Summer 2021 - SA 350 D100

Classical Sociological Thought (S) (4)

Class Number: 1925

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 12 – Aug 9, 2021: Wed, 9:30 a.m.–1:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Agnes MacDonald
    Office Hours: By appointment via Zoom, Skype, FaceTime, etc.
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 250.



An examination of aspects of the work of one or more of the nineteenth or early twentieth century sociological theorists.


This course engages classical sociological theorists’ works. Students will gain a broader understanding of sociological theories, concepts and meaning-making through focused reading of original texts by some of the most important figures from the beginnings of the discipline. We will compare and contrast their perspectives of functionalism, conflict, symbolic interactions, feminist thoughts, and the self on the processes of commodification, restructuring of social classes, the organization of the state and the individual, women’s positions in society, social inequality, as well as the possibility of social cohesion and more. Through our critical analyses of these texts an in-depth class discussions, pair-presentations, researching and writing, students will develop a deeper sociological understanding of the historical times and contexts of these thinkers and their works. In doing so, we will discuss how theory can be utilized as a tool for organizing existing knowledges about the world. In turn, we can grasp the internal logic of a theory and how that theory applies to real social processes and to history, especially given the recent shifts in political cultures across the globe. The aim of this course is to foster critical reflection and independent thought grounded in classical sociological ideas.  


The objective of this course is to further build students’ knowledge about sociological theory:

  • To foster ability for critically reading original texts by classical sociologists which will enable students to deepen their sociological understanding of the given historical contexts
  • To question assumptions underlying classical sociological thought
  • To enhance students’ ability for articulating theoretical frameworks in their own works


  • Participation 10%
  • Reading responses (3 x 5%) 15%
  • Midterm exam 30%
  • Pair presentation 10%
  • Final research paper 35%


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 and 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.



Please see SFU Bookstore website for information on textbook purchase options.


Lemert, C. (2017). Social Theory: The Multicultural, Global and Classic Readings. Sixth Edition. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. 
ISBN: 978-0-367319502

Additional 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).