Brett Fairbairn

Fellow in Co-operative History and Governance
Centre for the Study of Co-operatives

Professor, Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy

101 Diefenbaker Place
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon  SK  S7N 5B8
Phone: (306) 966–8505
Fax: (306) 966–8517
email: brett.fairbairn@usask.ca


Education
  • DPhil, Oxford
  • BA Honours, Oxford
  • BA, Saskatchewan
Brett joined the Centre in 1986 after graduating with a DPhil from Oxford University on a Rhodes Scholarship. He served as director from 2000–2004, and was then appointed head of the History Department. Brett was university provost and vice-president academic from July 2008 until June 2014, at which point he took up a position as professor in the Johnson Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy. In July 2015, he took on the role of acting director of the Centre while Murray Fulton was on sabbatical.

Brett's research and teaching are concerned with the history and interdisciplinary study of democracy, social movements, and co‑operative enterprises in Canada and around the world. He has more than eighty publications, including his most recent, Co-operative Canada: Empowering Communities and Sustainable Businesses, edited with Nora Russell. Brett models his scholarship on the idea of engagement between the academic world and the real-life issues of organizations and communities. He is a strong believer in the duty of citizens to participate in volunteer organizations and has held many leadership roles in Saskatoon and Saskatchewan. In recognition of his public and scholarly contributions, Brett was awarded the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal in 2002. From 2002-2007, Brett was principal investigator of the largest research project ever undertaken on co-operatives in Canada.
Brett's publications include:
  • Fulton, M.E., Brett Fairbairn, and Dionne Pohler. 2017. Credit Unions in Canada: Design Principles for Greater Co-operation. Saskatoon: Centre for the Study of Co-operatives. Booklet. PDF

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2015. Co-operatives and Universities: Some ReflectionsBooklet. Saskatoon: Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett, Murray Fulton, and Dionne Pohler. 2015. Governance as a Determinant of Success or Failure: What Other Co-ops Can Learn from Co-op Atlantic. Booklet. Saskatoon: Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.  PDF

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2015. “Elephant in the Room: Time for Dialogue on University Autonomy and Public Accountability?” Conference Board of Canada Centre for Skills and Postsecondary Education blog, February.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2015. “Demutualization in Co-operative Thought: Perspectives on Assets in Co-operatives.” Unpublished research note for project on demutualization led by Murray Fulton and funded by Co-operatives and Mutuals Canada, January.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2014. “What would a sustainable university look like?” Opinion piece, University Affairs, December.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2014. “Universities need to aspire.” Op-ed, StarPhoenix, 24 October.

  • Fairbairn, Brett, and Nora Russell, eds. 2014. Co-operative Canada: Empowering Communities and Sustainable Businesses. Book. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2014. “Introduction:  Where We Stand — Place, Enterprise, and Community.” In Co-operative Canada: Empowering Communities and Sustainable Businesses. Chapter. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

  • Fairbairn, Brett, with Rob Dobrohoczki. 2014. “‘I Felt That I Had Lost Myself’: Credit Unions, Economies, and the Construction of Locality.” In Co-operative Canada: Empowering Communities and Sustainable Businesses. Chapter. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

  • Heit, Jason, Brett Fairbairn, and Murray Fulton. 2014. “Autonomy and Identity: Constraints and Possibilities in Western Canada’s Co-operative Retailing System.” In Co-operative Canada: Empowering Communities and Sustainable Businesses. Chapter. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2014. “Imagination and the Future: Learning from Social Enterprises.” In Co-operative Canada: Empowering Communities and Sustainable Businesses. Chapter. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2014. “Appendix: The Enterprise with Many Names: Establishing a Common Language.” In Co-operative Canada: Empowering Communities and Sustainable Businesses. Chapter. Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press.

  • Fairbairn, Brett, with Rob Dobrohoczki. 2012. “The ‘New’ Credit Union: Sunova Credit Union.” In A Co-operative Dilemma: Converting Organizational Form, ed. J. Sousa and R. Herman. Chapter. Saskatoon: Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2012. “A Shift in Values: Credit Union Expansion by Conversion of Bank Branches,” in A Co-operative Dilemma: Converting Organizational Form, ed. Jorge Sousa and Roger Herman. Chapter. Saskatoon: Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2009. “Imagination and Identity: The Social Economy and the State in Canada.” In The Worldwide Making of the Social Economy: Innovations and Changes, ed. J. Defourny, P. Develtere, B. Fonteneau, and M. Nyssens. Chapter. Leuven/Den Haag: Acco.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2008.“Economic and Social Developments.” In Imperial Germany 1871–1918: The Short Oxford History of Germany, ed. James Retallack. Chapter. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2008. “Communications, Culture, and Co-operatives: Liminal Organizations in a Liminal Age.” In Integrating Diversities within a Complex Heritage: Essays in the Field of Co-operative Studies, ed. Ian MacPherson and Erin McLaughlin-Jenkins. Chapter. Victoria: New Rochdale Press.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2008. “‘Canada’s Co-operative Province’: Individualism and Mutualism in a Settler Society, 1905–2005.” In Perspectives of Saskatchewan: 1905–2005, ed. Jene Porter. Chapter. Michigan State University Press.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2006. Cohesion, Adhesion, and Identities in Co-operatives. Booklet. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2006. Co-operative Heritage: Where We’ve Come From. Booklet. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2005. “Canada’s Co-operative Province”: Individualism and Mutualism in a Settler Society, 1905–2005. Booklet. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives. 

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2004. Building a Dream: The Co-operative Retailing System in Western Canada, 1928–1988 (reprint). Book. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2004. Cohesion, Consumerism, and Co-operatives: Looking ahead for the Co-operative Retailing System. Booklet. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett, and Nora Russell. 2004. Co-operative Membership and Globalization: New Directions in Research and Practice. Book. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2004. Living the Dream: Membership and Marketing in the Co-operative Retailing System. Book. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2003. The Role of Farmers in the Future Economy. Booklet. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 2003. Three Strategic Concepts for the Guidance of Co-operatives: Linkage, Transparency, and Cognition. Booklet. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett, Ian MacPherson, and Nora Russell. 2000. Canadian Co-operatives in the Year 2000: Memory, Mutual Aid, and the Millennium. Book. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives

  • Fairbairn, Brett, Loreen Gatin, Garry Cronan, and Jayo Wickremarachchi. 2000. Co-operative Development and the State: Case Studies and Analysis. Two volumes. Vol. I, pt. 1: Summary, Observations, and Conclusions about Co-operative Development; vol. I, pt. 2: Issues in Co-operative Development and Co-operative–State Relations; vol. II, pt. 3: Co-operative Development and Sector–State Relations in the U.S.A.; vol. II, pt. 4: A Study of Co-operative Development and Government– Sector Relations in Australia. Book. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett, and Murray Fulton. 2000. Interdisciplinarity and the Transformation of the University. Booklet. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 1999. Prairie Connections and Reflections: The History, Present, and Future of Co-operative Education. Booklet. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 1997. Balancing Act: Crown Corporations in a Successful Economy. Booklet. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 1997. Democracy in the Undemocratic State: The German Reichstag Elections of 1898 and 1903. Book. Toronto: University of Toronto Press.

  • Fairbairn, Brett, Lou Hammond Ketilson, and Peter Krebs. 1997. Credit Unions and Community Economic Development. Booklet. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 1994. The Meaning of Rochdale: The Rochdale Pioneers and the Co-operative Principles. Occasional Paper. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.

  • Fairbairn, Brett. 1991. Farmers, Capital, and the State in Germany, c 1860–1914. Occasional Paper. Centre for the Study of Co-operatives.