Fall 2022 - HUM 350 B100

Special Topics: Great Figures in the Humanistic Tradition (4)

Carl von Clausewitz

Class Number: 3635

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 2:30 PM – 5:20 PM
    EDB 9651, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    45 units.



An interdisciplinary study of the life and works of an individual who has made a lasting contribution to the humanistic tradition in more than one field of endeavour (e.g. philosophy, politics, literature, economics, religion). This course may be repeated once for credit. Students with credit for this topic under another Humanities course number may not take this course for further credit. Breadth-Humanities.


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HUM 350: War, what is it good for?

"Everything in war is very simple, but the simplest thing is difficult." - Carl von Clausewitz

Carl von Clausewitz’s seminal work, On War, has fascinated both scholars and practitioners since he penned the work in the early 19th century. As On War is the foundational text on contemporary warfare, this should not come as a surprise. What is surprising, however, is how frequently scholars and practitioners misinterpret it in order to advance their own interests, with questionable results at best. To understand Clausewitz, one must return to both On War as well as examine the period in which he lived. Key questions for this class include: how did the historic context in which Clausewitz lived give rise to his perspective on war? What philosophical traditions did Clausewitz draw upon? What are some of the legacies of practitioners’ use of Clausewitz’s writings? By answering these questions and more, students will understand how a Prussian military officer, who was not particularly prominent during his time, came to be one of the most influential writers on the subject of war.


  • Two quizzes 30%
  • Paticipation 20%
  • Paper Proposal 10%
  • Final Paper 40%



All readings will be available through the SFU Library.

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