Fall 2021 - SA 200W OL01

Power, Conflict and Change in Canadian Society (SA) (4)

Class Number: 6437

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Location: TBA

  • Instructor:

    Amanda Watson
    Office Hours: Th 13:00-15:00 via Zoom



Examines Canadian society from the perspective of the social sciences. Students apply sociological and anthropological concepts to analyze issues in modern societies, focusing on Canada as a case. Topics include class structure, the nature of Canada's population, regional variation, gender relations, multiculturalism, and colonialism. Students with credit for SA 100W are not eligible to take this course for further credit. Writing/Breadth-Social Sci.


How can we understand the building blocks of Canadian society? We will begin with an introduction to how social scientists approach the study of society in general, and move through a series of questions particular to Canadian society, including: How is Canadian society infused with colonial legacy and ongoing colonialism? How are social hierarchies shaped by deeply held ideas about Canada and rooted in Canadian law and policy? This course also aims to prepare students to write essays for the social sciences. Topics include: 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.


It is my aim that upon completing this course, you will be able to:

  • Compare two dominant theoretical approaches to the study of society;
  • Recognize and explain neo/liberal ideology in the framing of current affairs in Canada;
  • Critique representation of Canadian societal values in mainstream media using relevant sociological theory;
  • Challenge longstanding myths about Canadian fairness with reference to specific historical and contemporary evidence;
  • Identify significant challenges facing Canadian society with reference to course material; and
  • Communicate in writing in a way that is creative, compelling, and legible to the discipline.


  • Audio/video presentation and discussion leadership 15%
  • Essay proposal 10%
  • Essay draft and peer review 10%
  • Final essay 10%
  • Reading responses (5 x 5%) 25%
  • Discussion participation dossier 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.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.



  • Access to a computer and/or other electronic device that will allow you to write and upload assignments in Canvas and virtually attend your classes remotely through Blackboard Collaborate and/or Zoom.
  • Access to an internet connection
    Microsoft Word for all assignment submissions (available to all students for free here.)


Naiman, J. (2012). How Societies Work: Class, Power, and Change, 5th Edition. Winnipeg and Halifax: Fernwood Publishing.

EPUB or PDF available for purchase here.
ISBN: 978-1-552664650

Vowel, C. (2016). Indigenous Writes: A Guide to First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Issues in Canada. Portage & Main Press.

Full text available online through SFU Library here.
ISBN: 978-1-553796800


Recommending listening:

Gregory Younging on Elements of Indigenous Style

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.