S.D. Clark Symposium on the Future of Canadian Society

View of Hart House on the University of Toronto St. George Campus"I have wanted to look at what is wrong with society as well as what is right; to look at the way old established structures  of a society broke down as well as the way new structures came into being. In a word, the interest has been in the problem of change rather than in the problem of order." - S.D. Clark

S.D. Clark was the first chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto and a key figure in establishing the discipline of sociology in Canada. 


Professor Paula England's lecture discussed trends in gender inequality over the last 50 years, showing how movement toward gender equality will only occur if there is substantial institutional and cultural change , involving men’s participation in household and care work, governmental provision of childcare, and employer policies that reduce gender discrimination and help both men and women combine jobs with family care responsibilities.

In the fifth annual S.D. Clark Symposium, Professor David Williams will present an overview of persistent socioeconomic and racial/ethnic health disparities. The presentation will highlight scientific evidence linking distinct social exposures to racial status and the role of policies in creating health inequities. It will emphasize how one's location significantly impacts access to opportunities and how the accumulation of various stressors, including discrimination, adversely affects physical and mental health. The presentation will also explore interventions to enhance medical care, reduce stress, and mitigate health effects, while improving job opportunities, housing, and neighborhood conditions to eliminate racial/ethnic health gaps.

PDF iconView poster of the 2023 event (PDF).

The S.D. Clark Symposium on the Future of Canadian Society honours his memory by bringing together top social scientists both from the University of Toronto and elsewhere around the world to discuss issues of importance for Canada. The 2018 S.D. Clark Symposium on the Future of Canadian Society will be the fourth annual symposium. Contributors include Robert Brym, Howard Ramos, Catherine Corrigall-Brown, Lesley Wood, and Tina Fetter, with Anna Slavina serving as the discussant. The Proceedings of the first three symposia have been published by Rock's Mills Press and are available for purchase using the PDF icon Proceedings Order Form (PDF) or online at the Rock's Mill Press website.

PDF iconView poster of the 2018 event (PDF).

Canadian identity, governmentality, and security are affected by both the permeability and the strengthening of national borders and personal boundaries. In this symposium, leading figures in the study of borders and boundaries—sociologists, political scientists, and geographers—analyze and debate the contested Arctic, the securitization of the Canada/U.S. border, and the Internet’s threat to personal sovereignty. Participants include John Hannigan, Ron Deibart, Heather Nicol, Klaus Dodds, Alison Mountz, and Emily Gilbert. PDF iconView poster of the 2017 event (PDF).

“A spectre is haunting Europe and the United States—the spectre of immigration.” So begins Robert Brym’s introduction to the second volume of proceedings of the annual S.D. Clark Symposium. Contributors Richard Alba, Jeffrey G. Reitz, Naomi Lightman, Monica Boyd, Patricia Landolt, and Salina Abji consider the social and political effects and implications of immigration, both from a comparative perspective and with a specific focus on the Canadian experience in the early years of the twenty-first century. The result is a thought-provoking examination of one of the most important issues of our time. PDF iconView poster of the 2016 event (PDF).

S.D. Clark, the first chair of the Department of Sociology at the University of Toronto, was one of Canada’s leading sociologists in the middle years of the twentieth century. Late in his career, he conducted research on how economic change in Canada resulted in inequality as reflected in patterns of residential segregation. The First S.D. Clark Symposium picked up where Clark left off by focusing on income inequality and its implications. Contributors include Robert Andersen, Lars Osberg, Ito Peng, Gordon Cleveland, John Myles, and Emily Laxer, with Robert Brym’s introduction providing an overview of the subject. PDF iconView poster for the 2015 event (PDF).