Mohr, J. W., 1928-2008

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Mohr, J. W., 1928-2008

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Johann W. Mohr (1928-2008), commonly known as Hans Mohr, was a social worker, psychiatric researcher, and teacher with interests that included psychiatry, etymology, family law, criminal statistics, and penal policy. Mohr was born in Graz, Austria, on March 19, 1928. In 1946 Mohr began his academic career at the University of Graz in Austria, studying Anglistic and Germanic Philology and Literary Studies. From 1948-1949 Mohr studied at the University of Nottingham on the Language and Social Institutions Scholarship. Upon his return to the University of Graz in 1949, Mohr worked at the International Social Services refugee camp in Ried, Austria, as an English tutor and counsellor. This is where Mohr met his wife, Ingeborg, whom he married in 1952. He completed his thesis in 1950 and graduated with a PhD from the University of Graz. From 1951-1952, Mohr worked as a counsellor in Salzburg, Austria, with the American National Catholic Welfare Conference (NCWC). His caseload consisted primarily of older men and women who were rejected from immigration because of their age, even by countries that accepted their children. This job brought him into contact with a wide range of people from various countries and classes. With the need to raise a family in better conditions and the urge to take part in a culture that was stimulating and growing, Mohr left Austria to find work in Canada in 1953. Upon arriving in Toronto, Mohr worked in carpentry, construction and in a factory. In 1954 he accepted a position as an assistant social worker at the Department of Social Welfare in Yorkton, Saskatchewan, with the child welfare and the juvenile delinquency departments. In order to advance his career, Mohr and his family moved to Toronto so he could attend the School of Social Work at the University of Toronto from 1955-1959 while working with the Big Brothers of Canada organization. He also worked as a research consultant for the Department of the Attorney General of Ontario. In 1959 he received his Masters of Social Work (MSW), with a specialization in research. From 1960-1966, Mohr was a research associate at the Forensic Clinic of the Toronto Psychiatric Hospital (TPH), which preceded the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry. The major referrals in this new job in forensic psychiatry were pedophiles, exhibitionists and homosexuals. Mohr wrote and assisted in many research projects that dealt with these types of psychiatric conditions. Continuing with his work on psychiatry, Mohr taught at the University of Toronto's Department of Psychiatry from 1962-1967. While teaching at the University of Toronto, Mohr was the Head of the Section of Social Pathology Research at the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry. Initially he was a member of the medical faculty and then became head of the research unit. From 1969-1972, Mohr was a consultant for the Clarke Institute of Psychiatry's Forensic Services. In 1969 Mohr was cross-appointed to York University's Osgoode Hall Law School and the Faculty of Arts and Science's Department of Sociology. With his background in research and practical experience in psychiatry, social work and social psychology, Mohr helped develop and teach new courses and seminars in criminology, law and psychiatry, and research methodology. When he joined Osgoode's faculty, he was one of the first non-lawyers to become a member of a Canadian law faculty. During his time at Osgoode Hall Law School, from 1969-1989, Mohr and many of his associates were concerned with the effects of law and legal institutions, as well as law being an instrument of social change, rather than of oppression. He took a leave of absence from Osgoode in 1972 to 1976 to work as a commissioner for the Law Reform Commission of Canada, where he was able to advocate for law reform and chaired the prison reform ventures. He was one of the first non-lawyers to participate in a law reform commission anywhere in the common law world. Upon his return to Osgoode in 1976, Mohr became a mainstay of the graduate program as he led graduate colloquiums and supervised many students. He was well known for his seminar on legal epistemology. Mohr continued to teach at University of Toronto from 1976-1989. Between 1980 and 1985, Mohr was awarded the Laidlaw Fellowship in 1980, was an adjunct professor at Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, and a visiting Lansdowne Professor for the Faculty of Law and Human and Social Development at the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Between 1985 and 1989 Mohr extended his graduate seminar on improving the quality of thesis work for Osgoode over two terms and supervised a number of graduate students. He also took on unpaid duties, such as presidency of the Vanier Institute of the Family and the Church Council of Justice and Corrections. In 1989 Mohr became a Professor Emeritus. He continued with his graduate seminar until 1993, commuting from Howe Island, near Kingston, Ontario. He wrote many significant unpublished manuscripts during retirement, worked with organizations such as the John Howard Society and the Law Commission of Canada, corresponded with his colleagues locally and abroad, and provided valued criticisms of academic and professional works of colleagues. Mohr died in 2008.


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2014/07/23 Last updated
2018/11/14 KCP. Added VIAF


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