Explore contemporary historical questions and delve into diverse socio-cultural worlds by browsing through our faculty's most recent research.
The study of Canada is among the foremost areas of expertise of the University of Ottawa’s Department of History. Conducted in both official languages and employing new approaches, the cluster’s activities seek to better understand the historical forces that have shaped modern Canada and that have contributed to the debates that inform Canadian life. The approach seeks to foster citizen engagement and a better understanding of Canada’s historical complexities. The cluster is particularly focussed on the study of l’Amérique française and on indigenous history. Its affiliated researchers work in a variety of areas, including social and cultural history, intellectual history, immigration history, military history, labour history, and the history of international relations.
“Europe” in its geographical and conceptual permutations has long been a central focus of historical scholarship and historiographical trends. The Europe research cluster is bringing new methodologies, questions, perspectives, and approaches to bear on this rich and distinguished tradition. A fundamental re-thinking of European history is occurring, with multiple facets. One stream is linked, for example, to postcolonialism's critique of Eurocentrism and its concomitant reassessment of “Europe's” place in world/global history. Other streams are rethinking “Europe” from its peripheries, and examining European histories through contemporary historiographical lenses such as the body, gender, family, law, archival traditions, identities, state formation, border theory, migration and mobility, environment, regional integration, and globalization.
Gender, Sexuality, and the Body
Professors and graduate students involved in this cluster will benefit from the exchanges between these three, often overlapping, areas of inquiry to explore past societies in different geographies and temporalities. Our specialists use gender not only as a tool of analysis but as an innovative approach to study human relations, behaviors, and identities. The fields of history of sexuality and history of the body have developed their own set of conceptual tools to further our understanding of what it means to be human in historical context. With topics covering areas such as the legal control of procreation, the involvement of women in decolonization movements, women in sports, businesswomen and economic interactions, psychiatric care, human trafficking, and family relations our collective effort is pushing the boundaries of knowledge.
Ideas, Culture, and Society
This research cluster features professors who specialize in intellectual, cultural, and social history, and allows students to take PhD fields in an array of different geographies and temporalities in all of these areas of historical inquiry. The three areas are interlocking in the basic sense that they are about society. Social history developed in response to historical narratives that were purely about the nation state, most centrally political and military history. The “new social history” of the 1960s explored the experiences of ordinary people, their daily lives, working lives, and private lives, often aligned with the political imperatives of labour history and radical politics. As a multidisciplinary endeavour, social history draws from economics, demography, and sociology, among other areas. Cultural history saw its origins in social history, especially its emphasis on the cultural production of ordinary people, in addition to cultural elites. Cultural history has broadened to encompass, in addition to cultural formations, an anthropological sense of the word “culture”, taking up the term to mean a sensibility or collective disposition—the “culture of narcissism”, for example. Cultural history is also a methodology, referring to historical inquiry that is primarily concerned with representations rather than with experiences or reality, or that looks to culture as ‘texts’ to be deciphered, decoded, closely read, or “surface read”. Intellectual history, in turn, is about ideas, both in the rarefied sense of the study of the ideas of professional intellectuals and philosophers and their writings, and in the more diffuse sense of ideas that are present or latent in cultural or political expression broadly construed, or in voices of ordinary people.
Colonialism | Post-Colonialism
Members in this cluster examine questions linked to empire, colonialism, and their legacies. Analogous to empires themselves, our interests cut across conventional temporal and geographic boundaries, reaching from the earliest eras to the contemporary world, and tying together histories of erstwhile metropoles with those of the territories they colonized. Much of our research is thematically driven, telling histories of environmental change and adaptation; identity formation and its contestation; struggles for human and political rights; movements of migration and diaspora; imperial expansion and conquest, decolonization, independence, and the Cold War; slaves’ struggles and workers’ movements; and indigeneity, appropriation, and syncretism. We are ecumenical in approach, drawing on methods from cultural, legal, gender, intellectual, comparative, environmental, political, and social history.
Law and Society
The Law and Society Research Cluster explores law and legal systems to cast light on ideologies, political processes, and cultural interactions in various historical contexts. Faculty and graduate students working in this cluster consider empirically and theoretically the social significance, traditions, processes and historical changes in law, legal institutions, legal culture and jurisprudence. This cluster recognizes law as a malleable language invoked by historical actors from the Middle Ages to the present. Legal historians analyze the ways individuals, organizations, communities, and states used and experienced the law. They study how people and societies engage the law to regulate, mediate, control, and contest. Researchers in the cluster also consider legal pluralisms and legal incompatibilities that emerged with the entanglement of systems of law.
War and Society
The History Department is rich in expertise in the broad-based field of War and Society, which is intended to examine the impact of war on nations, regions, communities, families, and individuals. Covering Europe, North America, Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa, our professors teach, supervise theses, research, and publish in wide-ranging and diverse approaches to the field. Mainly, though not exclusively, focussed on the last three centuries of conflict studies, our professors explore war and its consequences in shaping global history through the lenses of ethnicity, class, gender, religion, economics, politics, diplomacy, colonialism, nationalism, technology, biography, culture, memory, identity, and genocide.
Theses and Memoirs
The Department of History has its own archives where theses and memoirs of our graduate students are stored.
The following list will show you the diversity of the research subject that is been done by the Department of History graduates. The present list is made available to you only as a reference tool. If you wish to consult a thesis (MA and PhD), please contact the Morisset Library, Special Collection.
The MA memoirs can be consulted on the spot only and strictly for research purposes. Please make an appointment with the academic assistant graduate programs.
N.B. The following lists represent the collection of theses and memoirs of our graduates that you can find at the Department of History. Unfortunately, they are incomplete and do not reflect the total of our graduates over the years. We apologize to our graduates who do not have their research project listed below.