November 2015


The challenge of reconciliation in one moment

Peter Severinson, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

For me, the most exciting, challenging and inspiring moment at the Federation’s Annual Conference last week came from a young woman who spoke from the floor. We had just heard a moving and thought-provoking talk from Wab Kinew, the acclaimed writer, journalist and musician who is now serving as Associate Vice-President of Indigenous Affairs at the University of Winnipeg. He spoke about the challenges our colleges and universities face in helping to advance reconciliation with Aboriginal peoples. We then enjoyed a panel discussion on the same subject, featuring leaders from different backgrounds in the higher-education sector, and we had begun to take...

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Binging on Netflix or philosophizing?


Molly Lewis, University of British Columbia 

“There is nothing in philosophy which could not be said in everyday language,” once said the twentieth-century French philosopher Henri Bergson.

In other words, what makes philosophy attractive is that it expresses what we instinctively believe to be true, but perhaps never put into words before. Philosophy makes sense of how the world works. It makes tangible what is intangible: the nature of our thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It articulates what often goes unarticulated. But philosophy does not only happen in treatises and classrooms. Television, too, can urge us to see images of our world in a thought-provoking manner. The way in which contemporary...

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Why are we still debating diversity versus merit in 2015?


Susan Franceschet, University of Calgary; Karen Beckwith, Case Western Reserve University; Claire Annesley, University of Sussex

Canada’s first gender-equal cabinet is being celebrated by equality and diversity advocates but criticized by those who believe that using selection criteria like gender, race, or ethnicity violates merit. Those who trumpet merit believe that selection to high-level positions like cabinet or corporate boards must be based on demonstrable skills, achievements, and credentials with no consideration of the other characteristics of the individuals holding those credentials. In fact, critics of quotas as a mechanism to ensure diversity go a step further, arguing that quotas will lead to the selection of less qualified...

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SSH News: November 5, 2015

Weekly digest of the most recent news from the humanities, social sciences and higher education. Un bulletin hebdomadaire des actualités les plus récentes des sciences humaines et sociales et de l’enseignement supérieur.

Humanities and Social Sciences | Les sciences humaines et sociales

Canada creates science-minister post
November 4, 2015 | Nature

What happened to Industry Canada? Trudeau elevates scientific research in new cabinet role
November 4, 2015 | Financial Post


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Stephen Toope: How sound science policy can make Ottawa better


This op-ed was published in The Hill Times on November 2, 2015

Stephen Toope, President, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences; Director, Munk School of Global Affairs, University of Toronto

The new government will soon take office, carrying with it the hopes of a broad range of Canadians. And for those of us who value scientific research—either because we use it in our professional lives or simply because we value its role in a modern knowledge society—there are many reasons to be optimistic.

The role of science in democracy, good policy and government was an important...

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