Spring 2021 - HIST 372 D100

City Life (4)

Class Number: 5714

Delivery Method: Remote


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units, including six units of lower division history or enrollment in the Urban Studies Certificate program.



Examines the experience of city life in various global settings with an emphasis on the social, cultural, and political development of urban environments.



Mix of asynchronous and synchronous components


Over the past two hundred years, the proportion of the world’s population living in cities has grown from 3 to 50%, and it continues to rise.  Urbanisation has thus played a key role in shaping modern society, culture and politics.  The aim of this course is to examine, from a historical and contemporary perspective, what it means to live in a city.  We will examine the how and why of urban growth and development, the social and cultural life of cities, and the way different groups sought to shape the city in their image, or to carve out spaces of resistance.  To get at these questions, we will analyse the economic impulses, migratory patterns, power dynamics of gender, class and race, and environmental consequences underlying the formation of cities.  Our discussions will also focus on how people have conceptualised and thought about the cultural meaning of cities in different geographical and temporal settings. 

We will also pay particular attention to the unique history of the city we live in, addressing issues specific to Vancouver and its region, both past and present.  This semester, we will be partnering with CityStudio and the City of Vancouver Street Activities Branch for a unique and exciting project.  One of the main assignments for the course will be to produce a historically informed public programming guide for a specific Vancouver neighbourhood.  Working in teams of three, students will critically examine the history of a particular neighbourhood and community.  The programming guides we produce will shine a light both on the resilience and continuity of ethnocultural groups in shaping Vancouver’s public realm, as well as the inequalities and injustices ethnocultural groups have faced in the city’s past and ongoing history.  

Please note that this is a preliminary outline.  Course content is subject to change and a definitive syllabus will be posted to Canvas at the start of the course. 



  • Weekly online discussions 20%
  • Research Proposal 15%
  • Community programming guide project 30%
  • Reflection paper 35%



Readings will be made available online.

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 spring 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods. There will be in-person course components in a few exceptional cases where this is fundamental to the educational goals of the course. Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment 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. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

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 (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112).