April 2015


An architectural gem with a green lining

Monique Roy-Sole, Research Communications Officer, University of Ottawa

One of the major hubs of activity during Congress 2015 will be the Social Sciences Building, which houses the University of Ottawa’s largest faculty. Inaugurated in the fall of 2012, the modern, light-filled structure gathers the entire Faculty of Social Sciences — more than 10,000 students, 260 full-time professors and 100 staff — under one roof. For first time in the faculty’s 60-year history, its departments, schools and institute are no longer scattered all over campus.

The 15-storey tower in the heart of campus will be the site of the Big Thinking series at Congress and of several association conferences. The...

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Together from the start: Federation and the ASPP

Jessica Clark and Matthew McKean, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The ASPP (Awards to Scholarly Publications Program) has been, in one incarnation or another, at the heart of the Federation since day one. The competitive funding program, designed to assist with the publication of scholarly books on topics in the humanities and social sciences, has supported over 6000 books since it began.

In 1940, the Aid for Publication program was established, thanks to a $5000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. The goal was to ensure that completed works by “competent scholars” did not go unpublished. In the early days, Aid for Publication funding supported scholarly books recommended by the Canadian...

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A unique Canadian invention: 84th Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

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

Some things change…

It can be hard to imagine that Congress, a meeting of more than 8,000 scholars and researchers, started when a handful of Canadian learned societies began exploring the idea of hosting their annual meetings at the same place, at the same time. In fact, there is evidence of this happening as early as 1922. Early players like the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA), the Canadian Historical Society (now the Canadian Historical Association) and the Royal Society took the lead on this through the 1930s and 40s, calling themselves the ‘Learneds’. This may sound very grand, but our best estimates suggest that the whole population of...

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The Publisher's Role and its Challenges


Nota bene: The Federation works with many publishers through its Awards to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP). We admire the work they do, though we also know that it is not well understood. So in honour of World Book and Copyright Day, we have commission this translation of an excellent article that explores the many facets of the publishing profession. This project was possible because the original French article was published in Open Access in the Presses de l'Université de Montréal's Parcours numériques series. The Federation is a long-time supporter of Open Access, though this is perhaps the first time it has...

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The Book: Because Tweets Aren't Always Enough

Michel Ducharme, University of British Columbia

Despite the technological developments of recent years that have profoundly transformed the way we communicate, the book is still an indispensible tool for researchers in the humanities and social sciences who want to disseminate the results of their research. Perhaps the book has neither the energy of a documentary nor the pithiness of an article, not to mention the spontaneity of a blog or a website, but nothing compares to it when it comes to depth of reflection and analysis.

That which is true for humanists and social scientists in general is particularly true for historians. The book gives us the possibility of studying questions that are much more ambitious than those we tackle in journal articles, and allows us to give...

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Celebrating Canada’s open access “tipping point”

Michael Geist

As Canadians welcome World Book and Copyright Day on April 23rd, the three federal research granting institutions – the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada – have provided yet another reason to celebrate.

After years of delay and debate, the Tri-Councils unveiled a harmonized open access policy that takes effect for all grants awarded after May 1st.  The key aspect of the policy is that it requires grant recipients to ensure that their peer-reviewed publications are freely available online within 12 months of initial publication.  Researchers can comply with the open access policy by either self-...

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SSH News: April 23, 2015 (Budget Edition)


This week, SSH News is focusing on the response to the federal budget announcement by different groups and individuals in Canadian higher education and the media. Cette semaine, SSH News se concentre sur la réponse à l'annonce du budget fédéral par différents groupes et individus dans l'enseignement supérieur et les médias au Canada: 

Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences | Fédération des sciences humaines
Federal budget 2015 invests in research and innovation | Le budget fédéral 2015...

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Budget 2015: Federation welcomes Government’s renewed investment in research funding

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

We are pleased with the announcement of the 2015 federal budget, which includes renewed investment in research funding.

In response to the budget announcement yesterday, President Stephen Toope stated: “New investments announced today in Canada’s research granting councils, in Mitacs, CANARIE and in Canada Foundation for Innovation underscore the invaluable role these institutions play in advancing research excellence and ensuring a leadership role for Canada in knowledge production and innovation.” For the full response, read the Federation’s media release on the budget announcement.

The Federation’s policy team has prepared a briefing note identifying...

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Canada Prizes 2015: Canada’s political class in the pocket of the oil industry?

Daniel Drolet

It is nearly impossible for a Canadian politician to criticize the oil industry, says Dominique Perron, author of a new book that looks at identities, myths and the discourse surrounding the oil industry in Western Canada.

That fact is a major impediment that prevents the country from having a real debate about the big issues – like the oil sands – that involve the oil industry.

That lack of debate risks undermining the Alberta economy in the long term, she warns. And Quebec, she adds, should not be complacent: Its Caisse de dépôt, the fund that manages public pension plan money in Quebec, invests heavily in Alberta, and is exposed to the same long-term risks as Albertans....

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Canada Prizes 2015: Jean-Paul Sartre’s American dream

Daniel Drolet

Jean-Paul Sartre, an influential French writer, philosopher and politically active intellectual in the mid-20th century, was fascinated by the United States.

A new book by Yan Hamel, a professor of literature at TÉLUQ, Quebec’s distance-learning university, analyzes that fascination and the effect it had on French opinion and political discourse, particularly on the left.

“Sartre set the agenda for discourse about the U.S. among left-wing French intellectuals after the Second World War,” says Hamel, adding that this was one of the reasons he decided to research the topic.

Hamel’s book, L’Amérique selon Sartre : littérature, philosophie,...

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Canada Prizes 2015: Treaties with native peoples ‘our Magna Carta,’ says professor

Daniel Drolet

Michael Asch says the real defining moment in Canadian history was not Confederation, but the day the first treaty was signed between European settlers and the country’s Indigenous peoples.

And he is inviting Canadians to rethink the way we look at the country’s past by paying more attention to the treaties that are at the base of the coexistence between this country’s Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples.

Asch, an anthropologist, has won the 2015 Canada Prize in the Social Sciences for his book On Being Here to Stay: Treaties and Aboriginal Rights in Canada. The prize is awarded by the Federation for the...

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Canada Prizes 2015: The art of re-complicating history

Daniel Drolet

Native Art of the Northwest Coast: A History of Changing Ideas is, at over 1,000 pages, a very thick book.

Charlotte Townsend-Gault, one of the book’s three editors, says she doesn’t expect people to sit down and read it cover to cover. But in some ways, she adds, that’s kind of the point.

Townsend-Gault says she wanted to get away from the idea that native art – and the relations between the Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples of Canada – is a simple and straightforward concept. It is only by embracing its complexity and its contradictions that we can come to understand it. And sometimes, that’s best done bit by bit,...

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Not really a philosopher

Chris Eliasmith, University of Waterloo

Chris Eliasmith, Canada Research Chair in Theoretical Neuroscience, is professor with a joint appointment in Philosophy and Systems Design Engineering and cross-appointment to Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. He is Director of the Centre for Theoretical Neuroscience. He was awarded the NSERC John C. Polanyi Award for his work developing a computer model of the human brain. We have invited Professor Eliasmith to share his thoughts on interdisciplinary approaches to research. Here is what he wrote:

Not really a philosopher.

And not really an engineer... or a neuroscientist, computer scientist, or psychologist.  Instead, I am someone really interested in how the brain works—all of it, at all levels of description.  Brain function is tackled by many disciplines, and there is no good reason to think that only one discipline has all the answers.  So, to me, disciplines...

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What to expect at Career Corner 2015

By University Affairs staff

Come get some advice to kick-start your academic or non-academic career! Here are some sessions that we recommend you attend at this year’s Career Corner at the University of Ottawa.

How to tell your research story

When: Sunday, May 31, 2015, 13:00 - 14:30

Presenter: Shari Graydon, Informed Opinions

This workshop provides specific strategies and concrete tools to help you more effectively tell your research story in ways designed to engage a broad public audience, either directly or through the media. More information here.

See examples...

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Career Corner presenters bring a wealth of knowledge to grad students


Watch previous Career Corner presenters share tips on how to make the PhD and job-hunting experiences easier.

Congress 2014: Why grad students should have an online presence

Presenter: Amy Elder, director of Career Services at Brock University

Congress 2013: How to deal with Impostor Syndrome

Presenter: Janet Sheppard, counsellor at the University of Victoria

Congress 2013: Deciding on a career...

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Federalism as a tool to rethink our relations

Jean Leclair, Trudeau Fellow and Professor of Constitutional Law at the Université de Montréal

In Canada as elsewhere, Indigenous peoples have long been marginalized by the law. Recently, however, judicial decisions recognizing the existence of “aboriginal rights” have given certain Indigenous groups leverage in negotiating territorial agreements.

Despite these recent successes in Canadian courts, much of Canadian law still reflects the policies of subjugation of individual and collective Indigenous existence that the country applied without batting an eyelid before the 1950s.

The most difficult stumbling block in establishing relations between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples – an obstacle that constitutionalizing aboriginal rights has not resolved – is...

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Remembering the 1885 Resistance 130 Years Later


Michel Hogue, Carleton University

The Awards to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP) funded the recent publication of Michel Hogue’s book Metis and the Medicine Line: Creating a Border and Dividing a People (University of Regina Press). The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences invited Professor Hogue to share his reflections on the 130th anniversary of the North-West Resistance.

Ride "swift-safe in the night, ride without rest," writes poet Marilyn Dumont, urging Metis leader Gabriel Dumont to flee as Canadian troops close in on the Metis at Batoche in May 1885. She...

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Don't miss Congress Expo!

Mara Juneau, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Congress Expo is an added bonus to the already bustling atmosphere of Congress. Expo offers something for everyone; it is your chance to meet and network with leading scholars, explore the latest in scholarly publishing, attend thought-provoking discussions, presentations, book launches and signings.

Every year publishers and exhibitors come from all across the country to showcase literary works and services selectively chosen for Congress attendees.

Here are our top reasons to attend Expo:

  • ...

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A mega brainstorm!

Caroline Milliard, Manager, Media Relations at the University of Ottawa

The first image evoked by the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences is that of a huge gathering of academics, researchers and intellectuals from different disciplines to exchange ideas and create unique partnerships.

This year, that image will be doubly meaningful since Congress will be held at the University of Ottawa, a crossroads of ideas and culture.

Defy the conventional. This is how the University of Ottawa defines itself. It is a place where bold minds gather to redefine debates and generate transformative ideas.

But what does that mean, exactly?

Here are a few examples of innovative ideas...

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L’avenir de la recherche au Canada

Fernand Gervais, Administrateur, enseignement et apprentissage, Fédération des sciences humaines

Vous avez peut-être entendu parler de l’initiative récente de l’Association canadienne des études supérieures (ACES) et du Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines (CRSH) qui inviteront 20 étudiants de divers établissements universitaires pour discuter de l’avenir de la recherche au Canada. Ce projet fait partie de l’initiative Imaginer l’avenir du Canada.

C’est à mon sens une excellente idée. Les séances de rencontre permettront aux participants d’exposer leurs idées sur les grands défis de demain, et d’exprimer les besoins de la société en rapport avec le développement de la recherche. Partir du point de vue de ceux et celles qui en seront les principaux acteurs dans le futur au Canada est...

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Celebrating 50 Years: our 50th birthday and our 50th Congress!


Linda Gerber, President, Canadian Sociological Association

The roots of the Canadian Sociological Association are found in the Anthropology and Sociology Chapter of the Canadian Political Science Association, which was established in 1955. By the early 1960s, Chapter members were discussing the possibility of establishing a journal and a separate association. The first issue of the Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology was published in February 1964 as the Official Journal of the Anthropology and Sociology Chapter, for it would be 1965 before the separate Canadian Sociology and Anthropology Association (CSAA) was established, with headquarters at what is now Concordia University in Montreal. By 2007, sociologists and anthropologists had gone their separate...

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