Baptist Sociology and the Social Gospel in Canada

Monday, 16 July 2018: 15:54
Oral Presentation
Jesse CARLSON, Acadia University, Canada
Helmes-Hayes (2016) has documented a generation of 'social gospel' influenced sociology (1889-1921) in Canadian Protestant universities and colleges prior to the conventionally noted establishment of the first Canadian sociology department at McGill in the 1920s. This paper provides additional documentation and detail to this account on the basis of archival research at Acadia University and Brandon University, two Baptist colleges, now universities, both with traditions of sociology beginning before McGill's departmental founding. The paper discusses early 20th century connections between these provincial colleges and their urban Baptist big brothers, the University of Chicago and McMaster University, via biographical sketches of early significant figures such as Shirley Jackson Case, Duncan MacGibbon, W. Burton Hurd, and Peter George Mode. Finally, the paper critically assesses some links between sociology and the social gospel as these developed throughout the 20th century.

The critical assessment of the relationship between early Canadian sociology and the social gospel is divided into two parts. First, the paper discusses the 'social gospel' content (or lack thereof) of early (1900-1930) course offerings and reading lists, as well as the publications by the instructors for these courses. Second, the paper discusses connections between early Canadian sociology and two specific political events, the 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, and the involvement of Brandon College alumni Tommy Douglas and Stanley Knowles in the 1930s founding of the Co-operative Commonwealth Federation (now the New Democratic Party of Canada).