Spring 2023 - SA 443 E100

Ethnographic Sensibility in Action (A) (4)

Politics Affect & Emotion

Class Number: 6673

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 4 – Apr 11, 2023: Tue, 5:30–9:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Jie Yang
    1 778 782-4297
    Office: AQ 5056
    Office Hours: Tues 4:30-5:30pm by appointment
  • Prerequisites:

    Minimum of 72 units including either SA 101 or SA 150.



Selected Topics in Anthropology. Seminar exploring the topic through discussion, and developing original ideas that engage with anthropological theory and methods. Course topic varies with the instructor and section. See detailed course outline for more information. SA 443 may be repeated for credit only when a different topic is taught.


This course offers an overview of theories and research on emotion and affect, focusing particularly on the shift from locating emotions in the individual mind/psyche to anthropological, feminist, or poststructural accounts that understand what emotions do in their cultural, historical, and political contexts. It engages recent developments in the burgeoning interdisciplinary affect studies in order to examine the relation of both conscious and non-conscious emotive experience to social, economic, and political life. We address questions including: How have emotions and affect been defined and theorized? How might theorizing emotion and affect inform new modes of relationality, subject formation, and governing?  What is at stake in how we conceptualize emotions and affect in relation to race/ethnicity, class, gender, and agency in the era of global neoliberalism and technological domination? A central focus of this course will be what role emotion and affect might play in (indigenous and non-indigenous) psychological practice and mental health care. We will look at how sensibility, feeling, and affect have operated in the (bio)politics of diagnosing and treating mental health issues, including a consideration of the roles of the body, sensorial responses, and emotions such as fear, disgust, apathy, desire, love, empathy, and compassion in the process of affective care labor, therapeutic practice, and therapeutic governing.


Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to achieve the following:

  1. Ethnographic research methodology
  2. ethnographic sensibility
  3. skills for critical thinking/analysis/writing
  4. professional communication/presentation
  5. collaborative competency
  6. synthesis/application


  • Discussion Leadership and Participation 25%
  • Mid-term quiz 15%
  • Essay abstract/outline and peer-review exercise 5%
  • Final essay 55%


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.



Some of the readings in the syllabus are available as electronic resources through the Simon Fraser University library (URL to be posted). Other readings are available as PDF files on the website or email attachments sent by the instructor.


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