“Building the New Jerusalem in Canada’s Green and Pleasant Land”: The Social Gospel and the Roots of English-Language Academic Sociology in Canada, 1889-1921
Keywords:social gospel, religion, history of sociology, Canada, intellectuals
AbstractAccording to the conventional account of the history of English-Canadian sociology, the discipline was established in the 1920s at McGill, followed by developments at Dalhousie, Toronto and elsewhere. I dispute this account by documenting the substantial institutional footprint of so-called “social gospel” sociology in Canada’s Protestant universities and religious colleges, 1889-1921: courses taught; faculty appointments made; programs established. Between 1889 and 1921, 28 men, many of them clerics, taught sociology for two years or more in one of Canada’s English-language universities or Protestant denominational colleges. By 1921, 11 institutions offered sociology courses, 7 institutions had made a dedicated faculty appointment in sociology, and 8 institutions offered a program in sociology. In most cases, their teaching reflected the political – but not theological – principles of the social gospel. I argue that these men are the true pioneers of Canadian sociology and that we should rewrite the first chapter of Canadian sociology to give them their due.
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