Fall 2023 - SA 351 D100

Crisis, Critique, and Marx's Capital (S) (4)

Class Number: 2832

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu, Th 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM  2023-09-06  2023-10-06
    BLU 10655, Burnaby

    Tu, Th 10:30 AM – 12:20 PM  2023-10-11  2023-12-05
    BLU 10655, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    SA 150.



Marx’s Capital is a central reference point across the social sciences. It has been maligned and criticized by many, but it has also inspired and guided the activities of numerous political parties, trade unions, social and revolutionary movements, and scholarly fields.


The study of Volume One of Marx's Capital is the sole objective of the course.  Without question, it is one of the most influential and studied texts in modern times. It has been central to the world's socialist revolutions and to the continuously developing critique of modern life. Since it was first published in 1867, the text has been maligned, plagiarized, dismissed, and ignored by supporters of the status quo, but it has also inspired and guided the activities of numerous political parties, trade unions, and social and revolutionary movements. It remains a constant and central reference point for much that is written in the social sciences, including economics, and for movements of social change.  Further rationale is hardly required for this concentrated study of Capital.


By the end of this course, students will have –

  • Studied one of the most influential and debated of modern texts,
  • Analyzed many of the key arguments/ideas that define the work of Marx,
  • Begun to understand the hegemonic ideology of everyday life, i.e., to think critically,
  • Encountered concepts that are layered and interrelated, rather than one-dimensional, isolated, and empirically descriptive,
  • Been introduced to the meaning of dialectical motion with respect to the capitalist mode of production,
  • Followed one long argument over many hundreds of pages, over an entire semester, advancing their ability to reason and appreciation of argumentation.


  • Mid-term paper (about 10 pages) 30%
  • Answers to guide questions 20%
  • Term (final) essay (15-20 pages) 50%


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.



Karl Marx, Capital, Volume One, New York: Vintage Books, 1977 or Penguin Books

[There are many editions of Capital, but this is the one we will be using, and the page references in the study Notes are those in this edition. The Vintage and Penguin editions are identical.]


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at: shop.sfu.ca/course-materials/my-personalized-course-materials.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website 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


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the semester are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.