Fall 2021 - IS 105 D100

Around the World through Film (3)

Class Number: 5545

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM
    WMC 3260, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 20, 2021
    7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
    AQ 3003, Burnaby



Explores social, economic, and political change around the globe, through documentaries and feature films. Examines pressing issues that shape and reflect people’s lives in diverse countries and regions, from Asia and Latin America, to Africa, Europe, and the Middle East. Breadth-Humanities/Social Sciences.


This course explores how contemporary economic, and political challenges shape and reflect the aspirations and struggles of ordinary people in countries around the world. Using both fiction and documentary film as a way of grounding ourselves in the material worlds outside of North America the class will consider specific sites of global interconnection. For instance, thinking with fiction films such as Jia Zhangke’s 24 City we will examine the role of labour conditions in shaping gender roles and social futures. Critically examining the Dardenne brothers’ Young Ahmed we will consider how class position and citizenship intersect with racialization, and the effects of colonial legacies, political policy and Islamophobia in migrant experiences. Drawing on recent documentaries such as Matt Hill's Are You Scared Yet, Human? (that features a cameo from the course instructor!), we will think through the effects of surveillance and new media in the lives of racialized populations. Documentary short films such as Anders Hammer's Do Not Split will help us conceptualize the potential for human liberation in the face of state violence. We will explore each topic in the context of specific geographic locations and historical moments, with the goal of becoming better acquainted with particular histories, cultures, economies, and political systems at global, national and subnational levels.


Drawing on insights from across the social sciences, ultimately we will develop clear understandings of themes that are central to the field of International Studies. By the end of the course, students will be able to define and explain the utility of key terms or conceptual frames such as: development, domination, dispossession, decolonization, racialization, gender discrimination, poverty and empowerment, critical human rights, counter-terrorism, Islamophobia, and global economic systems.


  • 2 Film and Reading Responses 20%
  • Midterm Exam 30%
  • Final Exam 40%
  • Tutorial Participation 10%


Films will be watched primarily outside of class. Lectures and tutorials will be used to present the historical, economic, social, political, and cultural background necessary for understanding the issues covered in the assigned films and readings.

Students will be required to submit their written assignments to Turnitin.com in order to receive credit for the assignments and for the course.

The School for International Studies strictly enforces the University's policies regarding plagiarism and other forms of academic dishonesty. Information about these policies can be found at: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/teaching.html.



Required course readings will be posted on Canvas.

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


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware 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 may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.