Summer 2021 - SA 321 D100

Social Movements (S) (4)

Class Number: 1935

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 12 – Jun 21, 2021: Tue, Thu, 4:30–8:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



A study of the sources, development and effects of social movements in transitional and modernized societies. Specific types of movements will be analysed.


In the mid-20th century, American sociologists and newspaper reporters identified what they perceived to be a new form of protest: actions by groups based not on class but on shared social features like race, ethnicity, gender, age and sexuality. These were soon called the “New Social Movements.”

What were these movements and how did they differ from previous forms of protest? Were they a uniquely American phenomenon, or did they share features with forms of protest occurring in other parts of the world (for example, the post-colonial revolutions in Northern and Western Africa and South East Asia, the student protests and general strikes in France, the Quebec sovereignty movement)?

In this course, we will examine the history of the idea of a “social movement” and consider how this designation restructured perceptions of earlier protest activities and, in turn, defined a paradigm for protests that follow. Students are invited to select any social movement to study as they develop their papers for the course, however, course readings will focus on a particular history of contestation by Africans and African Americans as the US emerged from its colonial status to form the first modern democratic state, and compare these with protests and movements by First Nations and Aboriginal persons in the post-WWII period, as well as forms of anarcho-primativism (African American, gay and cultural feminist “back to the land” movements) that idealized but existed in tension with First Nations self-determination movements, imagined homelands in Africa, and imaged matriarchal pasts.


In addition, to exploring the history and development of specific social movements, we will focus on several important academic skills: 1) developing paper topics; 2) conducting historical research; 3) identifying, explaining, comparing, and using different theoretical perspectives; and 4) selecting an analytical method that aligns well with a theoretical position.


  • Attendance and participation 15%
  • Introduction survey (instructor’s use only) 2%
  • Skills modules (4 x 5%) 20%
  • Content modules (4 x 7%) 28%
  • Presentations/Responses (5 x 3%) 15%
  • Short papers (4 x 5%) 20%


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.



All readings will be available through Canvas, the SFU Library, or otherwise online as noted.

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).