Spring 2016 - SA 371 D100

The Environment and Society (SA) (4)

Class Number: 5565

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 5 – Apr 11, 2016: Mon, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



An examination of environmental issues in their social context. Environmental issues are on the leading edge of contemporary public concern and public policy debates. This course will examine such issues as the relationship between social organization and mode of subsistence, the politics of hunger, and the way in which human societies in their particular social, historical, and cultural contexts view and interact with the natural world.


SA 371 examines global ecological crises transforming cities, politics and nature, with an emphasis on Vancouver, where ecological crisis drives urban politics. The course explores crises caused by urbanization, the car, habitat loss, climate change and the transformation of nature. It also investigates constructive efforts to bring nature and biodiversity back into the city by ‘rewilding’ the urban environment. The theoretical foundation of the course is based on the different ways humans value nonhuman environments and connect ecology to the common good. The course analyzes ‘nature wars’ in which ecology clashes with other common goods such as democratic equality, industry, tradition and capitalism. To bring these ecological tensions to life, the course features hands-on projects in collaboration with the City of Vancouver, facilitated by City Studio, where students work on solutions currently sought by the City for the problem of rewilding Vancouver. These projects include guidance from City staff and an off-campus site visit. In order to complete course assignments, students will be required to conduct independent research outside the classroom. These activities may require travel by vehicle, public transit, cycling or on foot.


  • Analytical Paper on Nature Wars 40%
  • Class Participation 10%
  • City Studio Group Presentation 25%
  • Rewilding Research Paper 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 a 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.



Sterba, Jim (2012) Nature Wars. Broadway Books: New York.

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