Spring 2022 - CMNS 824 G100

Colonialism, Culture and Identity (5)

Class Number: 3286

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Th 11:30 AM – 3:20 PM
    HCC 2205, Vancouver



A study of colonialism, culture, and identity with a focus on the strategies used by diasporic communities and (neo)colonial subjects to address the impact of colonial violence as well as create ethical communities. Historical and contemporary case studies will be examined. Students who took CMNS 855 in Term 1071 may not take this course for further credit.


Colonial histories of North America have traditionally consigned Indigenous peoples to a distant past, unable to cope with modernity. However, recent political mobilizations such as Idle No More, the Standing Rock protests of the Dakota Access Pipeline, the advocacy driving the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls inquiry, and the 2020 Coastal Gaslink Pipeline protests have made amply clear that Indigenous peoples are at the forefront of urgent social and ecological issues. Further, Indigenous peoples possess knowledge systems, philosophies, and political theory that recent critical debates have only begun to understand are pivotal to conceiving of humanity’s relationship to the nonhuman world, to the development and application of new technologies, and to imagining possible futures beyond the damaging conditions that have shaped immediate social and environmental crises.

This course examines Indigenous philosophies of history, science, and technology. Indigenous futurisms as a political and cultural movement will have close attention as a “prism” through which to engage these areas of knowledge and critical theory. Indigenous futurisms imagines futures not determined by the advancement of colonial technocultures, but by worldviews and technologies rooted in Indigenous epistemologies. Through readings, discussions, screenings/viewings and assignments, students will investigate Indigenous understandings of history, scientific knowledge, technologies, and personhood. Course content will prepare students to build on this material in the development of their own research projects.


  • Seminar Participation 20%
  • Readings presentation 10%
  • Paper Proposal and Annotated Bibliography 15%
  • Final Paper Presentation 5%
  • Final Paper 50%


Assignments and grading to be confirmed in class.



All readings will be online, no physical sources required.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

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.