Blog

Welcome to the blog for the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Posts on this site are the opinion of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Federation, its staff or its board of directors. Entries are posted in the language of the author.

Members of the university research community are invited to make guest blog submissions on issues relating to the wellbeing of the humanities and social sciences research and learning enterprise in Canada. Click here to read the Federations’ blog policy. Please send your submission to communications@ideas-idees.ca.

Life and death of Canada's founding languages (and not the two you think)

Onowa McIvor, University of Victoria
Guest Contributor

This blog post is part of the Federation Equity Issues Portfolio’s ‘Transforming the Academy: Indigenous Education’ series, which will be the focus of the Portfolio’s programming at Congress 2011.

Most Indigenous languages in the land now called Canada are on the decline. I have seen the language die in my family in one generation through the premature deaths of both my maternal grandparents. My grandparents chose not to pass their language Muskego-Nîhîyaw (...

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Canada's great national itch: Debating multiculturalism

Phil Ryan, Carleton University
Guest Contributor

“Whether we like it or not – and there’s not much to like – events could force a national debate on whether multiculturalism is working in Canada.” One of the two triggering events to which the February 11, 2011 Globe and Mail article by John Ibbitson pointed occurred in Winnipeg where, he wrote:

…a dozen newly-arrived families are demanding from the public school board that their children be exempted from compulsory classes in music and phys-ed, claiming that music and mixing genders are forbidden in their interpretation of Islam.

This is a provocative...

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Engage 2010: The engaged university - embracing change

Gisèle Yasmeen, Vice President Partnerships, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council
Guest Contributor

Surrounded by the pageantry of Church House – a beautiful historical building which is now a conference facility in the courtyard behind Westminster Abbey – approximately 250 researchers from across disciplines, community partners, funding agencies and international participants gathered to discuss the whys, wherefores and best practices of public engagement with respect to research from Dec. 7-8.

Engage 2010 was organized by the National Coordinating Centre for Public Engagement, which is an initiative of the Higher Education Funding Council of England, an arm’s length agency that funds post-secondary institutions in England with similar agencies in place for the rest of the UK. The NCCPE has produced a manifesto on public engagement, to which several institutions have adhered as well as identifying “beacons” of public engagement in...

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‘I’m Métis: What’s your excuse?’: On the optics and misrecognition of Métis in Canada

Chris Andersen, University of Alberta
Guest Contributor

This blog post is part of the Federation Equity Issues Portfolio’s ‘Transforming the Academy: Indigenous Education’ series, which will be the focus of the Portfolio’s programming at Congress 2011.

As a kid, I spent my formative years growing up in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. In addition to the numerous visits to family living north of the city, we used to attend “Back to Batoche,” an annual Métis celebration held adjacent to the historic battleground...

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Beyond multiculturalism: Reclaiming tolerance and human judgment

Frank Furedi, University of Kent
Guest Contributor

At a security conference in Munich earlier this month, British prime minister David Cameron mistakenly argued that tolerance was responsible for the failure of multiculturalism. “Frankly, we need a lot less of the passive tolerance of recent years and much more active, muscular liberalism,” he said. However, Cameron shouldn’t blame the problems of multiculturalism on tolerance.

What is ‘passive tolerance’? Tolerance is anything but passive. Tolerance requires courage, conviction and a commitment to freedom – key...

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