History of PSA

History of the PSA

PSA history book


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.

An account of the history of the PSA, Seventy-Five Years of the Pacific Sociological Association 1929-2004, by former Executive Director, Dean S. Dorn, is available from the PSA Office. Limited copies.  Find out more than you want to know about the history, struggles, challenges, and successes of this voluntary association. The PSA is the oldest regional association and has had an event-filled past.  Only $15, and all proceeds go to the PSA Endowment Fund!

You can read a summary history of the PSA written by Dean Dorn, featured in the special double issue of The American Sociologist .