In Memoriam: Dr. Dorothy Smith

Jun 7 2022

Dorothy E. Smith 1926 – 2022 

Dorothy E. Smith, the renowned sociological thinker, feminist critic, teacher, and mentor at the centre of a large international network of scholarship, died in the early hours of Friday, June 3 after a fall the day before. She had been living in Vancouver, British Columbia.

Dorothy Smith was one of the first women to earn a Ph.D. at the University of California-Berkeley, in 1962. She taught at the University of British Columbia; the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto; and after retirement, at the University of Victoria in B.C. Her first book of many, The Everyday World as Problematic: A Feminist Sociology, was published in 1987; the most recent, Simply Institutional Ethnography, co-authored with the late Alison Griffith, was launched in May of 2022.

Smith’s feminist critique of sociological theory and methods led her to develop a sociology for (rather than about) women, which developed further as a sociology for people and came to be known as Institutional Ethnography. She was honoured with many accolades from universities and professional organizations throughout the world, including the CSA John Porter Award in 1990. In 2019 she received the Order of Canada. She will be missed by many who studied and worked with her, as well as those who knew her through her writing.

Memories of Dorothy and messages to her family can be posted at the following site:


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