facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo Youtube logo

Join Our Email List

Congress 2015


CSA members are now entitled to a 30% discount off all Canadian Scholars' Press book purchases when you order through cspi.org. To take advantage of your discount, email the title and ISBN of your requested book to orders@cspi.org and mention your CSA membership. CSPI will automatically invoice you at 30% off the cover price. Orders can also be placed by phone at 416-929-2774 ext. 10. To view the Canadian Scholars' Press catalog, visit www.cspi.org.

About the CSA / A propros de la SCS

Introduction to the Canadian Sociological Association

Prior to 2012, office space for the CSA was located in Montreal, where the Association benefited from a longstanding history of support from the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Concordia University. The association and the department were founded almost concurrently. The CSA journal, the Canadian Review of Sociology commenced publication in 1964, as the Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology. The Concordia Department of Sociology and Anthropology was founded in the same year, within the then-named Sir George Williams University. A year later, the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association was founded, becoming the Canadian Sociology Association in 2007. An article from the Concordia Department of Sociology and Anthropology publication Fieldnotes for Spring 2010 (Congress Edition, Volume 33, Number 2) relates some details of this early history in the following passage:

Meanwhile, the Association was in the midst of transforming itself from the Anthropology and Sociology chapter of the Canadian Political Science Association to a separate association. The first Annual meeting was held in 1966 at the Université de Sherbrooke. With about 50 of the 89 members attending the business meeting, the constitution was approved, sub-committees were established, and the first CSAA executive was elected. Those who created the Sociology and Anthropology department at Sir George Williams University—Harold Potter, Kurt Jonassohn, Hubert Guindon, and John Jackson—also played important roles in the early development of the CSAA and its journal, the Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology . Within the first 7 years Sir George was established as the administrative home for the Association and Concordia has generously followed that tradition to the present time. In fact, since 1971 the secretary treasurer (and then treasurer) has always been a member of the Sociology and Anthropology Department working closely with the Director who staffs the main office.

A closer look at those early days, with a good account of the activities of the Anthropological and Sociological chapter of the Canadian Political Science Association in the mid-1950s, appears in an article by Frank E. Jones (see below for source). “Sociology was a thin patch in Canada until late in the 1950s,” Jones notes, but grew rapidly during the 1960s.

Along with its academic journal, the Canadian Review of Sociology, the CSA has at most times over its history produced a less formal publication for specifically professional news and concerns. This began as the CSAA Bulletin, essentially a newsletter, becoming a larger publication called Society-Société in the late 1970s. In the summer of 2010 we substituted the CSA E-Bulletin, a shorter publication more like the original Bulletin, published in electronic form only and designed to recognize that much of the news and records of the CSA now appear on the website. As of 2010 the CSA completely re-designed its website and appointed a Communications Officer to keep the site modern in its look and up-to-date in its content.

The CSA holds an Annual Conference (previoulsy referred to as the the “Annual Meeting”) in late May to early June each spring, held in conjunction with the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada. Due to the partnership with the Federation, the book fair at our conference is especially rich in offerings from publishers. The CSA Annual Conference has a tradition of being especially welcoming to graduate students. A goodly number of papers at the conference are by current senior graduate students at Canadian universities, reporting on their dissertation research.

The Association recognizes the accomplishments of its members with several awards which are presented at an Awards Ceremony held at the annual Conference. Of particular note are the John Porter Tradition of Excellence Book Award recognizes each year an outstanding published scholarly contribution, within the Porter tradition, to the advancement of sociological knowledge in Canada and the Outstanding Contribution Award which recognizes the career-long work of colleagues who have significantly contributed to sociology in Canada. 

The CSA has several subcommittees intended to advance the collective interests of sociologists in Canada. The Policy, Ethics and Professional Concerns (PEPC) Subcommittee is responsible for the CSA code of ethics, approved by the old CSAA in June 1994, and up-dated again in June 2012. The PEPC advises on social policy or ethical issues upon which the CSA might want to take a public position. The Research Advisory Subcommittee represents the Association on issues such as giving a CSA opinion on SSHRC priorities and practices or on matters pertaining to Statistics Canada. The Equity Subcommittee formed in 2011 replaces the previous Subcommittees which specifically monitored women in sociology and issues of racism. Finally the Student Concerns Subcommittee recognizes the importance of graduate students within the CSA membership.

Brym (2003) has noted the challenges that disciplinary associations in Canada face against competing attractions. Compared with the early days described by Frank Jones, the CSA is a large and successful association. Compared with what the CSA could be, there is much to be done. The CSA is for people who think Canada should be a nation-state separate from the United States, a nation-state with a body of sociologists who both participate in sociology at the North American and global level and who give priority to the needs of Canadian society for the best sociological analysis we can give. If this is your agenda too, join us!

Sources for Further Background on the CSA and Canadian Sociology:

Baer, Doug. 2005. “On the crisis in Canadian Sociology: comment on McLaughlin.” The Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 491-502.

Brym, Robert J. 2003. “The decline of the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association.” The Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol. 28, No. 3, pp. 411-416.

Jones, Frank E. 1990. Establishing the Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association (CSAA). Society-Société, Vol. 14, No. 3 (May), pp. 30-37.

McLaughlin, Neil. 2005. “Canada’s impossible science: historical and institutional origins ofhte coming crisis in Anglo-Canadian sociology.” The Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol. 30, No. 1, pp. 1-40.

McLaughlin, Neil. 2006. “Wither the future of Canadian sociology? Thoughts on moving forward.” The Canadian Journal of Sociology, Vol. 31, No. 1, pp.107-130.

Shaver, Frances M. 2010. Fieldnotes: Concordia University’s Department of Sociology and Anthropology Newsletter. “From the Chair.” Vol. 33, No. 2, “Congress Edition 2010.”


This webpage content revised August 7, 2012