Summer 2020 - SA 352 J100

Games, Sports and Cultures (A) (4)

Class Number: 2196

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM

  • Instructor:

    Bascom Guffin
    Office Hours: Tu 16:20-17:20, or by appointment
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 201W.



An anthropological examination of games and sports that explores their cultural, political and aesthetic dimensions. Applies cross-cultural perspectives to explore the shaping of identities through athletic practices as well as the impacts of globalization on snorting passions. Particular attention is focused upon the creation of sport ethnographies.


Sports and games are an important force in human culture and society and have arguably become even more so with the rise of globally organized and watched competitions and leagues, both in the concrete and virtual realms. Major teams and events have important spatial impacts on their host cities, including the building of new sports venues and the implementation of security measures to ensure that sports tourists have a seamlessly pleasant experience. National and local teams and athletes become important centers of identity for legions of fans. Meanwhile, people at all skill levels regularly take part in recreational play, whether on local courts and fields or in virtual realms. This course takes an eclectic look at games and sports as phenomena at scales of the local, national, international, and virtual. An important component of the course will be a modest ethnographic project that you will conduct during the second half of the term, focusing on a local adult sports team, league, or regular drop-in game, or a site of social online gaming. In conducting your project, you will learn more about how games and sports can shape the lives of involved individuals, taking into account issues of power, social structures, and the human capacity for fun and play.


  • Participation and attendance 15%
  • Weekly reading responses 15%
  • Ethnographic observation of a game/sport scene 20%
  • Critical synthesis of course themes 20%
  • Putting it all together 30%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Department of Sociology & 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.



Universal Access Remote learning for this semester requires a computer or tablet, camera, and internet access. Most laptops and desktops are running OSX and Windows. Tablets may be Android, iOS or Windows based. Headsets are advised but not necessary. Note that students have access to free Office 365 or Adobe Creative Cloud found here.


Thangaraj, S. I. (2015). Desi Hoop Dreams: Pickup Basketball and the Making of Asian American Masculinity. New York: New York University Press.

This text is available online through the SFU Library here.
ISBN: 978-0-814760932


Galeano, E. (2013). Soccer in Sun and Shadow. New York: Nation Books.
ISBN: 978-1-859848487

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.


Please note that all teaching at SFU in summer term 2020 will be conducted through remote methods. Enrollment in this course acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion