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A Global History of Historical Demography

Half a Century of Interdisciplinarity

Edited By Antoinette Fauve-Chamoux, Ioan Bolovan and Sølvi Sogner

At the XXIst World Congress of the International Committee of Historical Sciences (ICHS/CISH) in 2010 in Amsterdam, the International Commission for Historical Demography (ICHD) decided to write an overview of its own history. Fifty years had gone by since the CISH XIst World Congress in Stockholm 1960, when historians took the first tentative initiatives to create a wholly new interdisciplinary commission for historical demography, a meeting place for a budding discipline where researchers in letters and science could meet, exchange ideas, cultivate and develop a new field. This book is the outcome of that decision.

Demography, past, present and future is a common concern for all inhabitants of this planet. The variation is great, however, with regard to sources, social and political conditions, state of the art, technological development, national and local initiatives. In the course of half a century many changes take place. Keeping abreast of the gigantic streams of information and innovation in the field is demanding, even more so for a discipline with global dimensions and ambitions. The book makes fascinating reading, and preparing it has been a rewarding and thought provoking experience. The thirty-seven articles in the book represent as many different stories.

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8. Historical Demography in Canada

Extract

Historical Demography in Canada

Béatrice CRAIG1

Demography is a relatively new field of scholarly enquiry in Canada.2 The first demographic studies of the Canadian population were conducted between the two World Wars outside of Academia, by provincial and federal government statisticians and occasionally by independent scholars. In academia, demographers were economists, sociologists or anthropologists with an interest in demographic questions, and they did not distinguish themselves from the rest of the social scientists until the 1970s. The Association des démographes du Québec was founded in 1971, and began publishing a Journal, the Cahiers québecois de démographie in 1975. Four years later (1974), English speaking Canadian demographers founded the Canadian Population Society, whose journal is Canadian Studies in Population (1974). The overwhelming majority of articles published in those two journals, and of demographers presenting papers at those organizations’ conferences reflect social scientists’ interests in current issues, and at most, a very recent past.

Pioneers in Quebec

Historical Demography developed in parallel with present oriented demography without mingling much with it – but had the same origins outside of Academia. Quebec researchers pioneered the discipline, in part because Quebec has better sources for historical demography, in part because young Quebec scholars went to France for higher degrees and additional training after the Second World War, and some interned at the Institut National d’Etudes Démographiques (founded in 1945 to provide government agencies with “demographic intelligence”). Links were established very early...

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