Spring 2020 - SA 359 D100

Special Topics in Anthropology (A) (4)

St-Psychological Anthropology

Class Number: 7401

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

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

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



Explores a topic in Anthropology not regularly offered by the department.


Psychological Anthropology

This course introduces psychological anthropology, the study of psychological topics primarily using anthropological concepts and methods but also incorporates input from psychological science. Its topics include common mental concepts such as identity, subjectivity, memory, emotion, cognition, and mental health. These topics boil down to several fundamental questions: what is the nature of the mind? What is the role of psychology in culture, society, and politics? How does psychology intersect with race, class, gender, and other pressing concerns of our time?

Psychological anthropology is sometimes torn between two methodological orientations—psychological science that seeks objective, universal laws with the aid of experimentation and quantification; and anthropology that searches for meaning in contexts through ethnographic exploration. By comparing these two approaches, this course examines the diversity of mental phenomena as mediated by culture.

Further, by comparing psychological science and anthropology, this course teases out the epistemology and politics of knowledge production. For this purpose, it asks the questions: why do we choose a certain research method over others? What are the sociopolitical implications of a particular type of knowledge? How do we relate our own cultural background and personal experience to knowledge? These questions require us to exercise reflexivity, a critical thinking process that guides us to better produce/apply knowledge.


  • Discussion leadership and participation 20%
  • Group presentation 10%
  • Midterm quiz 10%
  • Essay proposal 10%
  • Final essay 25%
  • Final exam (non-cumulative) 25%


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.



This course does not assign a single textbook. Each week’s reading will be comprised of two or three journal articles/chapters.

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