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Submitted by admin on Wed, 11/21/2007 - 3:47pm

  

The Department of Sociology at the University of Calgary is among the top rated research

oriented departments in the country. Our programs at all levels emphasize core knowledge

in classical and contemporary social theories, social statistics and diverse sociological methods.

In addition, the faculty has a wide range of substantive interests.

Around the Department

Dr. George Kurian (1928-2018)

Professor Emeritus, University of Calgary

              George began life with ten siblings on a plantation in India owned by his father. He was encouraged by his family to further his education and attended the University of Bombay where he graduated in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts, Economics, History, Political Science, English and Malayalam Language. After graduation, George took a trip to London, where he met some students from the Hague who encouraged him to apply to the Institute of Social Studies. He did so and was admitted in 1953 and went on to obtain a Master of Arts degrees: Sociology and Economics, in 1955 and a Master of Social Sciences in Sociology (1956).  After returning to India and rather than manage the agricultural properties in Kerala State, he returned to Europe in 1958 to obtain his PhD in Sociology at the State University of Utrecht, Utrecht, Netherlands in 1961.  His dissertation, The Indian Family in Transition: A Case Study of Kerala Syrian Christians, was internationally recognized and was published that same year by Mouton & Co.

             After completing his doctoral program, Dr. Kurian returned to India and took a position at an Agricultural college, Hyderabad in the Rural Sociology Department.  In 1963, Dr. Kurian took a position as Lecturer and Acting Head in the Department of Asian Studies at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.  He was also attached to the Centre for Asian Studies.  After three years of teaching at Victoria University, Dr. Kurian moved to Canada and became an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of Calgary. He remained at the University of Calgary for the remainder of his career although he was a visiting professor at the University of Kerala in 1980.  He was named professor in 1976 and was given the title of Emeritus Professor when he retired in 1995.

Dr. Jean E. Wallace, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Sociology, Faculty of Arts and a co-principal investigator with Carr on this study. Carr and Wallace met more than two years ago when they collaborated to create a graduate level course in mixed methods research at UCalgary. Wallace was studying job stress, coping and mental health of veterinarians at the time, and the two immediately found parallels in their shared interest of human-animal bonds and coping with chronic pain.

“We know that living with chronic pain can lead to depression but also if you’re depressed, you’re going to view the experience of living with chronic pain with a more negative light as well,” says Wallace. “Even if we can’t reduce the pain, if we can reduce depression and improve mental health, there are benefits in terms of looking at how you get up in morning and want to do things. Some people we interviewed were suicidal; they were thinking about taking their own lives but what stopped them was having a dog and having to care for that creature. Having a dog is so central to giving them a meaning and purpose.”

Dr. Madibbo has partnered with four Dutch professors to turn their individual one-off volunteer teaching opportunities into a more established winter school. Together, these professors are teaching classes with topics ranging from sociology, anthropology and medicine, to Indigenous knowledge with a focus on conflict resolution. This group is working with universities in Sudan with the goal of tailoring their expertise to what is needed by the institutions. Madibbo often focuses her teaching on research methodologies for new professors and graduate students

On April 18, the Students’ Union honoured 39 faculty members, instructors, and teaching assistants for their commitment to student success, at its annual Teaching Excellence Awards ceremony. The SU’s campus-wide recognition program gives undergraduate students the chance to weigh in on which instructors and teaching assistants have made a lasting, positive impression in the classroom over the past year. All nominees and winners are determined entirely based on student feedback.