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Alan Sears

Sears, Alan


Professor & Chair


B.A. (Carleton), M.A. (Carleton), Ph.D (Warwick, Sociology)




416-979-5000 ext 4599

Email Address:



Research Interests:

Sexuality; Theory; Social Movements; Work; Education

Alan’s has written or co-written three books and a number of articles and chapters focussing on social change, inequality and ways of knowing. His academic research is connected to his activist engagements in movements for social justice. He is currently working on a book on sexual liberation beyond equality rights.

Teaching Interests

Introductory courses; work; sexuality and theory

Alan’s teaching focusses on courses that introduce students to social scientific inquiry and use those methods to investigate the world around us. He believes students can help each other learn, as they share the results of their inquiry. He has designed a course where senior students learn about learning by helping first-years students in their own process of investigation. He has won a number of teaching awards, including the President’s Award at Ryerson in 2010. 

Current Courses:

SSH 100: Inquiry and Problem-Solving

SSH 500: Peer Learning Experience

SOC 472: Sociology of Work and Occupations

SOC 490: Capstone, Specializing Your Knowledge 

Professional Affiliations:

Alan is an activist in a variety of social justice organizations. His activist writing is published in the New Socialist webzine, the Bullet, Briarpatch and other places.

Selected Publications & Presentations:

2015 Sears, Alan and James Cairns. A Good Book in Theory: Making Sense through Inquiry (third edition). University of Toronto Press.
2014 Sears, Alan, The Next New Left: A History of the FutureFernwood Press
2012 Cairns, James and Alan Sears, The Democratic Imagination: Envisioning Popular Power in the Twenty-First CenturyUniversity of Toronto Press
2010 Sears, Alan and Mary Jo Nadeau “The Palestine Test: Countering the Silencing Campaign.” Studies in Political Economy, Spring 2010 Volume 85 pp.7-34
2006 Hall, Alan; Forrest, Anne; Sears, Alan; Carlan, Niki; “Making a Difference: Knowledge Activism and Worker Representation in Joint OHS Committees.” Industrial Relations/Relations Industrielles, 61(3) pp. 408-436
2005 Sears, Alan, “Queer Anti-Capitalism: What's Left of Lesbian and Gay Liberation?” Science and Society 69(1), pp.92-112
2003 Sears, Alan. Retooling the Mind Factory: Education in a Lean State. Garamond Press
1999 Sears, Alan "The 'Lean' State and Capitalist Restructuring: Towards a Theoretical Account." Studies in Political Economy 59: 91‑114