Fall 2019 - SA 870 G100

Theories in Anthropology (5)

Class Number: 3939

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Mon, 5:30–9:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Jie Yang
    1 778 782-4297
    Office: AQ 5056
    Office Hours: Mo 16:30-17:30; We 12:30-13:30, or by appointment



Examines the dynamic relationship among conceptual aims, social relations in research, and the socio-political contexts of anthropological work through close study of selected classical and contemporary works in anthropology. Students from other departments and faculties may enrol with permission of instructor.


This course serves an advanced introduction to contemporary theory in anthropology. It has three parts. The first part provides an overview of theories that have shaped the development of anthropology as a discipline including functionalism, modernism, post-modernism, structuralism, and post-structuralism. The second part focuses on major concepts that provide the context for understanding contemporary theory and methods in anthropology. This includes a focus on key theorists (e.g., Bourdieu, Bakhtin, Foucault, Agamben, Williams, Ahmed, Ortner, Massumi), themes (e.g., affect, agency, body, practice, discourse, ideology, governmentality, hegemony, power, subjectivity, voice) and main approaches (critical, late-modern, post-modern, post-structural, linguistic, feminist, global). The final part of the course will provide an opportunity to apply these concepts to ethnography and focus on recent ethnographic innovations that restructure relationships between science and government, between researcher and research subjects and between academic and public discourse. Note: the syllabus is flexible and interactive. Multiple sets of readings are provided; class members can choose readings based on research interests, and together we will determine the final reading list for the term.


  • Class presentation and discussion leadership 20%
  • Weekly reading journal (10 x 3%) 30%
  • Essay abstract/outline 5%
  • Final essay 45%


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.    

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

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