Spring 2016 - SA 327 J100

Sociology of Knowledge (S) (4)

Class Number: 1997

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 5 – Apr 11, 2016: Sat, 12:30–4:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Agnes MacDonald
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



An examination of sociological theories concerning the interaction of social structures, and meaning and belief systems.


The Sociology of Knowledge course is an examination of sociological theories concerning the relation between thought and society. More specifically, the course engages interactions of social structures, meaning and belief systems from Western developments and First Nations’ oral histories, to epistemology and classical sociological thought, feminist knowledge, and post-modern discourses. After a general introduction to the concept of ‘knowledge’, an overview of the ways of knowing will lead us to traditional methods of inquiries across historical times and places in order to arrive at key disciplinary approaches. We also engage the primary differences between the social determination of knowledge and the social construction of reality, classification of knowledge, and human agents’ everyday experience. The six subthemes of the course help build our understanding of the development of the sociology of knowledge. The required readings in the Custom Course Reader, containing a collection of articles and book chapters, provide students with grounding material of the topics, along with one of two texts to draw on for the research paper project. Classes will include lectures, discussions, group exercises, examples or case studies of contemporary issues, student presentations, film viewing, and guest speakers. The course is organized so as to maximize students’ individual ownership of their learning.


  • Class attendance and participation: 10%
  • Midterm Exam: 20%
  • Pair presentation on weekly readings: 15%
  • Research paper: 30%
  • Final Exam: 25%


Where a final exam is scheduled and you do not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, you will be assigned an N grade. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all other graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy
The Department of Sociology and Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T 20.01) and academic dishonesty and misconduct procedures (S10.01‐ S10.04).  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: http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student.html.    



Custom Courseware Reader package

Books for research paper:

1.      Gilman, Charlotte Perkins. 1901. “The Yellow Wallpaper.” In The Yellow Wallpaper and Other Stories. New York: Dover Publications, 1997. Online:http://www.nlm.nih.gov/literatureofprescription/exhibitionAssets/digitalDocs/The-Yellow-Wall-Paper.pdf


2.      Khun, Thomas S. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions. Chicago & London: University of Chicago Press, 2012[1962].


Camic, Charles et al. 2011. Social Knowledge in the Making. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Duran, Jane. 1991. Toward a Feminist Epistemology. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.

Goldman, Alvin I. 2002. Pathways to Knowledge: Private and Public. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

McCarthey, Doyle E. 1996. Knowledge as Culture: The New Sociology of Knowledge. London: Routledge.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://students.sfu.ca/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