Fall 2021 - GEOG 440 D100

Property, Land, Society (4)

Class Number: 4312

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Fr 12:30 PM – 2:20 PM
    WMC 2200, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Nicholas Blomley
    1 778 782-3713
    Office: RCB 7131
    Office Hours: TBA
  • Prerequisites:

    60 units, including eight of upper division geography.



An examination of property, particularly in relation to land, with an emphasis on its social, political, and spatial dimensions. Students with credit for GEOG 440W may not take this course for further credit.


Course Details: This class will explore the ownership of land. Property relations are immensely important, shaping opportunities, identities and practice. Property is a crucial means by which we make space and place.  What is property? How is it categorized? Who gets to have it, and with what effect?  The broad goal of this class is to understand property, unpack its social and political dimensions, and consider its territorial qualities. We will explore its different forms, when held privately, by groups or by the state. In particular, we will explore how property relations create unequal access to shelter, privileging some, while creating dependency and vulnerability for others

We will consider these issues through concrete local and international examples. Topics may include gentrification, indigenous property and the BC treaty process, enclosure and the commons, street uses and municipal property, and everyday understandings of property

The format of the class will be seminar-based, with lectures and group discussion based on assigned readings. This will be supplemented by films, and the insights of visiting speakers.

There will be no tutorials the first week of class.


  • Participation (i.e. attendance, preparation for seminar assignments, involvement with class discussions) 20%
  • 3 mini papers 30%
  • Group teach in 30%
  • Individual final report 20%



Required and recommended readings will be made available through the library. Instructor resources will also be made available to students.

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


Teaching at SFU in fall 2021 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with approximately 70 to 80 per cent of classes in person/on campus, with safety plans in place.  Whether your course will be in-person or through remote methods will be clearly identified in the schedule of classes.  You will also know at enrollment whether remote course components will be “live” (synchronous) or at your own pace (asynchronous).

Enrolling in a course acknowledges that you are able to attend in whatever format is required.  You should not enroll in a course that is in-person if you are not able to return to campus, and should be aware that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who may need class or exam accommodations, including in the context of remote learning, are advised to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning (caladmin@sfu.ca or 778-782-3112) as early as possible in order to prepare for the fall 2021 term.