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Into the Mainstream or Still at the Margins? 50 Years of Gender Research in the Canadian Political Science Association

  • Erin Tolley (a1)

The annual conference of the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA) is a disciplinary bellwether that helps us trace the evolution of political science scholarship. This article analyzes research presented at the conference between 1965 and 2015. It shows growth in the gender and politics sub-field and in the presence of women in leadership positions in the CPSA. At the same time, gender-related research is often presented in gender-focused panels and not incorporated across the discipline's sub-fields. This means that gender scholars typically present their work to like-minded researchers, and scholars in other sub-fields have little exposure to gender perspectives. That such siloing occurs at the earliest stages of research dissemination is an important contextual factor in understanding gendered citation patterns, departmental hiring and rates of tenure and promotion. For Canadian political science to remain relevant, more needs to be done to incorporate gender perspectives across the discipline's sub-fields.


La conférence annuelle de l'Association canadienne de science politique (ACSP) est un baromètre de l’état de la discipline qui nous aide à retracer l’évolution des connaissances en science politique. Cet article analyse les travaux de recherche présentés à la conférence entre 1965 et 2015. Il révèle une attention croissante portée au sous-domaine de la genre et la politique et une présence accrue des femmes en position de responsabilité au sein de l'ACSP. En même temps, la recherche sur l’égalité des sexes est présentée souvent dans des panels axés sur le genre et n'est pas intégrée à d'autres sous-domaines de la discipline. Cela signifie que les chercheurs dont les recherches portent sur des questions liées à l’égalité des sexes présentent généralement leurs travaux à des chercheurs qui partagent les mêmes intérêts et que les chercheurs dans d'autres sous-domaines sont peu exposés aux perspectives axées sur le genre. Qu'une telle compartimentation survienne aux premières étapes de la diffusion de la recherche est un important facteur contextuel dans la compréhension des profils de citation différenciés selon le genre, des pratiques d'embauche dans les départements et des taux de titularisation et de promotion. Pour que la science politique canadienne demeure pertinente, il reste encore beaucoup à faire pour intégrer les perspectives axées sur le genre aux autres sous-domaines de la discipline.

Corresponding author
Department of Political Science, University of Toronto, Sidney Smith Hall Room 3018, 100 St. George St., Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G3, email:
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I am grateful to Jane Arscott, Sylvia Bashevkin, David Moscrop, Jill Vickers and the journal's anonymous reviewers whose comments helped improve the manuscript. Christine Ackerley digitized the programmes, Vivian Hua provided excellent research assistance, and Michelle Hopkins filled in gaps in the historical record. Any errors are, of course, mine.

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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-political-science-revue-canadienne-de-science-politique
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