International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations

About Us

Who We Are


The International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations was formally established in 1961 at a meeting in Salzburg, organized by historian Othmar Anderle and attended by fellow historians Arnold J.Toynbee and Rushton Coulborn. Sociologist Pitirim Sorokin was the Society's first president.


In 1970 the Society's leadership crossed the Atlantic as Benjamin Nelson became it's first American president. Under the guidance of anthropologist Roger Wescott; historian Carroll Quigley; political scientist David Wilkinson; literary comparatist Michael Palencia-Roth; sociologists C.P. Wolf, Vytautas Kavolis, Matthew Melko, Benjamin Nelson the ISCSC developed into a dynamic international organization.

Although a majority of its members reside in the United States of America, over thirty foreign countries are represented in its membership. The dynamism of the society has been maintained over the years in part through its Annual Meeting and the participation of scholars such as Talcott Parsons, Hayden White, Immanuel Wallerstein, Gordon Hewes, André Gunder Frank, Marshall Sahlins, Lynn White Jr. and Jeremy Sabloff.


The ISCSC is committed to the notion that complex, civilizational problems need diverse, multidisciplinary analyses. Initially the members of the Society came from history, anthropology, and sociology; now, the Society includes such disciplines as philosophy, psychology, comparative religions, economics, political theory, literary criticism and textual analysis, art history, comparative government, comparative literature, science and technology, linguistics, archaeology, architecture, geography, biology, physics and ethnohistory.


The Society is affiliated with comparative studies programs worldwide and actively fosters internationalism through its annual meetings and its publications.


Past & Current Presidents:







Shuntaro Ito, 1995-98

Wayne Bledsoe, 1998-2004

Lee Daniel Snyder, 2004-07

Andrew Targowski, 2007-2013

David Rosner 2013-2016

Toby Huff 2016-2017

Lynn Rhodes, 2017-

Pitirim A. Sorokin, 1961-1964

Othmar Anderle, 1964-71

Benjamin Nelson, 1971-77

Vytauta Kavolis, 1977-83

Matthew Melko, 1983-86

Michael Palencia-Roth, 1986-92

Roger W. Wescott, 1992-95

Past and Future Conference Locations


1961: Salzberg, Austria

1964: Salzberg, Austria

1971: Philadelphia, PA USA, with the American Academy for the Advancement of Science

1972: Washington, DC, USA with the AAAS

1974: Boston University, USA with the Society for Cross-Cultural Research

1975: University of Pittsburgh, PA USA

1976: University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia USA

1977: Bradford Junior College, Bradford, MA USA

1978: The University of Milwaukee USA

1979: California State University, Northridge USA

1980: Syracuse University, NY

1981: Indiana University, Bloomington USA

1982: The University of Pittsburgh USA

1983: The State University of New York at Buffalo USA

1984: Appalachian State University, Boone, NC USA

1985: Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH USA

1986: The College of Santa Fe, NM USA

1987: Ohio University, Athens, OH USA

1988: Hampton University, Hampton, VA USA

1989: The University of California, Berkeley USA

1990: The University of Illinois, Urbana 1991: Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

1992: Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond USA

1994: University College, Dublin, Ireland

1995: Wright State University, Dayton, OH USA

1996: California Polytechnical Institute, Pomona USA, with the World History Association

1997: Brigham Young University, Provo, UT USA

1998: Reitaku University, Reitaku, Japan

1999: St. Louis, MO, USA

2000: The University of Alabama, Mobile AL, USA

2001: Rutgers University, Newark, NJ, USA

2002: Frenchman’s Cove, Port Antonio, Jamaica

2003: St. Petersburg, Russia, with four Russian assns

2004: The University of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK USA

2005: The University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, MN USA

2006: Paris, France, Ecole Practique des Hautes Etudes

2007: ASILOMAR, Monterey, CA USA

2008: New Brunswick, Canada

2009: Kalamazoo, Michigan, USA

2010: Provo, Utah, USA

2011: New Orleans, Louisiana, USA

2012: Washington DC USA

2013: Pacific Grove CA USA

2014: Monmouth University, NJ, USA

2015: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

2016: Monmouth University, New Jersey, USA

2017: Marconi Conference Center, Marshall CA, USA

2018: Suzhou University, Suzhou, Jiangsu, China