Blog

Welcome to the blog for the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Posts on this site are the opinion of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Federation, its staff or its board of directors. Entries are posted in the language of the author.

Members of the university research community are invited to make guest blog submissions on issues relating to the wellbeing of the humanities and social sciences research and learning enterprise in Canada. Click here to read the Federations’ blog policy. Please send your submission to communications@ideas-idees.ca.

Assisted Reproduction Policy in Canada: Framing, Federalism, and Failure

Guest blog by Dave Snow, Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Guelph

My interest in assisted reproduction began on an airplane. In August 2017, I was flying from Fredericton, New Brunswick to Calgary to begin a Master’s degree in political science. The day before my flight, I had grabbed a book – Margaret Somerville’s The Ethical Imagination – from my father’s collection to read on the plane. The book, which explored the ethics of assisted reproduction and genetic manipulation, was my first foray into the subject area. Before that, I had intended to study how Canadian courts had shaped our electoral system in my MA thesis. When I arrived in Calgary to meet my supervisor, I spoke of my new interest in ethical debates surrounding technologies and practices such as surrogacy, gene editing, and embryonic research. Given my interest in the courts, perhaps I could study judicial involvement in assisted...

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The Trans Generation: How Trans Kids (and Their Parents) Are Creating a Gender Revolution

Guest blog by Ann Travers, Associate Professor of Sociology at Simon Fraser University

My research with and on behalf of trans and gender nonconforming kids brings my personal experience together with my scholarship in a particularly powerful way. I was a gender nonconforming kid and experienced very harsh gender policing. I now identify as trans non-binary and wish there had been more options when I was growing up. My own experience really influenced my efforts as a parent to keep people from imposing gender categories and norms on my own children. This often felt like a losing battle, as people and institutions are relentless when it comes to dividing children into girl and boy categories and attempting to restrict the...

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Thinking about War

Guest blog by Jonathan Chan

Reflections on the Congress 2018 Big Thinking lecture entitled Thinking about war with Margaret MacMillan, C.C. organized by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the University of Regina.

In a country like ours, it can be easy to forget about the prevalence of war in modern society. Nonetheless, some of us walk by war memorials every day, while others may see military regalia at hockey games, for example. Famous movies, books, and video games depict war as an exciting, honourable endeavor. Margaret MacMillan examines the intersection of war and society, and shows how war is woven into so many areas of a peaceful life.

It is...

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Remembering Terry D’Angelo (1962-2018)

Nicola Katz, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Terry laughed easily, and with gusto. Her joie de vivre was sincere, and she had a knack for finding the upside even where others could not.

In fact, as it was recently pointed out by Terry’s brother-in-law, never once in the nearly year-long battle she had with cancer, did Terry ever ask “Why me?” Instead, in typical Terry style, she remained practical and got right down to the business of making the best of the situation at hand: caring for the needs of her loving family, organizing every last detail of their fundraising efforts, making time for farewells to friends and colleagues, and ultimately planning the details of one final event – her own celebration of life.

This engagement and dedication comes as no...

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The Medium Is the Monster: Canadian Adaptations of Frankenstein and the Discourse of Technology

Guest blog by Mark A. McCutcheon, Professor of Literary Studies at Athabasca University

Like much of my work on Canadian popular culture, the idea for The Medium Is the Monster arose from my experience and research in raves and electronic dance music (EDM). The kernel of the book's first argument -- that technology is a word whose modern meaning was historically shaped by Frankenstein -- first appeared in a 2007 article, "Techno, Frankenstein, and copyright." The book's other key argument -- that Canadian pop culture, anchored in Marshall McLuhan's work, has popularized this sense of technology as manufactured monstrosity -- took shape in the keynote I delivered (in my role, then, as guest professor of...

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