Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

About Congress | Congress 2017 highlights (NEW!) | Congress 2016 & 2015 highlights

About Congress

Unrivaled in scope and impact, the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences is the convergence of over 70 scholarly associations, each holding their annual conference under one umbrella. Now in its 87th year, this flagship event is much more than Canada’s largest gathering of scholars across disciplines. Congress brings together academics, researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners to share findings, refine ideas, and build partnerships that will help shape the Canada of tomorrow.

Typically spanning seven days in late May and early June, and attracting an average of 8,000 attendees, Congress is organized by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and hosted by a different Canadian university each year. The Federation, host university, scholarly associations and partners develop a full week of presentations, workshops, panels, public lectures, cultural events and receptions. It also features Canada’s largest academic trade show. The result? Luminaries, researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and students from across Canada and abroad meet, share ideas and engage in discussions that have direct importance for Canada and the lives of Canadians.

Congress programming is open to attendees, academics and non-academic audiences. From theatre research, literature studies and history to education, sociology and communications, Congress represents a unique showcase of scholarly excellence, creativity, and leadership.

Congress 2017 highlights

With 10,014 attendees, Congress 2017 at Ryerson University in Toronto was the largest ever Congress in Federation history! This year’s Congress, which took place from May 27 to June 2, was the 86th such event and more than 5,400 papers were presented by researchers from 70 associations, in keeping with this year’s theme “The Next 150, On Indigenous Lands.”

Over 300 events were free and open to all attendees and to the general public:

  • The Big Thinking lecture series offered up leading scholars and public intellectuals each day over the lunch hour who presented resent forward-thinking research, ideas and solutions to the critical questions and issues of our time.
  • Ryerson University presented a wide range of programming, with over 70 events ranging from interdisciplinary lectures to cultural programming such as film screenings, art installations, bike tours, KAIROS blanket exercises and more.
  • More than 40 events were part of the reconciliation programming series specifically addressing how the humanities and social sciences are addressing the recommendations of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission.
  • 42 scholarly associations delivered programming funded by the Federation via the Aid for Interdisciplinary Sessions Fund or the International Keynote Support Fund.

The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science, attended Congress, offered remarks and awarded the 2017 Canada Prizes at a ceremony on May 28. This was Minister Duncan’s first major occasion since taking office to speak directly to the humanities and social sciences community, and her message was clear: the humanities and social sciences are disciplines key to Canada’s long term success.

Congress media

Congress 2017 generated considerable media coverage from regional and national outlets, with over 100 media stories running in 36 online, print, radio and TV outlets. Highlights include:

Congress 2016 & 2015 highlights


Click here to read about the many highlights from Congress 2016!


Click here to read about the many highlights from Congress 2015!