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A Brief History of CESA

The Canadian Ethnic Studies Association/Société Canadienne d'Études Ethniques  was formed in May of 1971 at the Biennial Conference of the Inter University Committee on Canadian Slavs (IUCCS). This change of names formally recognized the fact that under the leadership of Dr. Constantine Bida (who taught Slavic Studies at the University of Ottawa) and his executive, IUCCS had expanded well beyond its initial focus to include the study of all ethnic groups in Canada.  Organizers of that meeting included Dr. Bohdan R. Bociurkiw (Carleton), Dr. Wsevold Isajiw (University of Toronto), Senator Paul Yuzyk, and Dr. Cornelius Jaenen (University of Ottawa), who was elected the first president. Other members of the first executive were Prof. Robert Karpiak (Queen’s) secretary-treasurer, and Mr. Paul Migus, recording secretary.

The newly named association then undertook a membership drive, determined to expand its numbers to include academics and others from a wide range of disciplines. This effort was informed by a clear sense that an increasing number of scholars were doing groundbreaking and important research on ethnicity in Canada. The first CESA/SCÉE newsletter was published in May of 1973, and a national conference was held in Toronto in late October at the Park Plaza Hotel. The organization’s second executive was elected at that meeting, as follows: Dr. Wsevold Isajiw, President; Mr. Paul Migus (Ottawa), 1st Vice President; Dr. Raymond Breton (University of Toronto), 2nd Vice President; Mr. Norbert Hartmann (Toronto), Secretary-Treasurer.  Three executive members at large were also elected: Prof. Howard Palmer (University of Calgary), Prof. Andrew Gregorovich (Scarborough and Erindale Colleges); and Dr. Harold Troper (Ontario Institute for Studies in Education).  Under these leaders, CESA/SCÉE was able to secure some funding from the Department of the Secretary of State.  A constitution and By laws were drafted in 1974-75, and approved at the general meeting, which was held in Winnipeg in October, 1975. An amended Constitution and bylaws was adopted by the organization in October of 1992.  
In 1974, the organization assumed responsibility for the Canadian Ethnic Studies Journal, which had been published as a mimeograph by the Research Centre for Ethnic Studies at the University of Calgary under the direction of Dr. Clive Cardinal and Dr. Alec Malycky (both in Germanic and Slavic Studies). Dr. Howard Palmer became Associate editor, and later editor of the journal, which was first published in its present format in 1974. Mr. Brent Laycock, who has since become a well-known Alberta artist, designed the cover of the journal. Canadian Ethnic Studies remained at the University of Calgary under the joint editorship of Dr. James Frideres and Dr. Anthony Rasporich. Dr. Frideres continued as editor until journal operations moved to Winnipeg in 2005, when Dr Natalia Aponiuk assumed the position of editor.  

Although the members of the CESA Executive and Board have been based in various parts of Canada over the years, as of 2013 the Journal is once again located at the University of Calgary, where Drs. Lloyd Wong and Shibao Guo serve as co-editors. 

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