Down Memory Lane: 46 Years of Comparative Family Studies

By Dr. George Kurian, Managing Editor, Journal of Comparative Family Studies and Professor Emeritus of Sociology

In view of the increasing impact of international migration of people especially non-European as well as European immigration to North America, Australia and New Zealand, there was a need for a study of the families from a cross-cultural perspective. In 1968, I received strong encouragement to go ahead from Professor Carle C. Zimmerman, former Professor of Sociology, Harvard University who had published the book, “Family and Civilization”. He was a Visiting Professor at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, University of Calgary from 1968 to 1970. He suggested the idea of publishing the Journal of Comparative Family Studies.

Professor Zimmerman encouraged me to correspond to scholars in well known universities in the world. I received nearly 150 encouraging replies. Professor Zimmerman suggested to invite about a dozen scholars to contribute articles for the first issue of the journal. Eight of them were selected for the first issue. It was decided to send out brochures to libraries in Canada, U.S.A, Europe and Japan.  With the help of the Communication Media at the university a cover design was created by Adrian Van Vliet which was original and attractive. Representing the family throughout the world. The design continues to this day unchanged as a permanent recognizable logo of the journal. The brochure was most successful with over two hundred pre-paid subscriptions. In view of the cross-cultural perspective, every issue has abstracts of articles in English, French and Spanish. Over thirty scholars from all over the world were invited to be on the editorial board to maintain the quality of the articles with careful review. We also invite new referees to review the articles. 

We get the active cooperation of the Committee for Family Research of the International Sociological Association. We publish special issues of the journal based on the seminars of the Committee for Family Research. I was encouraged to have an editor for the journal in view of my age. The first editor was Dr. James M White, Professor of Sociology, University of British Columbia. The present editor since 2013 is Dr. Don Swenson of Mount Royal University. I continue as the Managing Editor. After a few years of printing in Calgary, to reduce the cost, the Journal was printed in Bangalore, India, and mailed by air to subscribers. From this year onwards, the journal will be printed in Canada as the cost of production has reduced here. Journal of Comparative Family Studies is the world’s leading journal exclusively publishing articles on cross-cultural studies of the family. 

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