Spring 2022 - CA 314 D100

Readings in the History of Art, Performance and Cinema (3)


Class Number: 7730

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    GCA 2205, GOLDCORP

  • Prerequisites:

    CA (or FPA) 117 (or 167), 186, and 210W (or 210).



Investigates a selected topic in the history of art, performance and cinema. This course can be repeated twice for credit if the topic is different.


What if you could take a course which understood Vancouver as an appropriate place for a Field School? A course in which the burning questions of the day are traced back to their roots in the history of this place? One wherein the material culture preserved in local museums, galleries and archives is investigated to discover and learn alternative histories of the world that place Europe’s rise and fall in its wider, global contexts?

This seminar explores a vast array of visual and material culture produced in Britain and what came to be known as British Columbia in the context of the nineteenth century rise in the British and European colonization of the world. We will study works of nineteenth century British, Canadian and Indigenous art and visual culture (maps, landscapes, maritime views, masks, carvings, drawings), and engage with readings contemporary with their production, as well as recent historical and theoretical interpretations, to better understand the complex ways in which images and objects helped to shape the conditions in which we now find ourselves. Drawing on the archives of knowledge built up over the centuries, the course will approach these valuable yet error-ridden forms of knowledge from a decolonial perspective. Topics will include Captain Cook’s Northwest Coast exploration and contact; colonial slavery and the art and literature of abolition; Indigenous people in London; British people in British Columbia; and the human and ecological costs of plundering and extracting “natural resources” from the lands and cultural productions of others. Classical colonialist texts will be read against the grain and studied along with decolonial works to recognize, in Chinua Achebe’s words, that “what is good among one people is an abomination with others.”

Through class discussion of the readings, presentations, excursions to local collections, a curating project, and a final research paper, students will engage with ongoing historical and postcolonial debates surrounding specific, material objects of study. For the curatorial project, students will work with others to respond to the course themes by creating an exhibit using materials from Special Collections at W.A.C. Bennett Library. The exhibit will take place in the glass display cases on the main floor of the Bennett Library and will also be available online.


  • Attendance and active participation 15%
  • Presentation on a reading 10%
  • Curatorial project 25%
  • Paper proposal 10%
  • Paper presentation 10%
  • Final Paper 30%



Weekly readings will be posted to Canvas as pdf articles.

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 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this 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 spring 2022 term.