Spring 2023 - HUM 321W B100

The Humanities and Critical Thinking (4)

Class Number: 6278

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Mon, 4:30–7:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



A study of the counter-traditions within western civilization. Compares and contrasts diverse traditions within western culture that critique its central value systems. It will focus on the attempts of great artists and thinkers to break with tradition, and the subsequent creation of new ideas and forms of experience and expression. Writing/Breadth-Humanities.


HUM 321W: The Affective Politics of Hate

In the current political climate, the display of unbridled emotions in speech or action with regard to politics, identity, and freedom seems not only to have taken centre stage but also to have become the dominant mode of representing the present. Amongst displays of fear, pain, and anxiety it is hate that is perhaps the most visible and identifiable phenomenon. But from where does hate come? Why does it become particularly visible when questions of politics, identity, and freedom are at stake? Is hate truly legible in transparent ways? Does it belong to the field of affect or political maneuvering? How is hate implicated in entwined histories of violence, oppression, and power? Most importantly, can hate be mobilized against itself?

In this course we will discuss these questions by examining the effects of different social discourses that have either originated or have become unwilling vectors of social hate. Much of our discussions will revolve on questions of race/racialization/racism (even in texts in which race might not be apparent), which have sparked in the last decades fierce debates as well as violent action, but also fierce resistance and the creation of new collectivities of struggle (e.g., #blacklivesmatter or Idle No More).

Taking the cue from Angela Davis’s Freedom is a Constant Struggle, we will consider the historical and mutually constitutive relation of violence, global capital, and the political order (starting with the system of slavery) in the formation of stratified societies in which the threat of economic disposability lurks large, and in which hate becomes both display of social disaggregation and weapon of social control. But we will also pay close attention to the way in which individuals are implicated even when they are seemingly distanced or disconnected from strategies of disaggregation. Our analysis, therefore, will focus simultaneously on the singularity of individuals, social groups, and collectivities attempting to produce change.

Reading material will comprise novels, critical thought, and theory.

Teaching Mode: Blended Learning
We will meet for 3 hours for class discussion for 10 weeks (the dates will be distributed in class). The remaining three weeks and the remaining weekly fourth hour will be used by students for self-study, research, and assignments on Canvas.


At the end of the course, students will be able to demonstrate their proficiency in the following activities:

  1. Read and analyze Humanities Texts critically, creatively, and to academic standards by using an interdisciplinary approach.
  2. Gain an understanding of the affective politics and performativity of emotions.
  3. Gain an understanding of the historical development of contemporary phenomena of hate in relation to other affects such as fear, pain, anxiety, and love.
  4. Gain an understanding of the entanglement of race with the nexus of violence, global capital, and political order.
  5. Develop research skills to be connected to projects for public education.
  6. Develop sustained, persuasive, logical and well-structured arguments in academic essay and online posts.
  7. Communicate information and ideas clearly and confidently in oral activities.


  • Attendance & participation (includes Canvas posts) 20%
  • Education project 10%
  • Case Study 15%
  • Film Review 10%
  • Midterm 20%
  • Term Paper 25%


This course counts towards the concentration in Public Engagement and Intellectual Culture for students enrolled in a Global Humanities major or minor program.




  1. 13th : documentary by filmmaker Ava DuVernay:
  2. The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks, documentary by Johanna Hamilton and Yoruba Richen (2022)
  3. American History X, film directed by Tony Kaye (1998)
  4. Brother, film directed by Clement Virgo (2022), adapted from David Chariandy’s novel.


  1. James Baldwin, Go Tell It on the Mountain. Vintage, 2013 [1953]
    ISBN-13 : 978-0345806543
  2. Charles Person with Richard Rooker, Buses Are a Comin': Memoir of a Freedom Rider.
    ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1250836762                                         Martin's Griffin, 2022
  3. Frank Wilderson, Afropessimism. Liveright, 2021
    ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1324090519
  4. Desmond Cole, The Skin We're In: A Year of Black Resistance and Power. Doubleday, 2020
    ISBN-13 : 978-0385686341
  5. Helen Humphreys, Wild Dogs. HarperCollins, 2004
    ISBN : 9780002005128

Selected readings on Canvas or available electronically: Angela Davis, Roy Miki, Sky Lee, Lee Maracle, Frederick Douglass; Dionne Brand; Rinaldo Walcott; Franz Fanon; Herbert Marcuse.


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