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

Study the writing of various Latin authors and explores the interplay between Latin and vernacular literatures, their roots in the past, and their role in creating the Western canon!

EXPLORE INDIAN DEMOCRACY this spring THROUGH THE LITERATURE OF ONE OF ITS KEY CONSTITUTIONAL AUTHORS with the preeminent Ambedkar scholar, Dr Valerian Rodrigues

An examination of Eastern and Western Christendom from Late Antiquity to the 12th-Century Renaissance emphasizing religious, political, cultural, and social change.

Immerse yourself in the world of Pieter Bruegel! Each class will concentrate on several of his paintings and drawings, and we shall approach his art through a series of different techniques and modes, trying to understand him and his time.

Can you institute social change by making fun of ordinary people? 

What is violence? What effects does it produce at the level of singularities and of the social? When does violence transform into “terror”? In this course we will discuss different approaches to the study of violencein the work of critical theorists and creative writers from the 20th to the 21stcentury to interrogate the role of political and economic institutions, and more broadly of power, in the material and discursive deployment of violence.

Join Dr Eleanor Stebner, J.S. Woodsworth Chair, in reading the biographical writings of Primo Levi, Jane Goodall, Muhammed Ali and more

Prague Field School is going most historically!


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

 Humanities' Social Media