February 2014

Archives

Career Corner at Congress - Not just for graduate students anymore

Eleanor Fast, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Career Corner at Congress, a well-established tradition, is expanding to include more events relevant to scholars at all stages of their careers. 

Organized in a partnership between the host university, the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and University Affairs the traditional focus has been primarily on providing information for graduate students looking for a job – but now the series has moved far beyond those beginnings and will be of interest to all Congress attendees looking to publish and market their research, improve their teaching skills, find out about new sources of funding, and consider the relevance of their skills to careers outside of academia...

Read more »

SSH News: Canada’s adult literacy, Freedom to Read Week, Big Thinking

Quoting Ralph Waldo Emerson, American essayist, lecturer and poet, “I cannot remember the books I’ve read any more than the meals I have eaten; even so, they have made me.” Unfortunately, this paradigm is not universal. Concerns about Canadian literacy have been heightened this week with reports that there is a high number of adults in Canada who lack basic literacy skills. In fact, according to Daniel Munro of the Centre for Skills and PSE “research by the Centre for Skills and Post-Secondary Education has revealed some troubling gaps between Canadians’ educational attainment and the skills we actually develop...

Read more »

Showing the human face of the humanities - the Humanities Matter Web Series and Bus Tour

The MakerBus team, Ryan Hunt, Kim Martin, and Beth Compton

Things aren’t looking very bright for the arts and humanities at the moment. In our current age of austerity, arts and humanities budgets are easy targets for spending reductions. In both the United States and Canada, politicians seem focused on cuts. During his 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney identified the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts as programs that should be “eliminated.” Even after softening his tone regarding the arts and humanities, Romney continued to advocate for harsh cuts that...

Read more »

AAAS, Chicago and the humanities

Jean-Marc Mangin, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) traditionally offers little space for the humanities. There were however several panels which included  social scientists, especially in reframing the discussions on innovation away from a simplistic discovery to commercialization linear model to one embracing a complex eco-system supporting creativity . Nonetheless, the need for the humanities was a recurrent motto by several speakers — in his welcoming address, the Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel,  called for a more inclusive approach to learning and solving our global challenges: transforming Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics —the STEM subjects—  into STEAM (STEM + Art = STEAM).

Nobel Prize winner and former Energy Secretary for President Obama, Dr. Steven Chu, delivered a very powerful, often funny and quietly moving keynote on energy and climate change...

Read more »

SSH News: Big Thinking, Canada’s Innovation Challenge, AAAS 2014

This month’s Big Thinking lecture presented by Joseph Heath, Director, Centre for Ethics, and Professor, Department of Philosophy and School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto, is now available to view online. This lecture addressed "reason versus passion" in politics and what we are sacrificing when we allow our political system to be dominated by appeals to passion rather than reason. The event was also captured in an article in The Hill Times this week: U of T prof calls for Enlightenment 2.0 to combat environment of ‘truthiness’ (available by...

Read more »

AAAS 2014: Where was Canada?

Jean-Marc Mangin, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

This last weekend, Chicago hosted this premier inter-disciplinary academic conference by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) which focussed a great deal on innovation and climate change.

However,  our Government  was missing. No booth; no reception; no breakfast; no sponsored programming.  I understand that dollars are scarce and choices have to be made. However Ottawa is less than a two hour flight from Chicago where Canada has a large consulate. Yet we could not muster any official Canadian presence.  In comparison, Japanese, Korean and European agencies were highly visible and there was some even science Ministers from developing countries. 

The lack of a Canadian presence at AAAS was puzzling. Science diplomacy is a theme that our Governor General has stressed during his mandate. The...

Read more »

Forward thinking: Interdisciplinary programs and the adjacent possible

Michael Ullyot, Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning), Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary

When I was an undergraduate, the recruiting poster for an interdisciplinary program in the humanities asked, "What do Leonardo da Vinci and Martha Stewart have in common?" The answer: "They're both generalists."

Whatever you think of its chosen exemplars, that program is no more. All interdisciplinary programs ebb and flow with intellectual currents, as they should -- but their common aim is to imagine future fields of study, emerging from the fields between the disciplinary borders of our imagined present. So computational linguistics, for instance, arose from exchanges between linguists and computer scientists. Often...

Read more »

SSH News: Big Thinking, Federal Budget 2014, SSHRC Impact Awards

The most recent Big Thinking lecture "Reason versus passion in politics" was presented on Tuesday by Joseph Heath, Director, Centre for Ethics, and Professor, Department of Philosophy and School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto. This lecture addressed "reason versus passion" in politics and what we are sacrificing when we allow our political system to be dominated by appeals to passion rather than reason. Léo Charbonneau, editor at University Affairs, reflected on Heath's talk in his article “Emotion should not rule over reason in politics” (University Affairs).

And just maybe, reason in politics did prevail this week… To...

Read more »

Highlights from the federal budget

The federal budget was announced earlier today. 

“The investments announced today —and taken together, they are significant and represent the largest increase in funding through the granting councils in a decade— will lead to crucial research advances to address challenges to Canadian society, as well as equip graduates with the critical thinking and creative skills needed to contribute to the knowledge society," stated Antonia Maioni, President of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences.

Read the Federation's media release here.

Briefly,...

Read more »

Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation Strategy

Eleanor Fast, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The world of ideas moves quickly so the Federation was eager to respond when the government asked for input to inform a refresh the 2007 S&T Strategy.  Our submission responded to the three areas highlighted in the government’s consultation document: business innovation, developing innovative and entrepreneurial people, and research excellence. 

We hope you will read our full submission, available ...

Read more »

SSH News: Value of an SSH education, Situating Science Summer School 2014, Trudeau Foundation

Yes! The indispensability of the social sciences and humanities has been a trending topic in recent days, both nationally and internationally. Last week, Carolyn Gregoire penned the “irrefutable evidence of the value of a humanities education” (The Huffington Post), while Patrick Dunleavy, Professor of Political Science and Public Policy at London School of Economics, shared his opinions on how the “skew towards science is neglecting a...

Read more »

Join us at the Federation's Annual Conference

Mark your calendars! Registration for the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences 2014 Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) is now open!

The Federation’s Annual Conference is open to all. It allows you to interact with the Federation’s members and engage in discussions on a range of issues in the humanities and social sciences. This year, the conference will take place in Montreal at the McGill Faculty Club on Friday, March 28, 2014. The full day event will feature panel discussions on the theme of transformations in undergraduate teaching and the future of the PhD, workshops on the future of Congress and Big Data, a Big Thinking lecture on “Borders without Boundaries”, an address from Chad Gaffield, President of Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), and...

Read more »