Robert Menzies

Professor Emeritus, Sociology
Sociology & Anthropology


Dr. Robert Menzies, Professor Emeritus of Sociology, received his BA in Psychology from York University, and his MA in Criminology and PhD in Sociology from the University of Toronto. Dr. Menzies has taught at SFU since 1982, and recently spent a term as J.S. Woodsworth Resident Scholar in the Humanities. Dr. Menzies is a former recipient of the SFU Excellence in Teaching Award.  His current projects include an in-progress book on the cultural history of ‘criminal insanity’; an inquiry into the encounters of racialized people with early 20th-century psychiatry; a study of eugenics and sterilization law in British Columbia; and, with colleagues across the country, the development of a research and education website on the history of madness in Canada.

Areas of Interest

Sociology and history of psychiatry and public health; cultural and institutional constructions of madness; law, governance and social control; sociology of citizenship and social justice; contemporary men’s and fathers’ rights movements; qualitative research methods.

Select Publications


Peer-Reviewed Articles

  • Dorothy E. Chunn and Robert Menzies. “Producing feminist knowledge: Lessons from the past.” In Jennifer M. Kilty, Sheri Fabian, and Maritza Felices-Luna (eds.). Intense Methods: Issues and Concerns When Researching Sensitive Topics. Vancouver, BC: University of British Columbia Press, forthcoming.
  • Peter Beresford and Robert Menzies. “Developing partnerships to resist psychiatry within academia.” In Bonnie Burstow, Shaindl Diamond and Brenda LeFrançois (eds.). Psychiatry Disrupted: Theorizing Resistance and Crafting the (R)evolution. Kingston-Montreal: McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2014. In press.
  • Robert Menzies. “History of mental health treatment.” In William C. Cockerham, Robert Dingwall, and Stella Quah (eds.). Wiley-Blackwell Encyclopedia of Health, Illness, Behavior, and Society. New York: Wiley-Blackwell, 2014. In press.
  • Dorothy E. Chunn and Robert Menzies. “The making of the black widows: The criminal and psychiatric control of women.” In Gillian Balfour and Elizabeth Comack (eds.). Criminalizing Women: Gender and (In)justice in Neo-Liberal Times. 2nd edition. Halifax NS: Fernwood Publishing, 2014. In press.
  • Robert Menzies and Dorothy E. Chunn. “Mapping the intersections of psycho-legal power: A tale of murder, madness, and motherhood from British Columbia history.” Australasian Canadian Studies 30, 1/2 (February, 2013): 175-199.

Awards & Funding

  • CIHR Operating Grant - "Open Doors/Closed Ranks: Locating Mental Health after the Asylum" 
    Joint Investigator
  • CIHR Centres for Research Development in Gender, Mental Health and Addictions Program - "CIHR Centre for Research on Gender and Social Disparities in Mental Health and Addictions"