In Japan, there has been a larger number of academic societies in both the humanities and sciences than in Western countries. However, the size of each society has been relatively small. In order to improve on this situation and deepen the cooperation among academic societies, there is a growing movement to create an “Association of Academic Societies.” Not only in the sciences, but also in the humanities, associations of academic societies have already been established in such fields as geography, philosophy, and sociology. They are engaged in multifaceted activities, including advocacy of measures that contribute to the society at large.
In the field of linguistics as well, following an invitation from the Science Council of Japan, preparations began in 2008 for the establishment of an “Association of Linguistic Studies”. It began with five societies as a Steering Committee: The Linguistic Society of Japan, The Society for Japanese Linguistics, The English Linguistic Society of Japan, The Society for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language and The Japan Association for Language Teaching.
One member from each academic society was selected to form a working group (hereinafter referred to as the “Founding WG”) to carry out specific tasks.
The members of the Founding WG were as follows: Haruo Kubozono* (The Linguistic Society of Japan); Tai Suzuki and Satoshi Kinsui** (The Society for Japanese Linguistics); Shosuke Haraguchi (The English Linguistic Society of Japan); Masayoshi Hirose (The Society for Teaching Japanese as a Foreign Language); Yuriko Kite (The Japan Association for Language Teaching).
** Tai Suzuki of The Society for Japanese Linguistics was replaced by Satoshi Kinsui in July 2009.
The founding WG carried out the following tasks with the aim of launching the Association in April 2010.
- Establishing of the Articles of Association
- Establishing a website for the Association
- Determination of the UALS office structure and the annual membership fee
- Calls for participation from other linguistic societies
Since October 2009, WG had called on various linguistic societies to participate. As of March 2010, WG had received applications for participation from 22 academic societies. As a result, the United Associations of Linguistic Studies (UALS) was launched with a total of 27 member societies, including the aforementioned five organizing societies.
As a liaison conference of linguistic societies, UALS opened its own website with links to the websites of its member societies, while at the same time playing the role of publicizing research projects and events of each society to the other member societies. It also wishes to contribute to society at large by co-hosting and co-sponsoring lectures and symposia, including advocacy. The Steering Committee, which is the core of the association, is composed of representatives of the aforementioned five societies, but it is also designed to reflect the opinions and suggestions of other member societies in the management of the group. These activities are supported by membership fees paid by the member societies in proportion to the number of members.