"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

By Helmes-Hayes, Rick | Canadian Journal of Sociology, Winter 2016 | Go to article overview

"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


Helmes-Hayes, Rick, Canadian Journal of Sociology


Introduction

In 'A Full-Orbed Christianity' Nancy Christie and Michael Gauvreau claim that sociology was "almost totally absent" from the curricula of Canadian universities prior to 1920 (1996: 75). And for years that has been the dominant conception English-language sociologists have held of the history of their discipline. Thus, accounts of the history of English-language academic sociology have all but skipped over the period before 1922, when Carl Dawson was hired at McGill, on the grounds that there is no story to tell. According to this standard chronicle, the pioneers of Canadian university sociology were Carl Dawson and Everett Hughes at McGill, Samuel Henry Prince at Dalhousie, and, somewhat later, S.D. Clark at Toronto (see e.g. re Dawson: Wilcox-Magill 1983; Helmes-Hayes 1985, 1994; Shore 1987; re Prince: Hatfield 1990; re Clark: Hiller 1980, 1982; Harrison 1981, 1983; Campbell 1983c, Nock 1983, 1986). Some sources make passing reference to something called "social gospel sociology" that was taught at a few Protestant denominational colleges early in the century, but historians of the discipline have not paid it detailed attention (Tomovic 1975; Hiller 1982: 8-11; Campbell 1983a; Helmes-Hayes 1985, 2003a; Shore 1987: 75-80; Brym 1989: 15-16; Valverde 1991: 54, 129; Christie and Gauvreau 1996: 75-6, 83-4, 89; Semple 1996: 274, 351, 375, 393; Cormier 1997). (2) For all intents and purposes, the period before 1922 has been treated as a footnote, a part of what Robert Brym has referred to as the discipline's "pre-history" (1989: 15). S. D. Clark dismisses their contribution on the grounds that, in his view at least, they proved irrelevant to the later development of the discipline. "It could hardly be claimed ... that sociology in Canada today owes anything much to the influence of these early sociological pioneers" (1975: 225). (3)

My archival research shows unequivocally that this account should be amended. Data from university calendars and sundry university and church archival sources regarding 1/ courses taught, 2/ faculty members appointed, and 3/ programs in sociology established, demonstrates that Dawson, Hughes and Prince were not, even in the 1920s, the lonely trailblazers we have understood them to be. It is true that Dawson and Hughes established the first large-scale, systematic program of university-based empirical research (4)--Dawson's work on the city, immigration, and Prairie settlement; Hughes' work on industrialization and ethnic relations in Quebec--but in terms of teaching sociology, Dawson, Hughes and Prince were latecomers. By 1921, the year before Dawson was hired, sociology was on the curriculum of eleven English-language Canadian universities and colleges. At seven of those institutions, a named appointment, sometimes temporary, had already been made. (5) By the time Dawson was appointed at McGill, 28 men had already taught sociology for two years or more in one of Canada's English-language universities or colleges. (6) It is this group of men who are the true pioneers of academic sociology in English Canada and it is these men who are the subject of this essay.

Most of these individuals (20 of 28) taught in Protestant theological colleges and denominational schools. Given the high cultural profile and personal salience of religion at the time, and the institutional setting in which most of these sociological pioneers worked, the sociology they taught was often influenced by the social gospel. For most of them, sociology was religious in inspiration and tone and reformist and applied in nature. Their goal was to "Christianize" Canada--to "build the New Jerusalem in Canada's green and pleasant land" (Calvert 2009: 4)--and sociology was a means to that end. Some of those who taught in secular institutions were not as greatly influenced by the specifically religious motivations of so-called "social gospel" sociology as their counterparts who taught at denominational institutions, but they too were often interested in the role sociology could play in helping to understand and remedy social and economic problems of the period. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

"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
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.