June 2016

Archives

One Child Reading: My Auto-Bibliography

Margaret Mackey, Professor, University of Alberta

When I begin explaining my book One Child Reading to people, everybody asks the same question: “How do you remember all those things you read as a child?” It’s a reasonable point to raise. In collecting as many as possible of the books and other materials I encountered as a girl, I have acquired eleven 30-inch shelves of texts from my childhood: picturebooks, series books, and stand-alone novels; school textbooks; magazines for children and adults; cookbooks; knitting patterns; sheet music; Sunday-school leaflets; DVDs of television programs and movies; audio recordings of vinyl records and radio programs; scrapbooks, diaries, and an...

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On the Twentieth Anniversary of National Aboriginal Day

Yasmeen Abu-LabanProfessor of Political Science at the University of Alberta, and President of the Canadian Political Science Association

June 21, 2016 marks the twentieth anniversary of National Aboriginal Day.   Canada’s official proclamation of a National Aboriginal Day stemmed from recommendations by Indigenous groups as well as the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

For those concerned with equity in educational institutions and practices, National Aboriginal Day also offers educators (along with all Canadians) opportunities for sharing in Indigenous cultures and traditions, as well as teaching and learning.

 For example, when I served as a “non-Aboriginal” parent volunteer for the National Aboriginal Day celebration in my son’s K-12...

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On the Twentieth Anniversary of National Aboriginal Day

Yasmeen Abu-LabanProfessor of Political Science at the University of Alberta, and President of the Canadian Political Science Association

June 21, 2016 marks the twentieth anniversary of National Aboriginal Day.   Canada’s official proclamation of a National Aboriginal Day stemmed from recommendations by Indigenous groups as well as the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples.

For those concerned with equity in educational institutions and practices, National Aboriginal Day also offers educators (along with all Canadians) opportunities for sharing in Indigenous cultures and traditions, as well as teaching and learning.

 For example, when I served as a “non-Aboriginal” parent volunteer for the National Aboriginal Day celebration in my son’s K-12...

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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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Imagining Canada’s Future/Imaginer l’avenir du Canada

What effects will the quest for energy and natural resources have on our society and our position on the world stage?

Quels effets la quête de ressources naturelles et d’énergie aura-t-elle sur la société canadienne et la place qu’occupe le Canada à l’échelle mondiale?

National forum organized by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in partnership with the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada.

Forum national organisé par le Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines du Canada en partenariat avec la Fédération des sciences humaines du Canada

Concluding remarks /Quelques réflexions pour conclure”

Guy Laforest, MSRC
Président-élu, Fédération des sciences humaines du Canada
Professeur au département de science politique de l’Université Laval
Guy.Laforest@pol.ulaval.ca

The...

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Thank you, volunteers!

Dear volunteers of the Congress for the Social Sciences and Humanities,

On behalf of myself and the entire Federation of the Social Sciences and Humanities I would like to extend a sincere thank you to each and every one of you. It is because of your hard work and dedication that the 85th edition of Canada’s largest interdisciplinary gathering of scholars and researchers was able to run with such ease.

During these past eight days, you have performed a number of essential duties that has supported the University of Calgary’s and the Federation for Social Sciences and Humanities production of Congress. Whether you were a volunteer in accommodation, audio-visual, hospitality, the mobile team, campus guide or a shuttle and event assistant, you played an essential role to the successful outcome of this year’s Congress and in providing a warm Western welcome to nearly 8,000 participants. The time and commitment you have dedicated to...

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Big Thinking speaker calls for compromise in the debate over trade and food security

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

In the final installment of the Big Thinking lecture series at this year’s Congress, Professor Jennifer Clapp (University of Waterloo) called for an end to polarization and the beginning of compromise and collaboration in the debate over trade and food security. Clapp began her lecture by framing the issue of food security: that more than 800 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished, and that many of those people are poor agriculturalists living in countries dependent on food imports.

Those seeking solutions to this and related issues of food security generally fall into two diametrically opposed ideological camps: those who see trade as the solution, and those who see it as the problem.

The pro-trade point of view argues that comparative advantage should increase production and efficiency, improve food distribution, and that market distortions (like tariffs and...

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Workshop offers alternate model for student engagement in and out of the classroom

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

On June 2 at Congress 2016, Lisa Stowe (University of Calgary) lead a special session of Career Corner hosted by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the University of Calgary entitled Flip your classroom to increase student engagement. Stowe laid out an alternative to traditional lecturing by creating a community of learners in the classroom and by breaking down the traditional boundaries between instructors and students.

This community of learners is formed by literally flipping the environments in which new content is disseminated to students and in which students demonstrate knowledge of and make use of said content. In the flip method, new material is assigned as “homework” (in the form of online resources such as podcasts, YouTube clips and PowerPoint presentations), while creative engagement with that material is performed in the classroom.

...

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Celestina the Procuress a constant, transforming figure in Picasso’s art and life

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

Professor Carol Salus (Kent State University) wrote a fascinating presentation for Congress entitled Picasso, prostitution, and his favourite procuress, but was unable to attend this year’s Congress. Fortunately, Professor Enrique Fernandez (University of Manitoba) stepped in on June 1to present Professor Salus’s paper on her behalf.

Professor Salus described how the figure of Celestina, the aged madam/bawd from the fifteenth century Spanish novel La Celestina by Fernando de Rojas, remained a constant figure in his art throughout his career. Picasso was not, of course, the first artist to feature Celestina in his paintings, drawings, and etchings: Celestina and other “procuresses” like her appear in pan-European visual art from the Early Modern period onward (as can be attested by the multimedia Celestina gallery that Professor Fernandez curated for Congress 2016 and within...

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The Harper Decade: reflecting on ten years of Conservative government

Zahura Ahmed, Congress student blogger

From 2006 to 2015, Canadian federal politics were marked by the distinctive leadership style and priorities of Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party. From domestic and foreign policy, to institutions and structures, little in Canadian politics was left untouched. This morning, three prominent Conservative Canadians, Preston Manning, Ian Brodie, and Tom Flanagan, provided their reflections on the ‘Harper Decade’ at Congress 2016.

The three panelists spoke about Harper’s legacy, including their views on what were his major accomplishments as well as missteps. They highlighted his role in consolidating a strong new Conservative Party that was able to hold power and the support of many Canadians for so long. Panelists commented that under Stephen Harper the geopolitical centre of gravity of the party and Canadian politics shifted to the right, demonstrating that this is possible, which represents his...

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Canada’s Energy Paradox

Zahura Ahmed, Congress 2016 student blogger

How do we reconcile the fact that our economy is driven by fossil fuels while facing an urgent need to transition to a low-carbon energy system? This is a contentious issue that is on the minds of many political leaders around the world, and was addressed by  one of Canada’s leading writers and speakers on sustainability, Chris Turner, at an event hosted by the Environmental Studies Association  at Congress 2016.

Turner began with a blunt fact: leaders have recently been making grand promises about renewable technologies, when it is in fact impossible to fulfill such promises in their suggested timeframes due to the world’s reliance on fossil fuels. While reducing this reliance is the most urgent priority  of our time, it will take decades to do so--this is a problem that is multi-generational. Turner believes that the scope of the problem and the duration of the response has been misrepresented,...

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Workshop panelists offer sage advice on expanding your research methodologies

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

During their June 1st Career Corner workshop at Congress 2016 Can we all get along? Bridging the quantitative-qualitative divide (hosted by SAGE Publishing and the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences), Professors Alex Clark (University of Alberta), Ian Milligan (University of Waterloo), and Michael Young (Royal Roads University) offered advice on developing comprehensive methodologies that embrace both the quantitative and the qualitative.

Professor Clark spoke about how qualitative method users need to learn how to speak to the gatekeepers of certain specialist journals who are more familiar with quantitative methodologies in order to get their work published. He gave three critical pieces of advice: care about methods by talking, sharing, writing and publishing about your methodology and ontology (he suggested Twitter as a great place to start); be crystal...

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Panel describes how Bill C-14 fails to conform to the Supreme Court of Canada’s decision to decriminalize medical assistance in dying

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

“This is the Alps of ethics; there are slippery slopes as far as the eye can see.” I can’t think of a better way to describe the issues discussed in “The future of end-of-life decision-making in Canada,” a panel held on May 29, at Congress 2016 hosted by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and sponsored by the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). The words are those of Professor Daniel Weinstock (McGill University), who along with Professor Jocelyn Downie (Dalhousie University), spoke about the future of medical assistance in dying in Canada.

Professor Downie laid out the roadmap that brought us to our current political crossroads, beginning with the Supreme Court of Canada ruling on Carter v Canada, which ruled for the decriminalization of medical assistance in dying in a 9-0 decision and ending with the ongoing debate over Bill C-14 in our parliament today. Professor Downie...

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Knowledge Waiting to be Discovered: Leroy Little Bear speaks on Blackfoot Metaphysics

By Zahura Ahmed, Congress 2016 student blogger

Questioning our very way of thinking, long-time First Nations education advocate and scholar Leroy Little Bear delivered a mind-blowing Big Thinking lecture to a packed house at Congress 2016 this afternoon with wisdom, wit, and extraordinary knowledge. Little Bear explained his view of the limits of Western metaphysics. Metaphysics are those things that are so embodied within an individual that they form the foundational and often unconscious basis of one’s thoughts and behaviour, as well as the organization of society.

Little Bear stated thatWestern metaphysics has been largely shaped by the Enlightenment period of European history.  Western ways of thought are primarily driven by rationalism: everything is about matter; we look at things in isolation; and, we are future-oriented. It rejects arriving at truths through faith, reliance on the past, or intuition, and rejects anything to...

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Eugenics and its modern world implications

 

Zahura Ahmed, Congress 2016 student blogger

Imagine having no agency over your reproductive decisions. Imagine that those around you believe that you are not capable of making decisions for yourself and your future. Now, imagine a society in which your body is policed to the point where institutions have the right to legally sterilize you without your consent. From 1928 to 1972, this was a reality for persons with disabilities or mental illnesses in Western Canada, predominantly practiced in Alberta. The Sexual Sterilization Act of Alberta disproportionally affected vulnerable populations, including women, indigenous persons and institutionalized persons.

Nicola Fairbrother presented insights on the history of eugenics in Western Canada in the session entitled Surviving Eugenics in Alberta at Congress 2016. Fairbrother’s research focused on the story of eugenic survivors, as this problematic part of history remains largely...

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At the intersections of queer and youth, there is no single story

 

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

The Congress 2016 roundtable hosted by the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) and the Association for Research in Cultures of Young People (ARCYP) on May 31st entitled At the Intersections of Queer and Youth featured some of the brightest up and coming minds from Canadian academia.

Recent graduates Jordan Fischer (University of Calgary) and Andrea Oakunsheyld (University of Calgary), and Doctoral Candidates Isabelle Groenhof (University of Calgary), Meredith Snyder (University of Alberta), and Joshua Whitehead (University of Calgary) each presented papers on queer spaces and methods of identity formation in popular culture. These topics ranged from literature (Groenhof, Snyder and Whitehead) to music (Fischer) to fan fiction (Oakunsheyld). Each brought a unique perspective and emerging voice to the roundtable.

As different as each...

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Beyond the Academy: The public side of Congress panels

 

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

The academic papers being presented here at the 2016 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences all represent research and study that pushes the boundaries of scholarship. Many of those same papers also have an immediate and direct relevance to public life, whether in the realm of public policy or in popular culture.

Take for example the May 28th Canadian Communication Association (CCA) Annual Meeting panel entitled Food: Classifications, Recommendations, Regulations, in which Doctoral Candidate Rebecca Carruthers Den Hoed, Dr. Emily Truman, and Professor Charlene Elliott (all from the University of Calgary) presented their research into how food and nutrition is marketed and presented by public institutions, private health initiatives and the modern commercial food industry. All three presenters called for a radical shift in public policy to promote a new kind of media literacy...

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Preserving knowledge in the face of war and oppression: Stories of academic refugees fleeing Hitler’s regime

 

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

When academics and researchers are displaced by war or persecution, it is more than their lives and those of their families that face destruction; we also risk losing their accumulated expertise and future contributions to human knowledge. In times of political turmoil, intellectuals make easy targets for scapegoating and targeting, as they represent an imminent threat to totalitarian systems. The rise of the Third Reich in the middle of the 20th century proved no exception, resulting in the deaths and displacement of many of the German-speaking world’s academics.

This is the subject that six eminent academics spoke on, as part of multipart panel entitled Personal stories and institutional narratives from German-speaking émigré physicians, scientists, and academics between the 1930s and the 1960s. Presented by the Canadian Historical Association (CHA) and the Canadian Society for...

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Ideas matter: Telling your research story

 

Zahura Ahmed, Congress 2016 student blogger

Do you find yourself attending academic lectures on topics in which you are extremely interested, only to leave feeling confused, angry at your time wasted, and wondering how such a gripping topic was presented so poorly? Why are some academic presentations so long, difficult to follow, and simply boring? The truth is, researching and presenting require two completely different skill sets. Collecting, analyzing and synthesizing scholarly research are skills that do not automatically translate into the ability to effectively and accessibly deliver findings in the form of a presentation.

Shari Graydon of Informed Opinions was at Congress 2016 this week to deliver a Career Corner workshop entitled Ideas matter: Telling your research story, providing specific strategies and concrete tools to help individuals more effectively tell...

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