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HISTORY 2HI3 Historical Inquiry

Academic Year: Fall 2017

Term: Fall

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Juanita DeBarros


Office: Chester New Hall 602

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24149


Office Hours: tba and by appointment

Course Objectives:

The 20th century Caribbean

Course Description:

In this course, students will learn research techniques by investigating the history of Caribbean migration to North America and Europe in the 20th century. The course will explore the experiences of the Caribbean men and women who travelled to the United States, Great Britain, and Canada in the twentieth century to see what this subject can tell us about popular culture (such as reggae music), religion, politics, and social patterns in all these places. It also focuses on influential individuals whose lives were transformed by migration, such as Marcus Garvey and Bob Marley. It starts with a question: “What was the poltical, social, and cultural impact of Caribbean migration? Students will learn how to develop other, related research questions and explore various secondary and primary sources to answer them, such as photographs and music lyrics. They will also learn how to disseminate the results of their research by developing written and oral presentation skills, including using power point.  Students will also learn digital research skills.

Course Objectives:

  1. Learn how to conduct library and on-line research and use and evaluate primary sources, including music lyrics and visual images. 
  2. Learn how to critically read scholarly articles and evaluate historical debates.
  3. Learn how to pose a good research question and how to write a history essay.
  4. Develop verbal communication skills.

Textbooks, Materials & Fees:

1. Coursepack

2. Lara Putnam, Radical Moves: Caribbean Migrants and the Politics of Race in the Jazz Age. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2013.

Method of Assessment:

COURSE ASSIGNMENTS (details are on-line) (due dates TBA)

Participation (and participation assessments).


Critical Reading: Historiography Essay


Research Skills Assignment: Finding and Evaluating Sources


Visual Sources Assignment


Oral Project Proposal Presentation


Written Project Proposal


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Communication and Privacy Policies:

Email Communication

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from the student's own McMaster University email account.  This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Avenue to Learn

In this course we will be using Avenue to Learn.  Students should be aware that, when they access the electronic components of this course, private information such as first and last names, user names for the McMaster e-mail accounts, and program affiliation may become apparent to all other students in the same course.  The available information is dependent on the technology used.  Continuation in this course will be deemed consent to this disclosure.  If you have any questions or concerns about such disclosure please discuss this with the course instructor.

Class discussions may not be recorded in any electronic format without my written permission.  Lectures are the intellectual property of the instructor.

Submission and Late Policies:

Include your name and student number, the course name/number, and my name on the title page of your assignments.  Submit the assignment in person at the start of class on the day it is due.  Do not leave any written work under my office door as I can not guarantee that I will receive it.  Do not submit written work by email or fax as it will not be accepted.  If you submit your assignments in the History department drop box, you do so at your own risk.  You should keep a photocopy of all your written work;  you must also keep your research notes and rough drafts for your essays as you may be required to hand them in.  Failure to do so may result in a zero for the assignment.  

Assignments not submitted in the class on the day they are due will be considered late and penalized at 5% a day. (Weekends count as one day.)

Participation summaries must be handed in the class in which they are due.  Late summaries will not be accepted.

Please Note the Following Policies and Statements:

Academic Dishonesty

You are expected to exhibit honesty and use ethical behaviour in all aspects of the learning process. Academic credentials you earn are rooted in principles of honesty and academic integrity.

Academic dishonesty is to knowingly act or fail to act in a way that results or could result in unearned academic credit or advantage. This behaviour can result in serious consequences, e.g. the grade of zero on an assignment, loss of credit with a notation on the transcript (notation reads: "Grade of F assigned for academic dishonesty"), and/or suspension or expulsion from the university.

It is your responsibility to understand what constitutes academic dishonesty. For information on the various types of academic dishonesty please refer to the Academic Integrity Policy, located at

The following illustrates only three forms of academic dishonesty:

  1. Plagiarism, e.g. the submission of work that is not one’s own or for which other credit has been obtained.
  2. Improper collaboration in group work.
  3. Copying or using unauthorized aids in tests and examinations.

Email correspondence policy

It is the policy of the Faculty of Humanities that all email communication sent from students to instructors (including TAs), and from students to staff, must originate from each student’s own McMaster University email account. This policy protects confidentiality and confirms the identity of the student.  Instructors will delete emails that do not originate from a McMaster email account.

Modification of course outlines

The University reserves the right to change dates and/or deadlines etc. for any or all courses in the case of an emergency situation or labour disruption or civil unrest/disobedience, etc. If a modification becomes necessary, reasonable notice and communication with the students will be given with an explanation and the opportunity to comment on changes. Any significant changes should be made in consultation with the Department Chair.

McMaster Student Absence Form (MSAF)

In the event of an absence for medical or other reasons, students should review and follow the Academic Regulation in the Undergraduate Calendar Requests for Relief for Missed Academic Term Work. Please note these regulations have changed beginning Fall 2015. You can find information at If you have any questions about the MSAF, please contact your Associate Dean's office.

Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities

Students who require academic accommodation must contact Student Accessibility Services (SAS) to make arrangements with a Program Coordinator. Academic accommodations must be arranged for each term of study. Student Accessibility Services can be contacted by phone 905-525-9140 ext. 28652 or e-mail For further information, consult McMaster University's Policy for Academic Accommodation of Students with Disabilities.

Academic Accommodation for Religious, Indigenous and Spiritual Observances

Students requiring academic accommodation based on religion and spiritual observances should follow the procedures set out in the Course Calendar or by their respective Faculty. In most cases, the student should contact his or her professor or academic advisor as soon as possible to arrange accommodations for classes, assignments, tests and examinations that might be affected by a religious holiday or spiritual observance.

Topics and Readings:

1. Introduction to Course

2. Why the Caribbean and Why Migration?

Read: Putnam, “Introduction,” chapters 1 and 2

3. Themes and Sources for the History of Migration

Read: Putnam, chapters 3, 4, and 5.

4. Historiography and the History of Caribbean Migration

Read: Putnam, chapter 6 and conclusion.

Rush, Anne. “Reshaping British History: The Historiography of West Indians in Britain in the Twentieth Century.” History Compass 5, no. 1 (January 2007): 463-484.

5. Library class. Introduction to library resources.

6.  History on-line. Introduction to digital humanities for history students.

Read:  Sorkin, Andrew Ross. “So, Bill Gates has this Idea for a History Class….” New York Times Magazine, September 5, 2014.

Rosenzweig, Roy. “Can History be Open Source? Wikipedia and the Future of the Past,” in Essays on History and New Media

Campbell, Stephen W. “Improving Wikipedia: Notes from an Informed Sceptic.” Perspectives on History (May, 2014).

William Cronon, “The  Public Practice of History in and for a Digital Age,” Perspectives on History (January, 2012)

Bob Marley's London Life,

7. Primary Sources: The Voices of Migrants?              

Read: Schwartz, Bill. “Introduction: Crossing the Seas.” In West Indian Intellectuals in Britain, edited by Bill Schwartz, 1-30.  Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2003.

BBC History. Windrush Arrivals. Read the narratives of these individuals. What do they tell us?

And read sections from World History Sources

8.  Primary Sources: Photopgraphing the History of Migration

Read: The National Archives. “Patrick Vernon OBE: Reflections on Caribbean through a Lens.”

flickr Caribbean

The Telegraph. “In Pictures: The Windrush Generation.”

9. Primary Sources: Popular Music and Migration 


Hutton, Clinton. “Oh Rudie: Jamaican Popular Culture and the Narrative of Urban Badness in the Making of Postcolonial Society,” Caribbean Quarterly 56, no. 4 (2010): 22-64.

Brodber, Erna. "Black Consciousness and Popular Music in Jamaica in the 1960s and 1970s.” The New West Indian Guide 61, no. 3/4 (1987): 145-160.

Heathcott, Joseph. "Urban Spaces and Working-class Expressions across the Black Atlantic: Tracing the Roots of Ska. Radical History Review, 87 (2003): 183-206.

“Photographs and Audio Materials,” Louise Bennett Coverley, ‘Miss Lou’ Fonds,

“Burning Spears: Marcus Garvey”;

Desmond Dekker and the Aces, “The Israelites,”

Bob Marley, "Exodus,"

10. March 17   Caribbean Migration to Canada

The Fifth Floor (NFB film)

Read: Marano, Carla. “‘Rising Strongly and Rapidly’: The Universal Negro Improvement Association in Canada, 1919-1940.” The Canadian Historical Review 91, no. 2 (June, 2010): 233-259.

Toney, Jared G. "Locating Diaspora: Afro-Caribbean Narratives of Migration and Settlement in Toronto, 1914-1929." Urban History Review/Revue D'histoire Urbaine 38, no. 2 (Spring 2010): 75-87.

Schultz, John. “White Man’s Country: Canada and the West Indian Immigrant, 1900-1965.” American Review Of Canadian Studies 12, no. 1 (Spring 1982): 53-64.

Week 11: Research class. Work on your research projects.

Weeks 12-13: Class Presentations.