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HISTORY 2HI3 Historical Inquiry (C02)

Academic Year: Winter 2019

Term: Spring

Day/Evening: D

Instructor: Dr. Juanita DeBarros


Office: Chester New Hall 602

Phone: 905-525-9140 x 24149


Office Hours: TBA

Course Objectives:

Course Description:

This course aims to teach students how to conduct historical research through investigating the history of the Caribbean in the 20th century, focusing on the topic of migration.  Specifically, the course will explore the experiences of Caribbean migrants 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 music), politics, and social patterns in both the Caribbean and the Caribbean diaspora.  It starts with a question: “What was the impact Caribbean migration?  Students will learn how to develop other, related research questions and explore various primary and secondary sources to answer them.  They will also learn how to disseminate the results of their research by developing written and oral presentation skills.  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 
  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:

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:

Evaluating Assignments:

All written work will be marked on grammar, clarity of writing, and organization, as well as content and analysis. The extent to which you followed the instructions for the individual assignments will also influence the mark you receive.  Written work must follow scholarly writing conventions and must be properly referenced in accordance with standard humanities guides. You must use footnotes.  Details can be found in the most recent version of Kate Turbian’s A Manual for Writers of Term Papers, Theses, and Dissertations.  A condensed version of is available through the McMaster University Library home page.  Assignments must typed or word-processed.

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.  

COURSE ASSIGNMENTS (details are on-line)

Participation (and participation assessments)


Critical Reading: Historiography Assignment

Due: February 6



Research Skills: Finding and Evaluating Sources/Connecting Primary and Secondary Sources

Due: March 6


Visual Sources Assignment

Due: March 20


Oral Project Proposal Presentation

Dates are listed below in the Schedule of Readings and Discussion


Written Project Proposal

Due: April 3


Policy on Missed Work, Extensions, and Late Penalties:

Late Penalties:

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.

Extensions or Accommodations:Extensions or ohter accommodations will be determined by the instructor and will only be considered if supported by appropriate documentation. Absence of less than 5 days may be reported using the MSAF.  Please note that MSAF's will not be accepted after the assignment deadline.  If you are unable to use the MSAF, you should document the absence with your faculty office.  In all cases, it is YOUR responsibility to follow up with the instructor immediately to see if an extension or other accommodation will be granted, and what form it will take. There are NO automatic extensions or accommodations.

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:


January 9     Introduction to the Course

January 16    Caribbean Migration and the Legacy of the Past


Putnam, “Introduction,” chapters 1 and 2.

Any two of the newspaper articles addressing the “Windrush Generation” posted on the course Avenue to Learn site.

One of the following: “African Canadian Workers: From 1960 to Present (please paste the link in your browser)

African Canadian Workers: From 1900 to the Second World War;jsessionid=141C0B8DDEB74CF3C51C52DF86D93067?method=previewAbout&lang=EN&id=18627 (please paste the link in your browser)


Summarize the readings and the on-line sources and be prepared to discuss your results with the class.


January 23     Themes and Sources for the History of Migration


Putnam, chapters 3, 4, and 5.

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.

Discuss: Summarize the main points of the readings.  What evidence do the authors use?  Look through the footnotes and identify 1 primary source and 1 scholarly secondary source (the secondary source must be published after 1980).  Try to locate both sources and skim through them.  What databases and resources did you use to look for these sources?  What can these sources tell us about key themes in the history of migration?  Be prepared to discuss your search efforts and the sources in class.

And: From the readings so far in the course, identify 1 possible research question in the history of Caribbean migration.  Be prepared to discuss the question in class.  How would you research this question?


January 30    Library Class. Conducting Research

Meet in the Wong E-Classroom, Mills 107.

Make sure you have a research question to work on in the library.

To prepare for this class, watch the following: “Introduction to McMaster Libraries and Basic Research Skills”


February 6     Historiography and Reinterpreting the History of Caribbean Migration

Research Skills Assignment is due today

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.

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.

Discuss: What is historiography?  What debates do these historians identify?


Bring the title of 1 key secondary source that you plan to use for your developing project proposal. (The source must be a scholarly source, either a monograph or an article from a peer-reviewed scholarly journal; it must have been published after 1980). Be prepared to discuss the source in class.


February 13    Digital History -  Meet in the Wong E-Classroom, Mills Library

Due: Historiography Assignment


February 20   No Class – Reading Week

February 27    Primary Sources: The Voices of Migrants?                     


Brodber, Erna. “Oral History and the Other Perspective.” Caribbean Quarterly 59, no. 1 (March 2013): 20–30.

Olwig, Karen Fog. “Narratives of the Children Left behind: Home and Identity in Globalised Caribbean Families.” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 25, no. 2 (1999): 267–284.

Chamberlain, Mary. “The Family as Model and Metaphor in Caribbean Migration to Britain,” Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 25, no. 2 (April 1999): 251-266.

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

And one of the following:

Anne Rubenstein, “Newspapers,” in World History Sources

David Trask, “Official Documents,” in World History Sources

Beverly Mack, “Personal Accounts,” in World History Sources

Jerry Bentley, “Travel Narratives,” in World History Sources

Discuss:  What kinds of primary sources did these scholars use?  What are the challenges of using oral sources?  Discuss the section from World History Sources that you worked on.  How can historians use these sources?  What questions should we ask of them and what challenges do they present?

And: Bring in one primary source for your developing project and be prepared to discuss it in class.


March 6   Primary Sources: Visual Sources

Due: Research Skills Assignment


Hall, Stuart. “Reconstruction Work,” in Writing Black Britain 1948-1998: An Interdisciplinary Anthology 1948-98. Edited by James Procter, 83-93. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000.

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

flickr Caribbean

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

Irene Bierman, “Material Culture/Images,” in World History Sources

Daniel Waugh, “Material Culture/Objects,” in World History Sources

Discuss: How can historians use visual images? What are the strengths and limitations of these sources?

Using the websites on the course outline, find a visual image (not a map) that addresses your research question.  Bring a copy of the image to class and be prepared to discuss its relevance for your developing research question.  In preparation for this class, try to answer most of the questions listed on the Avenue to Learn page addressing visual images.


March 13   Primary Sources: Popular Music


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,

And find one song written/performed by a diasporic Caribbean musician after WW2.

Discuss: Identify the arguments in the articles by these authors.  What primary sources did they use?  What are the strengths and challenges of popular music as a historical source?


March 20   Research Projects

Due: Visual Sources Assignment 

Be prepared to discuss the bibliography for your developing research


March 27    Research Workshop

April 3         Presentations

Due: Research Proposals