Winter 2024 Courses

Dramatic Moments in American History

Bruce DanielsInstructor: Dr. Bruce Daniels

American history began amidst two-centuries of bedlam and internal animosities. Thanks to the mis-management of British politicians, a bunch of squabbling colonies found enough cohesion to fight a revolution and create a country in the late 18th century. As that country has grown from a fragile republic to the colossus of the present, it has struggled every step of the way with the regional, racial, and social divisions that bedeviled its founding.

We will examine those divisions in the below lectures and discussions.


  • Founding Colonies/Invading a Continent
  • England Explodes: The Fragments Land in America


  • 1776
  • The Revolution No One Wanted


  • Enlightenment and Darkness
  • Creating a Constitution and Political Parties


  • Stain on History
  • Slavery, Racism, and the Failure of Democracy


  • Dispossessing a People
  • The Never-Ending War on the Indigenous Nations


  • Bravo and Cuckoo
  • Elections that Made and Unmade America: 1800, 1828, 1860, 1912, and 2016


Class Schedule: Location:
Wednesday, January 10, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, January 17, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, January 24, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, January 31, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 7, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, February 14, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.


Dr. Bruce Daniels

Bruce Daniels is a graduate of Syracuse University (A.B.) and the University of Connecticut (M.A., Ph.D.). He served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Bihar, India where he worked as an agricultural extension agent. For 31 years, Daniels taught at the University of Winnipeg where he received the Clifford Robson Award for Excellence in Teaching and the first annual Rogers Award for Excellence in Research. Daniels is the author of over two hundred scholarly articles and reviews, and ten books, including: Connecticut’s First Family (1975); Local Government in the American Colonies (1978); The Connecticut Town (1979); Dissent and Conformity on Narragansett Bay

(1983); Office-holding in the American Colonies (1986); The Fragmentation of New England: Economic, Political, and Social Divisions in the Eighteenth Century (1986); Puritans at Play: Leisure and Recreation in Colonial New England (1995 and 2005 editions); Living with Stalin’s Ghost: A Fulbright Memoir of Moscow and the New Russia (2005); New England Nation: The Country the Puritans Built (2012). From 1980 to 2004, Daniels held SSHRC research grants. In 1993 he was a Fulbright Scholar and in 2005, he was a Distinguished Fulbright Chair. While working at the University of Winnipeg, Daniels served as Editor of the Canadian Review of American Studies, President of the Canadian Association of American Studies, Associate Editor of American National Biography, Book Review Editor of the Urban History Review, and Contributing Editor of the Journal of American History.

Daniels also served as History Department Chair at Texas Tech University; as a member of The American Studies Faculty at the Salzburg Seminar (Austria); and held the Nicolai Sivachev Chair at Moscow State University (Russia), and the Denman Endowed Chair in History at the University of Texas at San Antonio. In addition he has been a visiting professor at Bowling Green State University, Connecticut College for Women, Duke University, The University of Connecticut, Wilfrid Laurier University, Jinan University (Hangzhou, China), and Feng Chia University, Taichung, Taiwan.

A dual citizen of Canada and the United States, Daniels ran for the Democratic Party Presidential nomination in 1996 and served as Lieutenant Governor of the Manitoba Youth Parliament (1997).

The Icelandic Sagas: Legend, Romance and Family

Andrew McGillivrayInstructor: Andrew McGillivray

In this course we explore the sagas of medieval Iceland, focusing especially on the Legendary Sagas and the Sagas of Icelanders. These two saga genres tell different types of stories, though we will discover they have striking thematic similarities. The Legendary Sagas are set in the distant, pre-historical past, they are grand in scale, and they emphasize the supernatural and paranormal. On the other hand, the Sagas of Icelanders, sometimes referred to as the Family Sagas, are set in the relatively recent past, they are much more realistic in tone, and they provide us with detailed information about daily life in medieval Iceland. We will survey The Saga of the Volsungs from the Legendary Sagas as well as The Saga of the People of Laxardal from the Sagas of Icelanders. These two sagas are masterpieces of Icelandic literature and of world literature. Both feature prominent heroes, love and betrayal are central theme, and they are filled with brilliant narrative artistry. In addition to exploring these sagas, we will discuss early audiences for these stories and contextualize them: we will travel into the world of the sagas. A further aim is to consider the appearance and re-appearance of medieval Icelandic narrative in early-modern, modern, and popular cultures, in Iceland and beyond.


Class Schedule: Location:
Thursday, January 11, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, January 18, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, January 25, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 1, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 8, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, February 15, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Andrew McGillivray

Andrew McGillivray is an Associate Professor and Chair in Rhetoric & Communication at the University of Winnipeg. He researches medieval Icelandic literature, in particular on Old Norse mythology and Icelandic sagas. His interest in Nordic languages and cultures was strengthened by his studies abroad in Denmark, where he completed undergraduate exchange studies in Intercultural Communication, and later in Iceland, where he earned his PhD in Icelandic and Comparative Cultural Studies.

Making Sense of Climate Change: Reasons, Ramifications, and Responses

Danny BlairInstructor: Dr. Danny Blair

Climate change is everywhere these days, literally. It has never had a higher profile in the media and—more importantly—it is affecting the lives and environments of almost everyone, no matter where they might be on the planet.

Even with this high level of exposure, too many still do not truly understand the causes of climate change, the implications of the changes that are still yet to come, and the ways in which we should or must respond to this problem.

In this course, we will explore the multifaceted aspects of climate change, including the scientific basis of global warming, the historical context of climate variability, and the human activities driving the current crisis. Students will gain insights into the impact of climate change on biodiversity, weather patterns, and human communities, as well as the ethical, economic, and social dimensions of this global/national/local issue.


Class Schedule: Location:
Wednesday, February 28, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 6, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 13, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 20, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, March 27, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Wednesday, April 3, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Dr. Danny Blair

Danny Blair is a Professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Winnipeg, where he has been working since 1987, mostly teaching courses related to weather and climate. He is also Co-Director and Co-Founder of the University of Winnipeg’s Prairie Climate Centre, which provides impartial, innovative, and partner-driven climate services. Its focus is on education and knowledge translation connecting rigorous climate science with stories grounded in local experience. Its ground-breaking Climate Atlas of Canada ( is one of Canada's most used climate information websites.

He served as the Geography Chair for seven years, and from 2011 to 2017 he was the Associate Dean of Science (4.5 years) and the Acting Dean of Science (1.5 years), and the Acting Principal of the Richardson College for the Environment. His main research interest is climate change in Canada, and especially the Prairie Provinces. He obtained his Geography BSc and MSc degrees from the University of Regina; his MSc thesis was on the thunderstorm hazard in Saskatchewan. His PhD is from the University of Manitoba, where he studied the synoptic climatology of the Red River Basin.

Nabateans and Romans in Pre-Islamic Arabia

Conor WhatleyInstructor: Dr. Conor Whatley

This course looks into the history and archaeology of ancient Arabia, what is now part of modern Israel/Palestine, Jordan, southern Syria, and northwest Saudi Arabia. We’ll visit the famous Nabataean UNESCO world heritage sites of Petra and Mada’in Salih during the reign of Aretas IV (9 BCE to 40 CE), when the al-Khazneh (Treasury), as featured in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, was likely constructed. Besides the Nabataean sites, students will learn about Graeco-Roman cities like Jerash (ancient Gerasa), and settlements with characteristics more typical of the region, like Umm el-Jimal. Other topics include the 10s of 1000s of graffiti made by nomadic shepherds found in the harrah desert of southern Syria and northern Jordan; the well-preserved forts and fortifications that run in a line from Aqaba northwest towards Mesopotamia; and the impact of Christianity and Islam on this corner of the ancient Mediterranean world.


Class Schedule: Location:
Thursday, February 29, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 7, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 14, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 21, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, March 28, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.
Thursday, April 4, 1:30 – 3:30 p.m.

Dr. Conor Whatley

Conor Whately is Professor of Classics at the University of Winnipeg. He received his BA (honours), MA from McMaster (Hamilton), and PhD from Warwick (United Kingdom). He’s published widely on topics ranging from early Byzantine history writing to the Roman army in the Balkans and Jordan. He’s also written books for a more general audience, including an introduction to the Roman Army published by Wiley, and short sensory history of ancient combat published by Pen & Sword.