Spring 2023 - SA 350 D100

Classical Sociological Thought (S) (4)

Class Number: 2554

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Tue, 8:30–11:20 a.m.

  • Instructor:

    Kathleen Millar
    Office: AQ 5062
    Office Hours: By appointment via Zoom or in-person
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 250.



An examination of aspects of the work of one or more of the nineteenth or early twentieth century sociological theorists.


This course explores the work of four foundational thinkers in the field of sociology: Karl Marx (1818-1883), Max Weber (1864-1920), Émile Durkheim (1858-1917), and W.E.B. Du Bois (1868-1963). Though these theorists lived and wrote over a hundred years ago, they addressed issues of continuing relevance today including capitalism, power, inequality, exploitation, labour, class, race, and social change. The course has two central goals. The first is to read the works of Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Du Bois in their historical contexts and on their own terms, focusing on how to understand and engage complex theoretical arguments. Secondly, we will examine the uses and limitations of the theorists’ ideas for addressing contemporary social problems.


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

  • Explain the ideas and concepts that shaped the development of the field of sociology;
  • Situate the works of Marx, Weber, Durkheim, and Du Bois within their historical context;
  • Apply and adapt classical social theories to pressing issues in the contemporary world;
  • Cultivate skills that will enable you to read and engage theoretical texts in the social sciences.


  • Weekly reading responses 15%
  • Discussion posts 5%
  • In-class exam #1 35%
  • In-class exam #2 35%
  • Seminar participation 10%


Grading: 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.



  • Robert C. Tucker, ed. The Marx-Engels Reader. Second Edition. New York: W.W. Norton, 1978.
  • Max Weber. The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism. Mineola, NY: Dover Publications, 2003
  • Émile Durkheim. The Division of Labor in Society. New York: Free Press, 2014.
  • Émile Durkheim. Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Additional readings will be available through the SFU library and 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