Fall 2019 - HUM 375 D100

The Woodsworth Seminar (4)

Class Number: 9391

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM
    HCC 3122, Vancouver

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



A special topic in the humanities to be offered by the Woodsworth chair.


A description of my image

“Our spread over the earth was fuelled by reducing the higher species of vegetation to charcoal, by incessantly burning whatever would burn.… Combustion is the hidden principle behind every artefact we create…. From the earliest times, human civilization has been no more than a strange luminescence growing more intense by the hour, of which no one can say when it will begin to wane and when it will fade away”
The Rings of Saturn  
In this course we will read the unique work of W. G. Sebald—a hybrid of fiction, photo essay, memoir, travelogue and history—to explore questions of memory, trauma, and the civilizational decline we have come to associate with ecological crisis and the “Anthropocene.” Sebald’s work, published in German and English in the 1990s and drawing upon the work of Kafka and Bernhard, nevertheless reads as a harbinger of the current moment. It also returns us to some of the key questions of modernity: war and genocide, migration and displacement, and the role of art in all of this. We will supplement our readings in Sebald with several films, and with some contemporary poetry and a number of essays, provided by the instructor.


  • Participation 10%
  • Presentation 20%
  • Short essay based on presentation (1200 words) 20%
  • Proposal for final paper/project (250 words) 10%
  • Final essay / project (2500 words) 40%



Austerlitz, W. G. Sebald
ISBN: 9780375756566

The Rings of Saturn, W. G. Sebald
ISBN: 9780811214131

Vertigo, W. G. Sebald   
ISBN: 9780811214308

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html