News from the social sciences and humanities

Friday, October 28, 2011

Milena Stanoeva
Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Last week, Phillip Kelly of York University presented a very well-attended Big Thinking lecture on the social mobility of second-generation immigrants. If you missed the lecture, iPolitics has the scoop on Dr. Kelly’s research.

University Affairs reports that undergraduate enrolment in Canada has surpassed the one million mark. Part of this increase is due to international students. As the Globe and Mail reports, universities in Canada are attractive for international students, because they offer high-quality education at a relatively-low price.

Times Higher Education reports on the increase of anti-intellectualism in political debate: “Seeking to explain this anti-intellectual turn, Norman Nie, founder and director of the Stanford Institute for the Quantitative Study of Society, says: ‘It’s really a result of the loss of liberal arts education. There has been an explosion of what amount to trade schools and, even in (many) universities, a curriculum that is trade school-like. Social sciences and the humanities have melted away. Physicists don’t read the great works of history. The biggest problem is the loss of the background that a liberal arts education gives you in terms of context.’” A column by Russell Smith in the Globe and Mail offers further analysis on this point. Smith looks at the current trend of over-simplifying complex research into sound-bites. He argues that humanities and social sciences research loses out in this trend, because the ideas behind the research are often too fluid and complex to be boiled down into a three-minute speech.

The Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada celebrated its 100th anniversary. AUCC’s 95 members announced five new commitments to Canadians, with a view towards better meeting their current education needs. Stephen Toope, AUCC’s upcoming Chair of the Board and president of the University of British Columbia, was interviewed in the Globe and Mail for the occasion.

The University of Calgary features an interview with David Mitchell, CFHSS’s vice president for Development, on Open Access.

Amazon is increasing its efforts to become a major player in book publishing. Lapham’s Quarterly explains why that is bad news for literary arts.


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