Fall 2019 - SA 402 D100

Turning Ideas into Action in the World (A) (4)

Class Number: 3891

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Sep 3 – Dec 2, 2019: Wed, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Bascom Guffin
    Office: AQ 5080
    Office Hours: We: 12:00-13:00 or by appointment
  • Prerequisites:

    Minimum of 72 units including SA 101 or 150 or 201W. Recommended: At least two upper division courses in anthropology.



Examines ways we can bring our anthropological and sociological skills, knowledges, and imaginations to bear in the world outside the academy, particularly in the realms of work and activism. Uses a praxis-based approach, wherein students actively apply their knowledge to practical issues while also reflecting on the process of doing so.


This course centres on the ways that we as anthropologists and other social scientists can practice our skills outside the academy and in service of addressing specific social issues. Anthropology offers a unique set of methods and theoretical lenses with which to assess and address a wide variety of societal problems. Its focus on in-depth experiential knowledge along with a reflexivity about the position of the researcher lends itself to sensitivity and nuance in the attention and analysis an anthropologist applies to his or her subject of focus. Through readings, class discussions, and hands-on ethnography, we will examine how we might bring anthropological theories and methods to bear to positively impact society. We will consider how anthropological methods can be applied in a variety of institutional, community, and political contexts, as well as with a series of broad thematic issues that applied anthropologists work on. The major project of this course will be a substantive group ethnography aimed at an issue in the Lower Mainland. Along with your field findings and analysis, you will be asked to critically and reflexively examine the process of conducting fieldwork as part of a team.


  • Class participation and attendance 10%
  • Weekly reading responses 15%
  • Group project proposal 5%
  • Group project report 20%
  • Group project presentation 10%
  • Group project poster 10%
  • Team evaluation 10%
  • Individual praxis reflection and analysis 20%


Grading: 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.    


Grades in this class will be based on a percentage scale. Reading responses will not be accepted after 12 noon on the day before class; late submissions for all other assignments will result in a grade reduction of 5 percentage points per day, unless you present documentation for a medical reason or other significant emergency. Unless otherwise specified on the course outline, all graded assignments in this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned.



All required readings are available through Canvas, the SFU Library, or online.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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