Last Friday, Chad Gaffield, president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), spoke at Carleton University about whether social scientists have an obligation to solve society’s problems. In a subsequent article about the event, “Contemplating the Contribution of Social Scientists”, Susan Hickman remarks that Gaffield suggested that “we live in “a profound period of change,” [and] went on to say we still have much to learn about human thought and behaviour and it’s essential that researchers collaborate and inter-relate across multiple disciplines as well as globally.” Interestingly, Gaffield’s statements juxtaposed those of other guest panelists including William Walters, a professor in the Department of Political Science at Carleton University, who noted that, “I don’t think society’s problems are solved by social scientists, certainly not acting in isolation. We have an obligation to challenge the way politics and policies define the problems in the first place” (Carleton Newsroom).
To continue to try to define the role of the humanities and social sciences in society undoubtedly requires more dialogue of this type. Accordingly, Gaffield will also be present at the Federation’s 2014 Annual Conference tomorrow, which will be streamed live throughout the day. Gaffield will address SSHRC’s program architecture renewal, both as a retrospective and as a look forward. He will illustrate what he sees as some of SSHRC’s possibilities and challenges for the creation of new or enhanced opportunities that will better suit today’s students and researchers in these disciplines.
Along with Gaffield’s address and what will surely be many thought-provoking talks, the finalists of the 2014 Canada Prizes will also be announced at the Annual Conference. The Canada Prizes are awarded annually to the best scholarly books in the humanities and social sciences that have received funding from the Awards to Scholarly Publications Program (ASPP). The finalists and winners are chosen by a jury of leading academics, public intellectuals and past winners. Every year, four prizes of $2,500 are awarded:
- Canada Prize in the Humanities
- Canada Prize in the Social Sciences
- Prix du Canada en sciences humaines
- Prix du Canada en sciences sociales
Be sure to stay tuned tomorrow to find out who these finalists are! The winners will be announced on May 7 during the 2014 Canada Prizes ceremony at York University’s Glendon College campus.
Follow #transformations on Twitter tomorrow for updates on live events throughout the conference!