Welcome to the School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies at the University of Ottawa. Our School was first established in 1955 as a Department of Sociology, which then became a Department of Sociology and Anthropology in 2006, with the introduction of undergraduate (2006) and M.A. in Anthropology (2010) programs, and finally transitioned to School status in 2014 by incorporating the multidisciplinary program in Social Sciences. The M.A. in Sociology program has been in existence for about 30 years, the Ph.D. in Sociology program has been offered since 2008, and our new Ph.D. in Anthropology program began in 2021. We have also developed a one-year Master's in Applied Sociology to better meet the needs of community and government workers. This is in addition to existing research master's degrees. At the undergraduate level, the General Social Sciences program offers a springboard for pursuing specialized studies or entering the job market more quickly. This year, we added a community and experiential component to this curriculum. Finally, as of May 2020, an undergraduate option in African Studies is offered. Our programs are generally offered in both French and English. The Ph.D. program requires fluency in French for admission. In all courses, you may write in the official language of your choice.
Sociology studies social phenomena and tries to understand and explain their regularities but also their ruptures; the meaning we give them and the power relationships that are established. Anthropology, on the other hand, studies human beings in all their social and cultural aspects. Each discipline therefore considers, from its own scientific and pedagogical practices, fundamental subjects such as the environment, health, food, technology, politics and ethics, ethnicity, racism, human rights, religion, social networks, and life courses...
The School has more than thirty regular professors and a network of some forty lecturers. These are qualified men and women who are committed to their profession. Part-time professors, visiting or substitute professors, and post-doctoral researchers add to the expertise of the regular professors. Many of us maintain networks or conduct research on all continents. Thanks to the quality and diversity of their training, the faculty members allow the School to offer a curriculum that reflects the major Western sociological and anthropological traditions, both North American and European, while opening up more and more to currents of thought rooted in the history and realities of other continents. The School wishes to offer students solid theoretical and methodological training at the cutting edge of knowledge and know-how, and a critical and informed outlook on current issues.
SSAS is a particularly dynamic and diversified environment representing a wide range of expertise and points of view that crosses our disciplines and allows us to address the many social challenges of our time. Thanks to the experience of our many professors, our School is also open to geographical areas such as Africa, Asia, Oceania, and Latin America, as well as to the study of Canadian and world Francophonies. In a transversal way, our School is part of the general movement of decolonization and autochthonization of programs, and we hope that it will constitute a space of dialogue and listening to intellectual exchanges that are both respectful and rigorous between students and professors in order to contribute together to a more egalitarian and just society.
Finally, I would like to acknowledge the hard work of the SSAS administrative staff. Their dedication, skills and ability to navigate the intricacies of university administration are invaluable.
It goes without saying that the pandemic has been an immense social laboratory. In the years to come, our disciplines will be called upon to understand both societies and individuals. Death, age, inequalities, gender, work, social ties, corporality, funeral rites, the city, it is impossible to list the issues raised and the practices shaken by two years of health measures. These are all avenues that can be explored with the professors of our School from several theoretical and methodological angles.
We are now faced with an uneven, uncertain return to the classroom. In our programs at least, courses will be either online or distance learning or in a bimodal format, which means that some people enrolled in the same course will be in class and others online. This is not ideal for faculty members, but it does allow students who prefer the experience of university life and those who prefer to stay home for one reason or another to take their courses. One can only hope that mandatory immunization for all who come to campus provides us with the opportunity for a greater return to face-to-face in the Winter 2022 term. The rest is out of our hands.
Students know that it is a challenge for us to learn yet another mode of teaching. Distance education is already yesterday's news for most of the School's members, at best. It's the same for them too. The newcomers, these boys and girls, have just gone through almost two years of the learning process of the Ontario and Quebec school systems as they go online. Many of the older ones are struggling to complete their studies and their thesis projects are in danger of being abandoned.
The challenge of being one in the pursuit of the same goal is an achievable one. All members of the SSAS share a concern for the success of the adventure. It is, of course, an experiment that we are all trying to work through together in a transparent and creative way.
Chair, School of Sociological and Anthropological Studies