Spring 2020 - SA 340 D100

Social Issues and Social Policy Analysis (SA) (4)

Class Number: 7343

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 6 – Apr 9, 2020: Mon, 1:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



How do environmental challenges, the contradictions of capitalism, and histories of violence shape contemporary life? How do social issues affect our identities, communities, and sense of belonging? Students learn how to wield sociological and anthropological concepts and theories through clear and analytical communication and writing.


Issues of Space, Place, Identity, and Belonging

“The spring semester! It was both aptly and inaptly named.” – Lorrie Moore, A Gate at the Stairs

In this course we will grapple with social issues by thinking at the intersections of place/space, belonging/exclusion, and visibility/invisibility. We will consider the contradictions of capitalism; the history of violence done to individuals and groups who live on the “margins”; environmental catastrophe and risks; the challenges of remembering difficult pasts and the way societies forget, among other social problems. In addition, we will interrogate the hierarchies of power and the variances of sexism, racism, and classism they produce. The aim of the course is for students to sharpen their understanding, imagination, and critical thinking with respect to social issues and analysis. With this focus, students should be able to wield sociological and anthropological concepts and theories, and to communicate and write clearly and analytically about social issues.


  • Participation, incl. short writing assignments 10%
  • Presentation/short formal paper 20%
  • Midterm paper (5-6 pgs.) 30%
  • Term paper (8-10 pgs.) 40%


Grading: Where a final exam is scheduled and the student does not write the exam or withdraw from the course before the deadline date, an N grade will be assigned. Unless otherwise specified on the course syllabus, all graded assignments for this course must be completed for a final grade other than N to be assigned. An N is considered as an F for the purposes of scholastic standing.

Grading System: The Undergraduate Course Grading System is as follows:

A+ (95-100) | A (90-94) | A- (85-89) | B+ (80-84) | B (75-79) | B- (70-74) | C+ (65-69) | C (60-64) | C- (55-59) | D (50-54) | F (0-49) | N*
*N standing to indicate the student did not complete course requirements

Academic Dishonesty and Misconduct Policy: The Department of Sociology & 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.

Centre for Accessible Learning: Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need classroom or exam accommodations are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (1250 Maggie Benston Centre) as soon as possible to ensure that they are eligible and that approved accommodations and services are implemented in a timely fashion.



Auge, M. (2019). No Fixed Abode: Ethnofiction. Reprint edition. Seagull Books.
ISBN: 978-0-857426345

Bauman, Z. (2006). Liquid Times: Living in an Age of Uncertainty. Polity.
ISBN: 978-0-745639871

Freeman, L. A. (2019). This Atom Bomb in Me. Redwood Press.
ISBN: 978-1-503606890

Hemon, A. (2019). My Parents: An Introduction / This Does Not Belong to You. MCD.
ISBN: 978-0-374217433

Rankine, C. (2014). Citizen: An American Lyric. Graywolf Press.
ISBN: 978-1-555976903

Additional readings will be posted on Canvas.

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