Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

Russian anti-gay legislation sparks critical thought--Sochi and beyond

Liz Smith

Recent events in Russia are certainly at the forefront of a number of important geopolitical conversations. Things that might stand out include: the detaining of the 'Arctic 30' Greenpeace activists, granting temporary asylum to American whistleblower Edward Snowden, as well as the recent military intervention in the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution. Of course, the international spectacle of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games was, indeed, on the public radar, and Putin's enactment of the so-called 'anti-gay propaganda law' immediately before the Sochi Opening Ceremonies caught the attention of the masses. It was this topic that constituted the framework for a vibrant discussion by a roundtable of political and historical experts at Sunday night's Congress panel put on by the Canadian Historical Association (CHA), entitled "...

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Challenging casual homophobia

Liz Smith

How often do you hear “That’s so gay”? What about “faggot”, “dyke”, and “queer”? Here’s a less comfortable question: how often do you yourself use these words? While terms like these permeate our language, they are seldom challenged let alone recognized as a significant part of our popular discourse. Perpetuating this language without rigorous consideration of the connotations it holds is part of what enables a culture of ‘casual homophobia’—something that characterizes our contemporary society, even at times below our level of conscious awareness, and which has detrimental effects for sexual minorities.

Dr. Kristopher Wells, Director of the Institute for Sexual Minority Studies and Services at the University of Alberta (iSMSS), and Wade Davis, former American Football player and...

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David Plotz – Digital journalism: From scourge to trend-setter

Doug Junke

For David Plotz, the advent of digital journalism has been the best of times and the worst of times, to borrow from Charles Dickens.

Slate editor Plotz addressed Tuesday’s Congress 2014 Big Thinking crowd of 125 at Brock University with his engaging speech, “Fast, cheap and out of control: How the Internet has made journalism  better than it’s ever been.”

But by way of background first, Plotz grew up and still lives in Washington, D.C., graduated from Harvard in 1992 and has been a writer with Slate – an online current affairs and culture magazine -- since its inception in 1996, becoming editor in 2008. Slate has won two U.S. National Magazine Awards.

He has published two books: The Genius Factory and Good Book.

Plotz got his start in journalism by being rejected by 91 out of 92 newspapers to...

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This scientist has been government approved for your safety

Jessica Dixon

Franke James, James Turk, and Dr. Janet Friskney came together within Brock University's David S. Howes Theatre yesterday to speak out against issues that they think should have the Harper Government shaking in their government-endorsed boots. “Eroding democracy: Canada's public science policy in a new regime of governance” addressed the many issues currently found within Canada’s deteriorating democracy.

“There are three warning signs that democracy is at risk in Canada” commented Franke James, author and artist of environmental book Banned on the Hill, “One- The Government targets dissenting...

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Attention future shoppers

Visit Innovation.ca for more stories about humanities and social science research supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). By funding state-of-the-art research infrastructure in all disciplines and across the full spectrum of research from discovery to applied, the CFI gives researchers the tools they need to think big and innovate.

 

The shopping spree of the future will be nothing like the crowded, stuffy gauntlet of today, according to Brian Greenspan, director of Carleton University’s Hyperlab. Greenspan and his students research the implications of a Big Brother culture that inevitably comes about when we live in the cloud. In this podcast, Greenspan takes listeners on a tour of the mall of the future, describing how marketers mine the data we continuously generate through our mobile devices to shape the way we shop. Music: Ambient-M by Antony Raijekov, courtesy of the Free Music...

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Child minding at Congress – Keeping the kids involved

Doug Junke

When it comes to Congress 2014, it’s not all about the adults. There’s a child-minding service for participants’ children as well.

“It’s been a great experience,” says Marie Reimer, Brock University’s special projects and operations co-ordinator. “I’m working with excellent people who are putting the university in the spotlight, Congress 2014 and the Federation (for the Humanities and Social Sciences) as well.”

And the kids?

“The children are responding really well … they seem to be enjoying themselves…. And we’ve had a good response from the parents,” said Reimer.

Thirty-one children of Congress participants were pre-registered for the child-minding service, ranging in age from eight months to 12 years. They hail from British Columbia,...

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The final five SSHRC Storytellers selected

Liz Smith

Important and fascinating research in 3 minutes or less. READY. GO! Out of roughly 150 submissions, the top twenty-five postsecondary students from across Canada gathered at the Congress Centre Expo Event Space yesterday to showcase their diverse research projects in the second annual Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) “Research for a Better Life: The Storytellers” challenge. The aim? To convey the relevance and importance of their SSHRC-funded research, each covering a different societal issue, through a compelling story in a 3 minute segment.

“This initiative is part of a larger ambition to showcase how SSHRC research is helping us understand the world around us towards a better future”, said the keynote speaker.

The success of the Storytellers initiative to pitch a diversity of...

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Learning by the numbers

Research at Wilfrid Laurier University spawns new ways to teach children math

Malorie Bertrand, Canada Foundation for Innovation

Visit Innovation.ca for more stories about humanities and social science research supported by the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI). By funding state-of-the-art research infrastructure in all disciplines and across the full spectrum of research from discovery to applied, the CFI gives researchers the tools they need to think big and innovate.

 

Nearly 40 percent of Canadian adults don’t have the minimum reading skills necessary to function properly in society and half lack the minimum math skills. People with low literacy and numeracy are more likely to drop out of school and engage in criminal behaviour, studies have shown, which means billions of dollars a year in policing and criminal justice, welfare and employment support, and reduced...

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Superstition on the battlefield: The culture of death among Canadian soldiers in WWI

Terry Soleas

Tim Cook, a renowned Canadian Historian of the First World War, spoke today at the Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities at Brock University. His lecture, “The borders between life and death: Stories of the supernatural and uncanny among Canada’s Great War soldiers“ discussed the superstition of soldiers and their relationship with death. Cook explained that he would be discussing the supernatural through the eyes of a historian. 

Soldiers in World War I fought in trenches that were subject to mortar bombardment, gassing, machine gun fire, and frequent incursions by enemy troops. These trenches were also subject to rampant pest infestations like rats, lice and pathogen outbreaks. Approximately half of all Canadian soldiers in the war became casualties, by it wounded in action, grievously disfigured, or outright killed. Quite simply, soldiers were...

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Ending inequalities for First Nations children and young people

Liz Smith

Canada’s history is rooted in violent oppression. Our legacy of colonialism and ruthless intervention into the lives of First Nations people is not merely a distant memory, but one with continuing negative effects in contemporary society. On Sunday May 25th, Dr. Cindy Blackstock—Executive Director of the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society of Canada—drew in a full crowd of scholars and community members to the David S. Howes Theatre to address Canada’s shameful conduct that very often goes unrecognized. While we prefer to see Canada as a nation that upholds and practices principles of fairness, equity, and liberalism, in actuality our federal legislative policies have and continue to be responsible for keeping First Nations people disenfranchised and on the margins.

So what does this look like? Anyone who seeks a critical understanding about our nation’s history will know about the 1867 Indian Act introduced to eradicate Indian...

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