Department of Humanities


Welcome to the Humanities Department at Simon Fraser University!
In the Humanities Department at SFU, students read and study the great texts of Western and Eastern civilizations from Ancient Greece to Modern Germany, from Taoism to Christianity, from the Italian fresco to Chinese film. Humanities courses appeal to students who are curious about many diverse areas such as classical and medieval studies, modern thought and culture, Renaissance humanism, and eastern and western religions. Crossing disciplinary boundaries, students will learn to pose questions and address concerns central to understanding the human condition.

Departmental News


With Professor Giuseppe Vacca, from the Gramsci Institute in Rome
October 19, 10am-1pm, Room 2200 SFU Harbour Centre




With the Honourable Dr. Jean Augustine, 2018 Thakore Visiting Scholar on Wednesday, October 3, 6pm-8pm, Room 1400-1410 SFU Harbour Centre

Understand contemporary China through Literature and Film

Professor Samir Gandesha will be speaking at the University of Victoria on Tuesday, September 11th, on "The Rise of Authoritarian Populism: Is Left Populism the Answer?" at 5:00-6:30 pm in the David Strong Building Room C122.  His article in Constellations (2018) “Identifying With the Aggressor: From the Authoritarian to Neo-Liberal Personality” will be translated into Turkish and published in the journal 

Dr. Gandesha has another Op-Ed in the Vancouver Sun, this time on the racial dynamics of sport, specifically the World Cup: 

“Black players endured brutal fouls from other players on the pitch, as well as verbal and other forms of abuse from the fans in the stands, and made names for themselves playing for the national team and, perhaps more importantly, opening doors for generations of players that followed in their footsteps. What if these players, in keeping with “victim culture,” had said to themselves: “I don’t see anyone out on the pitch like me, it’s not a ‘safe space,’ so I won’t play?” If these rebels hadn’t somehow found the courage to strike out in bold, new and, frankly, dangerous directions, the football world and, more importantly, anti-racist struggles around the globe would be all the poorer for it.”

In May, Professor Gandesha kicked off his sabbatical by delivering eight talks related to his work on the “Neo-liberal Personality,” at institutions such as the New School for Social Research in New York, the American University in Cairo, the International Sandor Ferenczi Conference in Florence, the Rome Critical Theory Conference, the London Institute of Psychoanalysis and the Portuguese Psychoanalytical Institute. He and Professor Johan Hartle also launched their book Aesthetic Marx at the University of Bologna and Professor Gandesha also participated on a panel discussion of the most recent art work by New York- and Mexico City-based Camel Collective, “Something Other Than What You are,” at Black Ball Projects in Brooklyn, New York. 

In June 2018 the Department of Anthropology at Minzu University in Beijing invited Dr. Paul Crowe, Chair of the Department of Humanities, to lead a graduate seminar on the origins, transformation, and critiques of Canada's multiculturalism policy. A lively discussion followed led by Professor ZHANG Haiyang 张海洋. Professor Zhang is Deputy Director of the Institute of Global Ethnology and Anthropology and Director of the Ethnic Minority Study Center of China at Minzu University.

On a recent research trip to Asia, Dr. Shuyu Kong gave three invited talks and seminars at Peking University, Shanghai Normal University and Korea University in Seoul. Topics covered included the writings of the Dutch sinologist Robert van Gulik, and "Chinese Media and Public Discourse".

Prague Field School is going most historically!

Dr. Samir Gandesha in Open Democracy: Understanding Right and Left Populisms

Professor Emerita in the Humanities, Dr. Kathy Mezei, is enjoying a productive retirement with the publication of her third book, Living with Strangers: Bedsits and Boarding Houses in Modern English Life, Literature and Film. The book "examines the history and cultural representation of bed-sitting rooms and boarding houses in England from the early twentieth century to the present. Providing a historical overview, the authors explore how these alternative domestic spaces came to provide shelter for a diverse demographic of working women and men, retired army officers, gay people, students, bohemians, writers, artists, performers, migrants and asylum seekers, as well as shady figures and criminals."


Congratulations to Ms. Maggie Tsang (MA), who won our 2017 Best Graduate Student Paper award. Before coming to Canada to expand her horizon in cultural comparisons, Maggie obtained a B.Sc. in Environmental Science & Management and an MA in Philosophy from Hong Kong. Being particularly interested in the cultural-philosophical background of Chinese medicine, she is now working on a research project “Chinese Medicine as Hermeneutic Knowledge?” in the Department of Humanities at Simon Fraser University. Apart from her thesis work, Maggie worked as a Museum Registrar at Burnaby Village Museum on archival materials and artifacts from a Chinese herbalist shop that was operated in Victoria’s Chinatown from 1900 to 1971. The winning paper examines the nature of knowledge of Chinese and Modern Medicine with a hermeneutic approach. It was completed as part of her thesis under the supervision of Dr. Paul Crowe.

We are delighted to announce that two of our M.A. Students, Alexis Wolfe and Stephanie Yu, have been awarded Tri-Agency Canada Graduate Scholarships. Ms. Wolfe, who comes to us from U.B.C,  is working on a thesis  entitled SYMBOLIC COLLISIONS: SHORT-CIRCUITS IN THE LIBIDINAL ECONOMY, and Ms. Yu, from the University of Alberta, is working on a thesis  entitled THE FETISHIZATION OF THE "AUTHENTIC" IN AN AGE OF ANXIETY. Both students have been active presenting their work at conferences in the UK, Italy and Toronto.

A loving obituary for our dearly departed colleague, Rev. Donald Grayston.

Past Events

Centre A and The Cinematheque, with support from SFU David Lam Centre and SFU Department of Humanities, welcome renowned Vietnamese-born artist, writer, and scholar Trinh T. Minh-ha for a special two-night program of her acclaimed film work. Subjective, self-reflexive, and intellectual, infused with feminism and anti-colonialism, and offering a dizzying array of sights and sounds, the award-winning “anti-anthropological” films of Trinh represent a startling reinvention of the documentary form. Read More

Quick Links

Institute for the Humanities

Torrent, Trickle: The Exploratory By Andrew Czink

Canada and the UN Convention Against Torture

Truth Before Reconciliation: Reframing/Resisting/Refusing Reconciliation