Spring 2022 - SA 371 D100

The Environment and Society (SA) (4)

Class Number: 2797

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 10 – Apr 11, 2022: Mon, 2:30–5:20 p.m.

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 101 or 150 or 201W.



An examination of environmental issues in their social context. Environmental issues are on the leading edge of contemporary public concern and public policy debates. This course will examine such issues as the relationship between social organization and mode of subsistence, the politics of hunger, and the way in which human societies in their particular social, historical, and cultural contexts view and interact with the natural world.


This courses investigates the sociology of environmental crises that are upending human and non-human lives in Vancouver and around the world. It is not a course about
the science of climate change, habitat devastation and mass extinction––it takes key scientific findings on these environmental travesties, and the need to act, as a given. Rather, Environment and Society explores the social, political and technological factors behind a collapsing global environment, and how we can avert disaster on a path towards ecological resilience and environmental justice. Fundamentally, this course asks, what is ‘the environment’ really worth? In an individualistic era of neoliberal finance capitalism, how can we politically elevate, value and protect more-than-human environments and ecologies as common goods? Through a unique and sociologically rigorous approach to these questions, this course explores different ‘shades’ of environmentalism coloured by decolonization, urban planning and emerging technologies, social equity, market ‘solutions’ and non-anthropocentric ways of practising and politicizing ecology (e.g. animal rights). Students will grapple with these competing approaches by exploring a variety of local sites and real world struggles
over, for example, oil and gas pipelines and protests, animal captivity and control, connecting people to nature via ‘wilderness’ parks, Indigenous sovereignties and the production of sustainable, non-car mobilities. The course kicks off by thinking about environmental politics after COVID and the different ways we might actually want to be against environmentalism. Students will leave the course not only with new conceptual and methodological tools to help advance environmental policy, planning and advocacy, but
also with a deeper understanding of why––and why not––environments become valuable and political in the first place. Some classes may require going outside on campus; please come prepared with suitable clothing and footwear.


  • Class Participation & Participation Submissions 25%
  • Cross-World ‘Position Paper’ Essay 30%
  • Final Auto-Ethnographic Case Study Study Paper 45%


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 Honesty and Student Conduct Policies: The Department of Sociology & Anthropology follows SFU policy in relation to grading practices, grade appeals (Policy T20.01), and academic honesty and student conduct procedures (S10‐S10.05). 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.

The Sociology and Anthropology Student Union, SASU, is a governing body of students who are engaged with the department and want to build the SA community. Get involved!  Follow Facebook and Instagram pages or visit our website.



All readings available on CANVAS

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 spring 2022 will involve primarily in-person instruction, with safety plans in place.  Some courses will still be offered through remote methods, and if so, this 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 spring 2022 term.