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History Honours Student Program

The History Honours program gives students the opportunity to complete a research project with guidance from History faculty. Students will present their work at the annual History Honours Conference which is held in May of each year. 

Students who are interested in completing a History Honours can contact the History Department Coordinator, Nicole.Kungle@ufv.ca for more info or visit the UFV Academic Calendar program page for the History Honours

Note: HIST 400 and HIST 440 may not be offered in the same academic year. 


Past History Honours Student Research Projects

"The Impact of Racial Ideology and Internal Rivalry on Recruitment for the Waffen SS: The Latvian Legion" by Steven Prosser

This essay explores the position of Latvia in WWII, specifically examining the nation’s role in the Nazi Waffen SS. Under the command of Heinrich Himmler, the Waffen SS was to play an instrumental role in establishing a society based on horrendous racial ideologies. Roughly 900,000 soldiers fought as members of the SS, however nearly half of these soldiers came from other nations. People of Germanic and Nordic backgrounds, along with various western Europe nations were considered suitable for recruitment to the SS. However, many nations, in particular those in eastern Europe, were disputed among members of the Nazi regime as to where they fit in their constructed racial hierarchy and whether they could be accepted into Germany’s elite military units. Latvians were considered by many of the Nazi regimes top ranked officials, including Hitler himself, as being inferior. As a result, several opposed to the notion of forming a Latvian Legion. Yet the small nation of roughly 2 million people ended up producing one of the largest foreign divisions of the Waffen SS. This essay explores how the Latvian Legion developed under these circumstances.

"The American Superiority Complex: The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb" by Abigail Taggart

The end of the Second World War was marked by the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. However, these bombings symbolized a new beginning as well. Tensions between the Soviet Union and the United States of America would rise to
an all-time high just a few decades later, the effects of which are still being felt today. While the official reasoning for the use of atomic weaponry remains focused on the projected casualties of an Allied invasion of Japan, revisionist historians and declassified intelligence documents reveal a far more subtle reasoning. The U.S. government sought to intimidate the Soviet Union and prevent dividing Japan, as they had in Germany, and the constant dehumanization of the Japanese in the American perspective and propaganda, most evident in the characterization of the kamikaze pilots, allowed Japan to be the target of atomic weapons. As such, it was the desire for,
and internal perception of, the United States to be a racially, intellectually, and technologically superior nation to those that may oppose her that drove the decision to drop the atomic bomb.

"(Re)Indigenizing the Creator's Game: Settler Colonialism and Lacrosse's Journey from Eastern Lands to Stó꞉lō Hands" by Carlanna Thompson

This project not only highlights that the version of lacrosse played by Indigenous peoples in the BC was a colonized version of what was originally the Haudenosaunee variation of the game in Northeastern North America, but also that this colonizer’s import was subsequently incorporated and co-opted by Stó:lō communities for their own purposes. In the process, it provided a vehicle for cross-community communication and relationship building, for fostering of pan-Indigenous identities, and for supporting pride in their own identity and proficiency. The effect was thus a ‘re-Indigenization’ of the sport of lacrosse in the Fraser Valley in the late 19th and early
20th centuries.

"Female University Students and the Act of Protest: The Cases of SFU and UBC from the 1960s -1970s" by Katelyn Fisher

This paper offers a case study of women's activist voices in student newspapers over the course of the 1960s and 1970s - notably through Simon Fraser University's Peak and the University of British Columbia's Ubyssey. It demonstrates how women challenged gender norms on university campuses and engaged in "New Left" activism in relation to local and global political issues.

"Reactions to Public Health Mandates in the Influenza of 1918-1919" by Olivia Giesbrecht-Coombs

Like the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Influenza pandemic of 1918-1919 was controlled through public health mandates that aimed to stop the spread of disease. These included mask mandates, quarantines, and the closure of public spaces. In the United States, most of these efforts were carried out at the local and municipal levels, meaning that there were great variations in the response to the pandemic from one part of the country to another. This paper analyzes these regional differences and examines the public response to different health measures. It highlights the effect that World War I and major transformations in medical practice played in shaping the public response. This research is significant in the contemporary context as it helps to show the connections between how pandemic mandates are enacted and what the reactions are that can be expected.

"Canadian Labour: Transnational and Global Influences" by Richard Delamar

Throughout the West, economic disparities between the rich and poor have been growing exponentially. As we learn how previous generations—through grit, communication, philosophy, strike action, and sheer determination—were once capable of proletarian mobilization on an enormous scale, that left lasting humanitarian legacies in the laws of our governmental systems. More- and sometimes less-radical incarnations of democratic socialism have often managed to rein in the excesses of industrial capital and economically liberal governments, from the advent of the industrial revolution to today’s global digital economies. However, over the second half of the 20th century, sections of the working class, in Canada and across the West, have become oppositional to the wider unionist message. As demographics shifted to include increasing numbers of immigrant and Indigenous populations, women, and new sexual identities, Labourism became outmoded. In the days when the Church and nuclear family reigned, Labour engaged in deliberate policies of sexual and racial exclusion. In the meantime, neo-Liberal governments and big-brand capitalism have been quick to position themselves to sell feel-good identity to the masses, not to mention the greater good done for developing economies and global poverty levels, and in this they have been successful in pacifying economic socialism. Today, Labour is beginning to see a bit of a renaissance of sorts, as the 2020 Covid pandemic has made the internal workings of government and capital more obvious and transparent. If this still seems lacking in Canada, one only has to look to Britain, the US, and globally, to see what is working and what is not, and expect to see a slightly more respectable version of this outwardly willing collaborative attitude—from a working class that now includes many creeds, nations, and genders, and from a sheepish global capitalist economy still trying their hardest to quash unionist activities for as long as legally possible.

"The 2011 Stanley Cup Riot: Hockey Culture, Hegemonic Masculinity, and Violence" by Michaela Sapielak

The focus of this research is the 2011 Vancouver Canucks hockey fan riot, and its place in the history of hockey spectator violence. There will be a summary of the riot following the Vancouver Canucks’ loss at the 2011 Stanley Cup Final, which saw mass vandalism and chaos in the downtown area. This riot will be placed in the context of similar riots, such as the 1994 Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot, as well as the Richard Riot of 1955. To follow will be an exploration of the extent to which the 2011 riot was a result of historical trends in sports spectatorship, or a product of other factors.

"The Heritage of Colonialism: Racism and Colonialism in Abbotsford Public History" by Gina Wiebe

This project will be examining the history of racism in Abbotsford through the lens of public history. In exploring how institutions like the Reach and Heritage Abbotsford have shaped local history in the valley, I want to look critically at how systemic racism may have shaped these narratives. Through my practicum at Heritage Abbotsford, and my local history project in History 440, I noticed that many of the prevalent stories were focused on white settlers while Indigenous and non-European stories were rarely mentioned, if at all. With this project, I want to examine the ways in which public history in Abbotsford has contributed to or pushed back against these racist and colonialist narratives.

"A Comparative Analysis of Pedagogical Strategies Used at St. Mary’s Residential School and Coqualeetza Industrial Institute, 1921-1940" by Sherlynn Den Boer

In my research I propose comparing and contrasting the pedagogies used by the teachers in the Methodist-run Coqualeetza Industrial Institute and Roman Catholic St. Mary’s Indian Residential School from 1921 (the year mandatory attendance was enforced by the Canadian government) through to 1940 (the year Coqualeetza school closed). I recognize that both schools were committed to promoting the assimilation of Indigenous children into settler Canadian society, but I am interested in exploring whether the curricular resources, the pedagogical strategies, and the learning environments they used, differed. My source material will be archival. I will review annual reports from the schools (where the principals described curricular and pedagogical activities), as well as resources such as school year books. I will search to see if I can locate copies of the text books that were assigned to students, as well as newspaper reports and testimonials by teachers and if possible students. I recognize that these sources were created by school officials and authorities and so I will use a methodology of reading against the grain to better able me to detect biases and to filter for prejudice as well as intentional omissions. I will additionally examine any extant oral histories of these schools from this era that have been previously recorded and that are available to researchers

"Jansenism in Early Modern France" by Justin Chevrier

The subject of this directed study is Jansenism in Early Modern France. Jansenism was a movement within the Catholic Church which emphasized theological positions similar to Protestant beliefs on issues such as human depravity and predestination. The research for this honours project will be presented through the lens of the Arnauld family as prominent examples of Jansenist thought and representative of the conflict between Jansenism and the Jesuits. The topics examined in this study include the origins of the movement, prominent Jansenists, conflicts within the Catholic Church, the popular reception of Jansenism as well as the legacy of the movement.





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