Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

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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Seeing the whole: innovation in learning

Ashley Stewart, student blogger at Congress 2015

Innovation in learning was the topic of His Excellency the Right Honourable David Johnston, Governor General of Canada’s Big Thinking lecture at Congress 2015. Focusing on improving the way we learn by drawing on all areas of research, His Excellency called on his audience to embrace different perspectives and work together across disciplinary boundaries.

In this era of complex research problems, multi-disciplinary research should be common, if not the norm. Sharing ideas across disciplines will help us appreciate the multifaceted nature of any given problem. Living in a time of rapid change and a communication revolution, we are learning new ways of thinking that used to be unimaginable. Building on success with bold and creative...

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Capitalizing on research: from Idea to Impact with Mitacs Internships

Prajeena Karmacharya, student blogger at Congress 2015

During a Congress 2015 panel titled "Capitalizing on research: from Idea to Impact", Mitacs presented an interesting perspective on collaboration between researchers, industry, government and community. Through its internship programs, Mitacs supports applied research in partnership with universities, industry and various levels of government, strengthening connections between these sectors to stimulate innovation and create jobs. In this panel, speakers focused on the impact of this kind of research-based innovation on society.

The panelists for the session were Renee Jackson, Teresa Branch-Smith, Philip Beesly and Angelique Manella. Speakers provided examples of research...

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Immigration and multiculturalism in North America and Europe

Prajeena Karmacharya, student blogger at Congress 2015 & Nour Aoude, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences 

Immigration and multiculturalism are important aspects of North American society. Hundreds of thousands of immigrants are welcomed by Canada and the United States every year. This Big Thinking panel at Congress 2015 examined integration policies as well as the rights and challenges of immigrants in North America and Europe, in an attempt to understand how immigration policies on these two continents differ.

Irene Bloemraad, Chair of Canadian Studies at UC Berkeley and Scholar with the Canadian Institute...

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Plaidoyer pour les sciences sociales et les humanités

Gabriel Arruda, étudiant-blogueur au Congrès 2015

Les enjeux du 21e siècle sont nombreux et complexes. Mondialisation, changements climatiques et terrorisme ne sont que quelques exemples des défis que devront affronter les sociétés au courant des prochaines décennies. C’est pour cette raison que ces sujets sont aujourd’hui étudiés et analysés par les sciences sociales et les humanités. Après tout, ces disciplines s’intéressent à comprendre l’expérience humaine dans toute sa complexité.

L’ironie contemporaine soulevée par Stephen Toope, Président de la Fédération des sciences humaines, est que si les sciences sociales sont désormais capables d’offrir des solutions à ces problèmes, celles-ci sont aujourd...

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Food and health on the western reserves: The deep roots of indigenous insecurity

Prajeena Karmacharya, student blogger at Congress 2015

A passionate and heartfelt presentation from Jim Daschuk, Associate Professor at University of Regina at Congress 2015 highlighted the history of food culture among Canadian indigenous people since the 17th century. His recent book “Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life” talks about the deep injustices, genocide and starvation of natives living on reserves following European settlement.

Daschuk took the audience back to the 17th century, when bison were one of the main sources of food and the centre of native people’s lives. He said, “Métis culture was developed around annual...

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