News from the social sciences and humanities

Friday, February 24, 2012

Milena Stanoeva Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Registration for our March Big Thinking lecture is now open. On March 8, Alex Sevigny of McMaster University will lecture on political communication, particularly around Question Period and social media. Over the weekend, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) held their annual meeting in Canada for the first time in about 30 years. While AAAS content is not specific to HSS disciplines, David VanderZwaag, a Canada Research Chair in Ocean Law and Governance, discussed ways in which climate change can affect Canada’s laws on shipping regulation, ocean governance and marine biodiversity protection. In another example of Canadian humanities contributions to the event, Robert Smith, a professor of history at the University of Alberta with a PhD in the History and Philosophy of Science, discussed the importance of collaboration for scientific research and innovation.

With Black History Month drawing to a close, we should be reminded of the importance of studying and recognizing diversity in history, art, literature and other subjects year-round. Check out our own Equity Issues blog posts for Black History Month: “Black History Month and Paradoxes of Narrating the Nation: Black-Mi’kmaq Relations” and “Canada’s Black Writers: Achieving Excellence and Avoiding Annihilation.” A debate is brewing over the push to digitize academic work in humanities disciplines. Two weeks ago, Gary A. Olson wrote about the potential pitfalls of moving away from dissertations for PhD candidates and towards alternative types of scholarly work. According to him, this would damage humanities’ perceived academic rigour and would hurt young researchers’ chances of entering the academy. This week, Heather Bowby responded, arguing that the humanities don’t have to lose their rigour and academic standards just because they’re seeking to modernize themselves.


SSH news