Fall 2023 - SA 451 E100

Issues in Anthropological Theory (A) (4)

Class Number: 2765

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    We 5:30 PM – 9:20 PM  2023-09-06  2023-12-05
    AQ 5028, Burnaby

  • Instructor:

    Pamela Stern
    1 778 782-4677
    Office Hours: Tuesdays, 10am-noon
  • Prerequisites:

    Minimum of 72 units including SA 301, a GPA of at least 3.25 and consent of the instructor.



A senior seminar on current perspectives in anthropological theory. Emphasis will differ from semester to semester.


SA451 is an advanced introduction to the social theories that inform contemporary anthropology. The course begins with an overview of some of the theorists and theories that underpin the historical development of our discipline (roughly until 1986). From there, we move onto a selection of major theoretical approaches employed by contemporary anthropologists. These include practice theory, feminism, poststructuralism, governmentality, embodiment, affect/emotion, political economy, subjectivity, settler-colonialism, and power.



At the end of this course students should be able to:

  • read advanced social theory and understand its applications to the generation of anthropological knowledge
  • be familiar with the historical development of anthropological theory
  • demonstrate professional presentation of knowledge
  • recognize how theoretical orientations shape knowledge production
  • select theories appropriate to exploring different research questions


  • Positionality essay 10%
  • Discussion leadership and regular participation 30%
  • Weekly reading journal 20%
  • Book review essay 40%


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!




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.