Spring 2020 - SA 386 D200

The Ethnography of Politics (SA) (4)

Class Number: 9027

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

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

  • Instructor:

    Jelena Golubovic
    Office Hours: Th 11:30-12:30
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



An examination of the ways in which ethnographers seek to understand a world experiencing profound changes in the relationships between governments and the societies they govern. Topics to be considered may include: relations between indigenous peoples and governments; the social and cultural dynamics of public policy making; the articulation of human rights issues. The focus of the course will vary from semester to semester.


This course explores complex political upheaval through ethnographic accounts of everyday life. Centring ethnography as a research method and a form of representation, we will explore how anthropologists can uncover localized sites of political engagement by attending to the micro-political dynamics of everyday life. Over the course of the semester, we will critically interrogate what counts as “the political,” reading theoretical and empirical texts to analyze themes such as displacement, humanitarianism, resistance, and citizenship.


  • Participation 15%
  • Short reflection papers (3 x 5%) 15%
  • Group facilitation 15%
  • Political portfolio 25%
  • Paper presentation 5%
  • Final research paper 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

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.



Allan, Diana. (2014). Refugees of the Revolution: Experiences of Palestinian Exile. Stanford University Press.

This book is available through the SFU Library here.
ISBN: 978-0-804774925

Hromadzic, Azra. (2015). Citizens of an Empty Nation: Youth and State-Making in Postwar Bosnia-Herzegovina. University of Pennsylvania Press.

This book is available through the SFU Library here.
ISBN: 978-0-812247008

Simpson, Audra. (2014). Mohawk Interruptus: Political Life Across the Borders of Settler States. Duke University Press.

This book is available online through the SFU Library here.
ISBN: 978-0-822356554

Ticktin, Miriam. (2011). Casualties of Care: Immigration and the Politics of Humanitarianism in France. University of California Press.

This book is available online through the SFU Library here.
ISBN: 978-0-520269057

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