

Each student will be expected to make one seminar presentation, to a maximum of 20 minutes' duration, in which s/he will assess critically the week's designated readings.  These presentations will serve as a springboard for a general discussion with all members of the seminar.  Click here for Wright's tips on seminar preparation.  Non-presenting students will be expected to read and reflect on assigned readings and to come to class prepared to discuss them critically.  Students' participation grades will be based on the quality of their contributions, not the quantity.  Participation grading will be consistent with Trent University standards for academic integrity, professionalism and accountability.  Insofar as seminar participation represents a significant proportion of students' overall grade in the course, the importance of thorough preparation and regular attendance should be underscored.

Learning Outcomes

As a cross-listed third- and fourth-year seminar course, History 3061H/4061H provides students with the opportunity to explore the Trudeau era in depth, both through class discussion of scholarship in the field and through advanced independent research.  Students should be able to use their advanced knowledge of the field and skills in critical thinking, historical writing, historical approaches and methodologies to conduct research using primary and secondary sources, produce an original analytical argument based on the evidence, and situate it in the appropriate historiographical and theoretical contexts.  Students should be able to communicate their arguments to the instructor and their peers with clarity, accuracy, and logic through major research papers and class presentations.  Upon completing the course successfully, students should understand the conventions of historical writing, the rules of academic integrity and professionalism, the importance of personal initiative and accountability, and the evolving nature of historical knowledge.  They should also be able to evaluate historical writing effectively through examinations of sources, arguments, and methodologies.

Course Evaluation

0%    Review prospectus

15%   Book review

10%   Research prospectus

45%  Research paper

20%  Seminar participation

10%   Seminar presentation


Selected chapters of the following books will be required reading in History 3061H/4061H.  Note: books listed as required readings are not required purchases.  Copies of all required readings not available online will be placed on reserve at the Trent Durham Library, so if you lack either the resources or the inclination to purchase these books, there will be other ways of keeping up with your readings.

Axworthy, Thomas S. & Pierre Elliott Trudeau.  Towards A Just Society: The Trudeau Years.  Toronto: Penguin Canada, 1992. ISBN 978-0140298673.  Buy a used copy.

Laforest, Guy.  Trudeau and the End of a Canadian Dream.  Montreal: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1995.  ISBN 9780773513006.  Available from the Trent Library as an Ebrary eBook.

Wright, Robert.  Trudeaumania: The Rise to Power of Pierre Elliott Trudeau.  Toronto: HarperCollins, 2016.  ISBN: 1443445002.  Buy it new.

All other required readings in this course take the form of scholarly articles, which can be accessed online. 

Book Review

The first written assignment will be a critical book review.  The total number of book pages under review should be approximately 300.

Note: a book review is not a book report.  The purpose of a review is not merely to describe the contents of books in narrative form but to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of books, to estimate their contribution(s) to knowledge, to assess their relationship to the scholarly field in question, and to provide an opinion to their prospective readers of their general worth.  Click here for Wright's tips on writing book reviews.

A review prospectus will be required, containing a full bibliographic citation for the book you plan to review.  This book must deal with an aspect of Canadian history in the Trudeau era.  Books listed as required readings for this course are ineligible for review.  The review prospectus will not be graded but it must be submitted in advance of your review.

Both the review prospectus and the review should be submitted via email.  Click here for instructions on formatting and emailing assignments.

Fourth-year students will be held to a higher standard of writing and analysis than third-year students.

Length: 600 words for History 3061H; 750 words for History 4061H.

Due dates: review prospectus ______ 2018; review _______ 2018.

Research Paper

The research paper has been conceived with two primary objectives in mind.  The first is to acquaint students more closely than has been the case thus far with the scholarly literature in an area of historical study which is of special interest to the student.  The second is to acquaint students with some of the processes by which historians conduct original research.
Students may select topics of their own choice, with the proviso that each student must submit a prospectus in advance of her/his essay, in which s/he must specify the nature and scope of her/his topic, as well as the resources s/he plans to use.  A thorough prospectus will include a short synopsis of a student's aims, as well as a bibliography of sources.   Third-year students must utilize a minimum of nine scholarly sources; fourth-year students must utilize a minimum of twelve scholarly sources.
The purpose of the prospectus is two-fold: it will allow the instructor to consider the proposal of the student and to make specific recommendations about sources and approaches that might be used (thus creating between student and instructor a "customized" topic); and it will provide a medium by which the student and the instructor can maintain close contact about the progress of the research.
The prospectus will be graded and must, therefore, be submitted in advance of the research paper.  The paper must conform to the topic as selected by the student and as "customized" by the student and the instructor.  If it does not, the student will receive a grade of zero on both the prospectus and the paper. 
Both the research prospectus and the research paper should be submitted via email.  Click here for instructions on formatting and emailing assignments. Click here for some tips on writing essays.

Fourth-year students will be held to a higher standard of writing and analysis than third-year students.
Length: 3000 words for History 3061H; 3500 words for History 4061H.
Due dates: review prospectus ______ 2018; review _______ 2018.

Final Examination
There will be no examinations in this course.

Late Policy
There will be no penalties for late submissions, but students will not be granted extensions beyond ____ without official (e.g. medical) documentation.

Academic Integrity

Academic dishonesty, which includes plagiarism and cheating, is an extremely serious academic offence and carries penalties varying from a 0 grade on an assignment to expulsion from the University.  Definitions, penalties, and procedures for dealing with plagiarism and cheating are set out in Trent University’s Academic Integrity Policy.  You have a responsibility to educate yourself – unfamiliarity with the policy is not an excuse.  You are strongly encouraged to visit Trent’s Academic Integrity website to learn more.

For Wright's policy on plagiarism, click here.

Access to Instruction

It is Trent University's intent to create an inclusive learning environment.  If a Trent Oshawa student has a disability and/or health consideration and feels that he/she may need accommodations to succeed in this course, s/he should visit the Student Accessibility Services at Room 111 or call (905) 435-5102, extension 5024. 

Dropping Courses

Please see the Trent University Academic Calendar for University Diary dates, Academic Information and Regulations, and University and departmental degree requirements.



Week 1
Seminar: Introduction to the course.
Required readings: None.
Student responsibilities before the class:

1.  If you have not already done so, email me with your preferred email address.  Place your name and course number in the subject field exactly like this:

Jones, Stephen  HIST 4061

2.  Short-list at least three seminars you would be willing to present.  Do not email me with your selections.  We will assign each student one presentation in class.

Week 2
Seminar: Trudeaumania.
Required readings: Robert Wright, Trudeaumania: The Rise to Power of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Prologue, ch. 1, 9, 10.  Click here to view a clip of Trudeau in action in 1968.

Week 3
Book review prospectus due via email.  Click here for instructions on formatting and emailing assignments.
Seminar: Towards a Just Society.
Required readings: Thomas S. Axworthy & Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Towards A Just Society: The Trudeau Years, Parts 3, 4 and 7.

Week 4
Seminar: Québec.
Required readings: Thomas S. Axworthy & Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Towards A Just Society: The Trudeau Years, Parts 5, 6 and Postscript; Kenneth McRoberts, “English Canada and Quebec: Avoiding the Issue” (Sixth Annual Robarts Lecture, 5 March 1991); and Mel Watkins, "Quiet Revolutions: When English Canada Gets Peeved at Quebec, It Forgets the Whole Premise of Multiculturalism" This Magazine 29:6-7 (March-April 1996).

Week 5
Seminar: The October Crisis.
Required readings: Pierre Elliott Trudeau, “Notes for a National Broadcast by the Prime Minister” (Friday, October 16, 1970); Lee E. Dutter, "Why Don’t Dogs Bark (or Bomb) in the Night?  Explaining the Non-Development of Political Violence or Terrorism: The Case of Quebec Separatism" Studies in Conflict & Terrorism 35 (2012), 59–75; H. D. Munroe, "The October Crisis Revisited: Counterterrorism as Strategic Choice, Political Result, and Organizational Practice" Terrorism and Political Violence 21:2 (2009), 288-305; and Mark Bonokoski, "Pierre Trudeau: 'Just watch me': Once upon a time, terrorism wasn’t so complicated" Post Media (4 February 2017).

Week 6
Book review due via email.  Click here for instructions on formatting and emailing assignments.
Seminar: The Bedroom and the State.
Required readings: Stuart Chambers, “Pierre Elliott Trudeau and Bill C-150: A Rational Approach to Homosexual Acts, 1968-69” Journal of Homosexuality 57:2 (December 2009), pp. 249–266; and Robert C. Vipond, "Citizenship and the Charter of Rights: The Two Sides of Pierre Trudeau" International Journal of Canadian Studies 14 (Fall 1996), pp. 179-92.

Week 7
Seminar: Citizen of the World.
Required readings: Foreign Policy for Canadians (Ottawa : Department of External Affairs, 1970), Book One; J.L. Granatstein and Robert Bothwell, "Pierre Trudeau on His Foreign Policy: A conversation in 1988"  International Journal 66:1 (Winter 2010-11), 171-181; and Brett Thompson, “Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Peace Initiative 25 Years On” International Journal (Autumn 2009), pp. 1117-1137.

Week 8
Research prospectus due via email.  Click here for instructions on formatting and emailing assignments.
Seminar: Repatriation.
Required viewing: Robert Duncan, Director, The Road to Patriation (NFB, 1982).
Required reading: Alan C. Cairns, "Why Is It So Difficult to Talk to Each Other?" McGill Law Journal 42 (1997), pp. 63-90.

Week 9
Seminar: The End of a Canadian Dream.
Required readings: Guy Laforest, Trudeau and the End of a Canadian Dream, ch. 1, 5, 8, Conclusion.

Week 10
Research paper due via email.  Click here for instructions on formatting and emailing assignments.  Click here for some tips on essay preparation.
Seminar: The Trudeau Legacy.
Required readings:  Chantal Hébert, “10 Years On, Who Will Save Trudeau's Legacy?” Toronto Star (29 September 2010); David Frum, “The disastrous Legacy of Pierre Elliott Trudeau” National Post (24 March 2011); and Robert Wright, Trudeaumania: The Rise to Power of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Epilogue.

___ December, 2018, 11:59 p.m. 
Departmental deadline.
This is the absolute deadline for submission of course work.  If you need an extension beyond that date, you will require medical or other official documentation.  Click here for instructions on formatting and emailing assignments.