Fall 2022 - SA 451 E100

Issues in Anthropological Theory (A) (4)

Class Number: 3445

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 4:30 PM – 8:20 PM
    AQ 5047, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Jie Yang
    1 778 782-4297
    Office: AQ 5056
    Office Hours: Monday 3:30-4:30 or by appointment
  • Prerequisites:

    Minimum of 72 units including SA 301, a GPA of at least 3.25 and consent of the instructor.



A senior seminar on current perspectives in anthropological theory. Emphasis will differ from semester to semester.


This course offers an advanced introduction to contemporary theory in anthropology. It has three components. The first part provides an overview of theories that have shaped the development of anthropology as a discipline including functionalism, modernism, postmodernism, structuralism, and poststructuralism. 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/emotion, agency, body, practice, discourse, ideology, governmentality, hegemony, power, subjectivity, voice) and main approaches (critical, postmodern, poststructural, discursive, 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 their research interests, and together the whole class will determine the final reading list for the semester.


Course objectives: Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to achieve the following:
1. descriptive knowledge
2. critical thinking/analysis
3. professional communication/presentation
4. collaborative competency
5. synthesis/application


  • Class presentation and discussion leadership 20%
  • Weekly reading journal (3% x 10) 27%
  • Essay abstract/outline 3%
  • Final Essay 45%


Student expectations:
To be successful in this course, you must not only attend class all the time, but also be thoroughly prepared, actively involve and thoroughly digest each assigned reading.

: 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 Honesty and Student Conduct Policies: The Department of Sociology & Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T20.01), and academic honesty and student conduct procedures (S10‐S10.05). 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.

The Sociology and Anthropology Student Union, SASU, is a governing body of students who are engaged with the department and want to build the SA community. Get involved!  Follow Facebook and Instagram pages or visit our website.



PDF files on Canvas


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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