Fall 2019 - SA 100W D100

Perspectives on Canadian Society (SA) (4)

Class Number: 3838

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 8:30 AM – 10:20 AM
    AQ 3149, Burnaby



An examination of Canadian society from the perspective of the social sciences -- an introduction both to the nature of Canadian society and to the use of sociological and anthropological concepts applied to the analysis of modern societies in general. This course is meant to appeal to those who specifically wish to expand their knowledge of Canadian Society, and also to those who may be considering further work in sociology and anthropology. Topics to be considered include class structure, the nature of Canada's population, regional variation, gender relations, multiculturalism, native issues. Writing/Breadth-Social Sci.


This course aims to introduce students to sociological perspectives on Canadian society. It also aims to prepare students to write essays for the social sciences. We will begin with an introduction to how sociologists approach the study of society in general, and move through a series of questions particular to Canadian society, including: What does it mean to be a member of “Canadian” society (i.e. who “belongs” in Canada)? How are social groups in Canada shaped by ideologies, law, and policy? How do Canadians think of themselves? Topics include: ongoing colonial legacy, state violence, citizenship, capitalism, welfare state, poverty, immigration, labour, education, health, media, and activism. We will consider several Canadian myths, including multiculturalism, a level playing field, and equal access to health and education. In addition to engaging our local community as part of our learning, we will practice applying our theoretical and experiential knowledge through the conventions of an academic essay.


It is my aim that upon completing this courses, students will be able to:

  • Critique representation of Canadian values in mainstream current affairs publication using relevant sociological theory
  • Compare competing ideologies in Canadian society
  • Challenge longstanding myths about Canadian fairness with reference to specific evidence
  • Recognize value systems in media framing of current affairs issues


  • Seminar current affairs presentation 10%
  • Midterm exam 20%
  • Essay proposal 10%
  • Community-focused learning project (essay and poster presentation) 30%
  • Final exam (in-class) 30%


The grade breakdown is subject to change slightly by the time the course begins, but is guaranteed to include a midterm exam, a final exam in the last class, and at least one presentation in the tutorial seminar.

Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐S10.04). Unless otherwise informed by your instructor in writing, in graded written assignments you must cite the sources you rely on and include a bibliography/list of references, following an instructor-approved citation style.  It is the responsibility of students to inform themselves of the content of SFU policies available on the SFU website: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html.    



Naiman, Joanne. (2012). How Societies Work: Class, Power, and Change, 5th Edition. Winnipeg and Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.
ISBN: 978-1-552664650

Vowel, Chelsea. (2016). Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Issues in Canada. Portage & Main Press.
ISBN: 978-1-553796800

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