Summer 2023 - HUM 340 D100

Great Cities in Their Time (4)


Class Number: 4032

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 8 – Aug 4, 2023: Wed, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 8, 2023
    Tue, 8:30–11:30 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



An exploration of the cultural and intellectual accomplishments of a specific city that achieved prominence in a particular time period, and had substantial impact and influence on human civilization. Examines the political, social, religious, and cultural factors that help to explain a city's significance and investigates the achievements of its citizens. Students may repeat this course for further credit under a different topic. Breadth-Humanities.


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The March of the Guards to Finchley by William Hogarth, 1750

"Sir, when a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.”

When Samuel Johnson uttered this remark in the late eighteenth century, the British capital was already Europe’s chief financial centre and most populous city, its cultural and racial diversity mirroring that of Britain’s rapidly expanding global empire. Rowdy and raucous, absorbing more than 10,000 migrants annually and churning out a staggering profusion of printed books and periodicals, Johnson’s London led the world in consumerism, in artistic and technological innovation, in radical political thought, and in the advancement of scientific knowledge. “No other city on the planet,” writes one of its historians, “did more to catalyze modernity.”

Theories about the relationship between social modernity and urban space will inform much of our work in HUM 340, as we trace London’s history from Roman times to the present day, focusing on the early modern centuries that transformed a pestilential, mud-spattered medieval port into a global entrepot, an imperial metropolis, and a vast melting pot of humanity.

By collating literary and visual sources with music and material culture, students will hone their skills in the study of each of these fields.



  • Attendance and Participation 10%
  • Group Presentation 10%
  • Canvas discussion posts 10%
  • Reading quizzes 20%
  • Research project (paper + PowerPoint) 25%
  • Final Exam 25%


This course counts towards a concentration in Art and Material Culture for students enrolled in a Humanities major or minor program.

*If you are having issues enrolling in the course, please email for assistance.



Dan Cruickshank, Cruickshank’s London: A Portrait of a City in 13 Walks (Penguin Random House 2021) ISBN 9781847948236

Additional excerpts from public domain authors will be available through 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:

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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.


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.