Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Effective policy making needs voices from the social sciences and humanities

Guest blog by Steve Higham, Policy Analyst

Poorly informed policy decisions can have significant and lasting consequences. Often, critics assume that negative policy decisions can be avoided if only decision makers are guided by data and scientific evidence. However, data and evidence are not the only factors that inform the policy-making process. On most issues, decisions will be influenced by cultural and political considerations, with corresponding beliefs, principles, and values that a government may or may not support.

This is not necessarily a negative aspect of the policymaking process. Without proper context and understanding, decisions based solely on data and evidence...

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The Doctoral Dissertation – A Consultation

Guest blog by the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS)

There was a time when a PhD dissertation in the Humanities or most Social Sciences was an early version of a single-authored scholarly manuscript. Things are changing. Today, the three-article thesis is accepted –  even the norm – in some disciplines. And dissertations comprised primarily of creative works are a basic requirement in other programs. 

In 2014, Eric Weissman’s (PhD Indi -Concordia) multi-media, interdisciplinary work “Spaces, Places and States of Mind: a Pragmatic Ethnography,” was given CAGS’s Distinguished Dissertation Award. Weissman’s approach recognized that the complexities of homelessness couldn’t be organized into a traditional manuscript. Another example...

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Expo Passport is back!

Guest blog by Ashley Craven, Event Planner, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The Expo Passport is back for Congress 2017! Once again, attendees will have the opportunity to win great prizes while they visit our exciting Congress Expo exhibitors. Expo is sold out this year and we are looking forward to featuring over 50 exhibitors for our attendees to meet. Check out a full list of exhibitors here

The Expo Passport will be attached to the outside of the Congress Essentials Guide that you will receive at registration. Keep this with you whenever you are in the Expo tradeshow in the Congress Hub. Whether it be to grab a quick snack or refuel on coffee at the RAMS Café, attend a Career...

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The role of poets as cultural game-changers

Guest blog by Manina Jones, President, Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English

What is the importance of the poet in the public sphere? 

George Elliott Clarke, Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada and E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto, is a literary critic keen to understand the rich history and continuing influence of Canadian literary cultures, the role of poets as cultural game-changers who can mobilize the power of language to challenge the way we think. As a poet, Clarke steps up to this role himself, in accessible, dramatic writing, and moving public performances. A scholar, poet and activist, Clarke pursues the mandate of Parliamentary Poet Laureate “to encourage and promote the importance of...

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The Lowdown on Big Data

Michael Todd, SAGE Publishing

Who’s doing big data?

Based on the buzz that the term has been creating since the turn of the century, perhaps a better question is who isn’t doing big data. Certainly the awareness of giant datasets and their potential to be mined for good, or ill, is well-nigh universal. As political scientist Gary King, who heads Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, is fond of saying, “My mom now thinks she understands what I do.”

As with anything buzzy, the truth is that not nearly so many people really understand what big data really is, and an even smaller number are actively working with it. Last year, SAGE Publishing took a stab at figuring out who was doing big data work and what sort of support they needed. More than 9,000 people, mostly academics, worldwide answered SAGE’s survey. That survey resulted in a white paper,...

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President Lachemi welcomes Congress 2017 to Ryerson University

Guest blog by Mohamed Lachemi, President and Vice Chancellor, Ryerson University 

How does a university prepare to host 10,000 visitors? By building a team, planning down to the smallest details and getting support from across campus, including the president’s office.

With the approach of Congress 2017, Ryerson is getting ready for the largest event it has ever hosted, the culmination of years of preparation. My executive team meets regularly with the organizers, and we are keenly interested in making this Congress an outstanding experience for all attendees. Aside from the number of visitors and events, it is an important moment for our university with so many scholars from across the country visiting our campus for the first time.

The excitement is building on campus. We are...

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Ryerson presents… Leanne Simpson

Guest blog by the Faculty of Arts, Ryerson University

Ryerson University is presenting a wide range of events over the course of Congress 2017, ranging from interdisciplinary lectures, to cultural programming, and more. These diverse community events are intended to compliment Congress 2017 and showcase the thought leadership and vitality of Ryerson University’s downtown campus. For a full list of upcoming events please visit Ryerson Programming.

For example, celebrating the Congress 2017 theme “The Next 150, On Indigenous Lands,” Ryerson University is pleased to present “Freedom Sings: Land/Bodies/Resurgence” by Leanne Simpson. 

Simpson, an award-winning Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg musician, writer, academic and First Nations activist, is one of the most influential and compelling Indigenous voices of her generation.

Through story, song and video,...

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The Federation and DHSI partner on digital skills training

Alyssa Arbuckle, Assistant Director, Research Partnerships & Development, Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, University of Victoria

The Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) is an annual training opportunity hosted at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. DHSI is the largest regular digital humanities skills training institute in the world, and has approximately 3,500 alumni. It is directed by Dr. Ray Siemens and coordinated by the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab on the University of Victoria campus. In 2016, DHSI welcomed over 800 participants across 43 courses led by an instructional team of around 70 individuals...

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Sharing the Land, Sharing a Future: Reconciliation

Zahura Ahmed, Congress student blogger

What kind of nation are we? What kind of nation do we want to be in the next 150 years? Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada, gave a compelling keynote at the “Sharing the Land, Sharing a Future” forum on Wednesday morning. Blackstock delivered a searing critique of government and academic inaction despite a history of studies, reports, Commissions, and recommendations. Approaching reconciliation through the lens of child welfare, she argued that in order to understand reconciliation, we must understand the Canadian state’s long history of placing itself between First Nations children and their families.

Blackstock stated that we too often perceive ourselves as benevolent, and in doing so we make excuses for our acts of omission as well as our minimal acts of justice. We are aware of the problems that Indigenous communities face, yet we...

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Sharing the Land, Sharing a Future: Reconciliation

Zahura Ahmed, Congress student blogger

What kind of nation are we? What kind of nation do we want to be in the next 150 years? Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada, gave a compelling keynote at the “Sharing the Land, Sharing a Future” forum on Wednesday morning. Blackstock delivered a searing critique of government and academic inaction despite a history of studies, reports, Commissions, and recommendations. Approaching reconciliation through the lens of child welfare, she argued that in order to understand reconciliation, we must understand the Canadian state’s long history of placing itself between First Nations children and their families.

Blackstock stated that we too often perceive ourselves as benevolent, and in doing so we make excuses for our acts of omission as well as our minimal acts of justice. We are aware of the problems that Indigenous communities face, yet we...

Read more »

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