Fall 2023 - HUM 101W D900

Introduction to Global Humanities (3)

Class Number: 7573

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 6 – Oct 6, 2023: Tue, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

    Oct 11 – Dec 5, 2023: Tue, 10:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Dec 6, 2023
    Wed, 12:00–3:00 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Spyros Sofos
    Office Hours: TBA
  • Instructor:

    Spyros Sofos



An introduction to issues and concepts central to the study of the humanities around the world. Through exposure to primary materials drawn from different periods, disciplines, and regions, students will become acquainted with a range of topics and ideas relating to the study of human values and human experience. Students with credit for HUM 101 may not take this course for further credit. Writing/Breadth-Humanities.


Paul Klee: Angelus Novus (1920)

Who am I? How do I relate to others around me – family, peer groups, society or culture? Am I free to act as I see fit, or is my life determined by God, nature, social norms and expectations? How do we connect to our past through memory, heritage and tradition? What prompts us to work together, or fight each other? These are some of the fundamental questions that human beings have been asking, and which our societies attempt to address through human cultural creativity, imagination and thought – in our music, film, photography, and other visual arts, literature, philosophy, but also in our everyday interactions with each other. These sorts of questions stand, therefore, at the very heart of the humanities.

This course provides a broad introduction to the humanities by examining what we often take for granted as - the idea of culture as a repository of values, as aesthetic and literary traditions, as the product of human creativity, as a means through which we relate to our social and natural surroundings. The course traces the ways culture has been understood in the past and present by exploring diverse accounts: from Pericles’s funeral oration in Ancient Athens, to Karl Marx’s German Ideology, from Marshall Berman’s analysis of modernity to the poetry of Virginia Woolf, Walter Benjamin’s philosophy of history, and Spike Lee’s bitter-sweet account of a day in a Brooklyn neighborhood in his movie Do the Right Thing. Readings, artworks, video clips and films will span across different cultural traditions, genres, and historical ages—from antiquity to the contemporary world, and from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to the world of Canada’s indigenous communities.


At the end of the course, students will be able to: 

  1. analyze critically Humanities texts to academic standards. 
  2. demonstrate familiarity with a wide range of authors and texts situated in different historical and cultural contexts. 
  3. understand and analyze the function of Humanities texts with respect to political and social relations. 
  4. use sources effectively, and craft sustained, persuasive, logical and well-structured arguments in developing a thesis, or structuring a paper. 


  • Participation 20%
  • Two Reading Quizzes 20%
  • One 2-Page Essay 10%
  • One 3-Page Essay 20%
  • Final Exam (2) 30%


This course counts towards the lower division requirements for students in a Humanities major or minor program as well as the concentration in Public Engagement and Intellectual Culture.


Students are expected to attend both tutorial and lecture. The class will alternate between tutorial activities and lecture for the three-hour block 9:30-12:20.



  • Thucydides: The History of the Peloponnesian War (edited by P. J. Rhodes and transl. by Martin Hammond). Oxford University Press, 2009. 
  • Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, et al.  This Place: 150 Years Retold [graphic novel] Portage & Main Press, 2019 
  • Marshall Berman. All That Is Solid Melts into Air: The Experience of Modernity. Penguin, 1988.  

Additional readings provided through Canvas.  


  • Do the Right Thing (dir. Spike Lee, 1989) - film 


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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.