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A Brief History of the Pacific Sociological Association

The Pacific Sociological Association (originally called the Pacific Southwest  Sociological Society and then a year later in 1930 the Pacific Sociological Society) was established in October 1929. A small group of sociologists was called together by Emory S. Bogardus of the Department of Sociology at the University of Southern California for the purpose of organizing the Society. The initial officers elected at this meeting were President Emory S. Bogardus (USC), Vice President William Kirk (Pomona College), Secretary/Treasurer L. D. Osborn (University of Redlands), and Program Chair George Day (Occidental College).

The charter members agreed that they had been in isolation at their respective institutions long enough. They embraced the idea of a colleague, Earle E. Eubank, who said, “where there is contact of human minds, there an association exists; where there is no contact, there is a state of isolation.” So the charter members decided to illustrate one of sociology’s basic concepts, “social interaction,” which they defined as “that dynamic interplay of forces in which contact between persons and groups results in a modification of the behavior of the participants.” As stated in the original constitution, the purpose and object of the Society was the promotion of both sociological research and the teaching of sociology in universities, colleges, community colleges, and high schools in the Pacific area. The first Annual Meeting (with a program) was held on January 25, 1930 in Los Angeles at the Alexandria Hotel.

You can read an account of the history of the PSA, 75 Years of the Pacific Sociological Association 1929-2004  by former Executive Director, Dean S. Dorn. Dean Dorn served as PSA Executive Director from 1993 - 2010 and maintains the PSA Archive at CSU Sacramento.

You can read a summary history of the PSA written by Dean Dorn, featured in the special double issue of The American Sociologist, 2014, volume 45(2-3).  


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