Summer 2021 - HUM 101W D100

Introduction to the Humanities (3)

Class Number: 3412

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Mo 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM

    Mo 2:30 PM – 4:20 PM



An introduction to issues and concepts central to the study of the Humanities. Through exposure to primary materials drawn from different periods and disciplines, students will become acquainted with a range of topics and ideas relating to the study of human values and human experience. Students with credit for HUM 101 may not take this course for further credit. Writing/Breadth-Humanities.


This course introduces students to the study of the Humanities, broadly understood as the study of the issues that arise from the human condition, as well as the ecologies of life of which humans are part.

What does it mean to live in a time of change? How is our sense of humanity shifting in the face of the many challenges before us? Do our choices in life reflect our existence? Or is our existence produced by such choices? Can we reimagine the idea of human politics as a space comprising different life-worlds? Are ideas of justice, equality, plurality, and happiness universal values or are they determined by particular historical conditions? How do love, reason, and the intellect help us in producing a more desirable future, or what ancient philosophers called “the good life”?

In this course we will delve into these and other questions through the tools of the Humanities. We will create an intimate space of reflection and discussion of different artifacts of culture, or what are generally termed ‘texts.’  Through the lens of literature, philosophy, ethics, history, artworks, and the social and natural sciences we will consider how the combining of different modes of thinking and inquiry can help us raise different provocative questions, can help us better understand the interconnectedness of cultures, traditions, and life-worlds, and help us forge different optics in order to reimagine a livable and more just future.

Readings will span across different cultural traditions, genres, and historical ages—from antiquity to the contemporary world, and from Europe, Africa, and the Middle East to the Inuit world of Canada. Artwork, one movie and one documentary will also be included in our discussions.


At the end of the course, students will be able to demonstrate their proficiency in the following activities:

  1. Read and analyze Humanities texts creatively and to academic standards.
  2. Place texts in their historical and cultural context.
  3. Analyze the function of Humanities texts in our world with respect to political and social relations as well as the well-being of individuals.
  4. Gain an understanding of the contribution of intellectual traditions to the shaping and interpretation of the contemporary world.
  5. Write about Humanities texts analytically by becoming proficient in modelling interpretation, linking claims to evidence, developing a thesis, structuring a paper, and using sources effectively.


  • Attendance and Participation 10%
  • Reading reports (3 X 1 page each min.) + Peer Response 15%
  • Paper 1 (2 Pages) 15%
  • Paper 2 (4 Pages) 20%
  • Midterm (take home) 30%
  • Zine 10%



  1. Plato, Apology (in The Last Days of Socrates) [philosophy]
    Penguin Classics, 2003
    ISBN-13 : 978-0140449280
  2. Shakespeare, Julius Caesar [theatre]
    Oxford Paperbacks, 2008
    ISBN-13 : 978-0199536122
  3. Jean Anouilh, Antigone [theatre]
    Ted Freeman
    Bloomsbury Methuen Drama, 2000
    ISBN-13 : 978-0413695406
  4. , The Nibelungenlied / The Lay of the Nibelungs [medieval epic]
    Trans. Cyril Edwards
    Oxford UP, 2010
    ISBN-13 : 978-0199238545
  5. Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Discourse on the Origin of Inequality [philosophy]
    Oxford UP, 2009
    ISBN-13 : 978-0199555420
  6. Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk, Sanaaq: An Inuit Novel [fiction]
    U of Manitoba P, 2014
    ISBN-13 : 978-0887557484

Additional readings provided through Canvas. 


  • Antigone (dir. Stellio Lorenzi, 1974) - play
  • A Little Black School (dir. Sylvia Hamilton, 2007) - documentary

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.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges 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. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112).