HSAC History

Prof. George Bisztray

When the Hungarian Chair of the University of Toronto was inaugurated in 1978, its incumbent, professor George Bisztray, began to assess the expectations of the Canadian academy and the Hungarian Canadian community. Since the early 1970s he had been a member of the American Hungarian Educators’ Association (AHEA, based in the United States), and invited this association to hold its annual meeting at the University of Toronto in 1980. The number and quality of the papers, and the interest of the Hungarian Canadian community in the meeting, encouraged professor Bisztray to organize a second conference in 1983. At this conference, the Canadian participants expressed their wish to establish a Canadian scholarly organization similar to AHEA that would represent and discuss Hungarian culture and history at an academic level.

The first meeting of the Hungarian Studies Association of Canada (HSAC) was held in 1985 at the Université de Montréal. The concentration of our membership has historically been in Ontario and Quebec, two provinces where the most Hungarian Canadians live, but in more recent years, we have attracted members both from across Canada and internationally.

The annual conferences have taken place under the aegis of the umbrella organization Learned Societies Conference (since 1998 renamed Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences), organized by the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences, and hosted yearly by a different university in Canada. The HSAC has been an official member of Congress since 2011. This membership has helped us to invite prominent keynote speakers. Some of the HSAC conferences were organized jointly with the Finno-Ugric Studies Association of Canada and the AHEA. Not counting the joint conferences, participants at the HSAC conferences have come from seven countries.

Since 1974 an internationally noted, refereed English-language academic journal, published first as the Canadian-American Review of Hungarian Studies and since 1981 as Hungarian Studies Review, has represented Hungarian scholarship worldwide. The journal has been affiliated with HSAC since 1991. For more details on the Review, visit our HSR page.

The HSAC also publishes Lectures and Papers in Hungarian Studies, which includes selected working papers, research reports, lectures, and other essays.