Summer 2019 - SA 396 D900

Selected Regional Areas (SA) (4)

Urban Life in South Asia

Class Number: 4755

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2019: Wed, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Bascom Guffin
    Office: SUR 5187
    Office Hours: TH 12:00-13:00
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



An examination of selected aspects of social structure, culture and processes of social change in a specific regional area. The focus will vary from term to term.


South Asia is an especially dynamic region of the world, and it is urbanizing at a rapid pace. South Asia’s cities are complex places, bringing together people from a diversity of ethnic, economic, political, and religious backgrounds, many of them experiencing urban life for the first time. As in other cities around the world, this mix can create conflict, but it also generates a plethora of new socialities, alliances, and lifeways. This course considers the role of South Asian cities as fertile grounds for new relationships and ways of being. We will do this by examining, among other things: spatial contestations, new class relations, the variegated and shifting roles of women, rhythms of daily life, and expressions of religion and spirituality—all of these as both made by and generative of the rise of an urban South Asia. 


The goal of the course is to help you develop a deeper understanding of cities in contemporary South Asia and to extend and deepen your analytical skills, particularly in thinking about issues of everyday life. We approach this project as partners, and will be insightful and generous critics to the material and each other.


  • Participation and attendance 20%
  • Weekly reading responses 20%
  • Midterm paper 25%
  • Final paper 35%


Grading: Grades in this class will be based on a percentage scale. Reading responses will not be accepted after 9:00 a.m. the Tuesday before class; late submissions for 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. With the exception of reading responses, all 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 required readings will be available through Canvas, the SFU Library, or online as noted.

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.