Spring 2024 - SA 350 D100

Classical Sociological Thought (S) (4)

Class Number: 1956

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Jan 8 – Apr 12, 2024: Fri, 12:30–4:20 p.m.

  • Instructor:

    Yildiz Atasoy
    1 778 782-5520
    Office Hours: Fridays 4:30 - 5:30 pm (By appointments only)
  • Prerequisites:

    SA 250.



An examination of aspects of the work of one or more of the nineteenth or early twentieth century sociological theorists.


This course covers the first one hundred years of sociological theorizing from the 1830s to the 1930s. The classical tradition of sociological thought emerged from the writings of leading theorists during and before that period. Among these theorists are Rene Descartes, Thomas Hobbes, John Locke, Adam Smith, Thomas Malthus, Karl Marx, Max Weber, and Emile Durkheim. The course examines the earliest concepts, theories, and methods of sociology found in the writings of these thinkers, as well as the more recent writings of Karl Polanyi. Through a focused reading, critical analysis, in-depth class discussion, historical investigation, international news and film materials we will compare and contrast their thoughts on the processes of European capitalism (capital accumulation and rationalization), and restructuring of social classes, the organization of state power and political alliances, cultures and social inequality, and planetary life. Throughout the semester this course will provide a deep-history perspective on humans and capital within the web of life in an effort to rethink politics and address the historical and global dimensions of social change. In doing so, we will clarify the connections between the old, historically established Euro-American hegemonies and colonializations of life on earth, and today’s global processes of neoliberalization throughout the world. This should also help us to explore knowledge forms which stand outside Euro-American centric thinking and present transformational possibilities for greater biospheric coherence and integrity.


  • Written summary 15%
  • Written commentary 10%
  • Class presentation 30%
  • Critical journals 25%
  • Presenting the international news of the week 5%
  • Participation in Class 8%
  • Participation in weekly discussions on Canvas 7%


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.



- Textbook: Laura Desfor Edles and Scott Appelrouth (2021). Sociological Theory in the Classical Era: Text and Readings, edition 4. Thousand Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press.

- Other Course Readings: Available on Canvas, online, and through SFU Library.


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