Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Getting radically interdisciplinary with the sciences

Natalie Brender, National Director, Genomics in Society, Genome Canada


More visibly than ever, advocates for the humanities and social sciences (HSS) are making the case that their fields must be considered not just on par with, but actually as partners with, the natural sciences in contributing to societal goods. The new federal environment is propitious, with the government’s announced reviews of science policy and innovation policy, as well as a commitment to evidence-based policymaking. These developments offer a new receptiveness to the notion that the natural sciences are most productive when combined with HSS insights.

There are also signs that the natural sciences are becoming more aware of the benefits of getting radically interdisciplinary—meaning not just chemists talking...

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Rethinking graduate education to access greater career opportunities

By Veronica Vincent

As part of the Congress 2016 exciting line-up of events, the University of Calgary will host six Interdisciplinary symposia to exhibit the university’s most compelling and leading-edge thinking and research. This article is part of a six-part series showcasing each event, all of which are open to Congress attendees and the general public.

The University of Calgary’s Faculty of Graduate Studies has taken bold steps over the past few years to enrich the graduate student experience and has made new headway in preparing students for work, not just in academic professions, but also for the private and public sectors.

On May 31, 2016, the Faculty will host an Interdisciplinary symposium called Mobilizing Graduate Students for Diverse...

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10 Ways to Use Digital Humanities to Enhance Your Research, Teaching and Dissemination: June 2 and 3 at Congress

Constance Crompton, Assistant Professor, Digital Humanities and English, Department of Critical Studies | Faculty of Creative and Critical Studies

The DHSI@Congress returns for a third year with eight hands-on workshops and two plenary talks that introduce Digital Humanities (DH) techniques, tools  and methods. Developed for faculty, students, and staff who are curious about DH, but would like a hand getting started, the series features 2.5-hour workshops on topics from project management to DH pedagogy, from theoretical issues to command line 101 (and more!). If you have ever wondered how to create your own multimedia digital exhibits, trace stylistic shifts in a novel, share files with collaborators, or integrate DH into the...

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The Faculty of Nursing’s symposium will take a fresh, multidisciplinary approach to compassion during Congress 2016

As part of the Congress 2016 exciting line-up of events, the University of Calgary will host six Interdisciplinary symposia to exhibit the university’s most compelling and leading-edge thinking and research. This article is part of a six-part series showcasing each event, all of which are open to Congress attendees and the general public.

On Sunday May 29, the Faculty of Nursing will host an Interdisciplinary symposium on compassion called Compassion under Contemporary Conditions: Keynote with Margaret Atwood; panels with scholars and community leaders. Why compassion and why now?  Glad you asked!   Symposium leads Graham McCaffrey (RN PhD) and Shane Sinclair (BA, MDiv, PhD) answer all your burning questions.

Q: So why compassion and why now?

McCaffrey: Compassion has become a subject of interest...

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Philosophy researchers bring their perspectives to partners’ research challenges


Robyn Dugas, Communications Coordinator, Mitacs

Mitacs and the University of Waterloo’s Department of Philosophy have partnered on an initiative that sees graduate and postdoctoral researchers using philosophical approaches in their collaborations with regional partners.

The collaboration emerged following a 2014 internship between Teresa Branch-Smith, a philosophy PhD candidate at the university, and Philip Beesley Architects. Together, they examined philosophical constructions of life and living as applied to “near-living” architecture. The project’s success demonstrated the potential for collaborations between philosophers and...

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Congress 2016 will take a village: University of Calgary put its hosting skills on display and welcomed team from Ottawa for three days of planning meetings

Jennifer Robitaille, Communications Specialist, Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary

Planning for the 2016 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences jointly organized by the University of Calgary and the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences officially kicked off on Sept. 28, 2015.

UCalgary hosted 10 members from the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences as they descended on campus to meet and discuss all things logistics and planning with UCalgary colleagues and local representatives from over 70 scholarly associations that will attend the weeklong conference.

Congress 2016 will run from May 28 to June 3, 2016 and is organized around the theme “Energizing Communities”. Congress 2016 will see more than 8,000 attendees visit UCalgary for the largest annual...

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Roundtable: Working in Public History

Victoria Hawkins, student blogger at Congress 2015

The work of public historians can take many different forms, some quite unexpected. A roundtable discussion at Congress 2015 focused on the different roles that public historians take in their work. Jennifer Anderson of Library and Archives Canada acted as moderator of the discussion. Anderson is currently working on assignment at the Canadian Museum of History and offered insight into the role of both archives and museums in shaping public memory.

As a relatively new field, Public History has many unexpected applications in both the public and private sectors.The panel of speakers represented the various roles of public historians, from freelance and contract work for museums and other cultural institutions to various...

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Reconciling multiculturalism

Christine McKenna, student blogger at Congress 2015

Canada is often viewed as a diverse, welcoming nation comprised of immigrants from around the world, a reputation built on the embracing of “multiculturalism” as an approach to immigration and citizenship. Emerging as a policy framework in 1971, the concept of multiculturalism in Canada has since shifted and evolved, and many now wonder about the term’s relevance to our society, both today and in the future. In a panel presented by the Canadian Sociological Association, scholars gathered to discuss what multiculturalism is, where it came from, and what it implies in a contemporary context. 

“The future of multiculturalism: sociological perspectives” was moderated by Carl James,...

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When big data meets the soul of culture: innovation for the future

Victoria Hawkins, student blogger at Congress 2015

The digital age is rapidly changing how scholars produce, share, analyze and preserve ideas. At Monday’s interdisciplinary symposium at Congress 2015, the changing nature of scholarly research with technology was the topic of discussion.

One of the event’s hot topics was the preservation of the past, facilitated by Fabien Lengellé, Corporate Secretary of Library and Archives Canada (LAC). Lengellé outlined the recent digital projects undertaken by the LAC in efforts to relate to the Digital Humanities domain. Lengellé’s presentation sparked some lively questioning about the choice of which archival materials to digitize and the difficulty of prioritizing certain records. In response, Lengellé said that of LAC’s holdings,...

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Technological Unemployment and the Future of Work

Ashley Stewart, student blogger at Congress 2015

What world can we imagine in 20, 30, even 50 years in the future? How rapid will technology advance and how do we develop policy to match the speed of development? How many times will my job description change? What do we do when machine intelligence surpasses human intelligence? These are just a few of the many questions that I have after the "Technological Unemployment and Future of Work" interdisciplinary symposium at Congress 2015.

I sat down for the symposium intrigued about the topic, but didn’t fathom the scope of what I would learn. It is both fascinating and terrifying the scenarios presented about what technology could possibly bring to society and what that means for our lives. Trying to comprehend...

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