Summer 2019 - SA 327 D100

Sociology of Knowledge (S) (4)

Class Number: 2588

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2019: Mon, 9:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Aug 8, 2019
    Thu, 8:00–8:00 a.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



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


The relationship between social power and privilege and the ability to say what counts as knowledge has been revealed to have a particularly damaging impact—historically and currently—for categories of people, animals, and global ecology. This course unsettles common-sense frameworks of knowledge that normalize resource extraction and colonial state control of Indigenous territories. Colonialism functions in part because of the erasure of First Nations, Inuit and Métis presence and histories with the land. Students will have the opportunity to gain a much more nuanced understanding of B.C. and Canadian colonial history and issues relating to land and resource extraction as a result of this course.

This course will emphasize a sociological examination of western and Indigenous knowledge systems with a special focus on conflict relating to major energy extraction projects in British Columbia. We will consider the circumstances under which specific sectors of Western society have been successful in claiming legitimacy as the seekers and providers of knowledge. Debates about the possibilities for objectivity and truth within science have been extended and broadened by feminist, post-modern, post/de-colonial and queer discourses that have been particularly powerful in challenging the singular legitimacy of the scientific discourse in providing appropriate criteria for knowledge production and social policy.

Lectures on traditional western vs. alternative knowledge systems based in feminist science studies, ecological and de-colonial perspectives will be augmented by class presentations by Indigenous experts and documentary material.


  • Cooperative group research presentation 20%
  • Individual report on research presentation 20%
  • Midterm exam 30%
  • Final exam (take-home) 30%


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:



All readings are available via pdfs (Canvas, Library Reserves, links, or SFU Library e-books).

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site 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.