Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

SSH News: Federation updates, Canadian Association of Postdoctoral Scholars report, OECD Adult Competencies survey results, and Canada’s first Leibniz Lecture


Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

It’s been just over a week since the first Big Thinking lecture of the 2013-2014 season – Dr. Richard Hawkins’ “Whither innovation? Moving beyond the buzzword”. The event, which was presented in partnership with the University of Ottawa’s Institute for Science Society and Policy (ISSP) and hosted at HUB Ottawa, drew an enthusiastic crowd and led to some excellent discussion. A video of the lecture will be available on our website in the coming weeks.

In other Federation news:

  • President Antonia Maioni’s speech at the recent Power of the Arts National Forum can now be read on our...

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New Congress hashtag


The 2013 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences was a huge success in terms of online engagement between attendees, the Federation, and our hosts at the University of Victoria. One of our key social media platforms was Twitter, and the #congress2013 hashtag became a valuable place to connect, share information, and discuss the ideas so abundant during the week. From June 1-8 we measured 7,600 tweets using #congress2013, and about 1,600 of those took place in just one day!

To visit #congress2013 now, however, is a different story. Currently, and even during Congress, the feed is also occupied by tweets about different events that use the same hashtag, as well as angry rants about US politics. The same applies for #congress2012, and every future Congress if we were to continue using this format. All these other...

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SSH News: Power of the Arts, SSHRC webinars, and Bibliographical Society of Canada call for proposals


Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Can you believe it’s already the end of September? That was fast. The Power of the Arts National Forum is already upon us, and if you aren’t able to make it down to Carleton University you can still watch the plenary sessions live online. Federation President Antonia Maioni is providing a keynote on the last day of the conference, this Sunday, between 3 and 5 pm. You can also follow the action on Twitter.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council is hosting a series of webinars on October 2nd and 3rd to provide...

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SSH News: CIBC report, call for papers for Sexuality, Human Rights, and Public Policy conference, and the official website for Congress 2014


Earlier this week the CIBC released a report suggesting that Canadian postsecondary students are widely choosing to enter fields of study that are not compatible with today’s high-demand areas of employment. Consequently, the report argues that Canada is experiencing an excess supply of post-secondary graduates whose skills do not reflect the needs of the contemporary labour market. The implications of the report have been discussed in a...

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What’s the big idea? – Micah Anshan’s new role for drug users

Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

In 1956, William S. Burroughs sent a letter to the British Journal of Addiction with an article enclosed, which described his experiences using a broad collection of drugs and the symptoms of withdrawal from each. Of the common tendency to use the word addiction “to indicate anything one is used to or wants,” he suggests that “so misapplied, the term loses any useful precision of meaning.” Burroughs, a seminal figure of the 1950s Beat movement, appears in this letter to call for an understanding of “real addiction” as experienced by a “real addict”.

According to...

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Looking Back: Congress 2013

Text and Photos by Andrew Brough unless otherwise credited.

  Photo by Peter E. Cumming

The University of Victoria is a lush, green campus. More often than not, the local deer would join you on your morning walk to a session.

But it wasn’t just the deer that were up and about in the morning, especially during Congress. There were plenty of people arriving via bus and heading to events. The bus stop in front of the UVic Bookstore was always busy no matter the time of day.


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What Congress 2013 Meant to Me: The Final Edition

Team Media passing those long, long hours. I assure you it was a lot more work than it looks.

Its been a month since Congress ended and I don't know where to begin this long overdue post. Initially, I confess, I was at a loss for words when it came to this particular blog entry, but now, as the energy has died down and I've had some time to think, I can better summarize my experience. At a glance, Congress 2013 was Canada's largest gathering of academics, scholars, and researchers in the humanities and social sciences with 68 academic associations and some seven-thousand odd delegates. Over eight days the University of Victoria hosted, in most cases simultaneously, keynote lectures, panel presentations, meetings with policymakers, SSHRC funding workshops, and even live entertainment! So...

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Pushing boundaries at Congress 2014

Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

A popular description of the creative mind is the ability to “think outside the box”, to consider what options are available beyond the cardboard walls of tradition and the Styrofoam peanuts of habit. Sometimes, what comes in one box isn’t sufficient, and solutions may be found in the contents of another; innovation requires the understanding that “the box” is not “the only box” – there are many different boxes, each package a unique configuration of ideas – and they aren’t necessarily sealed. At Congress 2013, Daniel Weinstock’s Big Thinking lecture explored how divisive social issues may be addressed by integrating various ideologies to create a workable compromise (kind of like this, but with ideas instead of IKEAs). Socially valuable...

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Congress 2013 feedback

It’s been just over two weeks since Congress 2013 wrapped up, and we’re still receiving some really valuable feedback; our annual post-Congress survey has brought in hundreds of responses already, and we’ve had a great collection of blog posts shared with us by attendees reflecting on their experience.

Here at the Federation, we strive to ensure that the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences is well-organized, productive, and enjoyable for all. We send out a survey at the end of every Congress and work to incorporate the feedback we receive into the following year’s planning. By completing our survey, you can help us to develop in both logistics and programming, and provide us with your thoughts on any areas with room for improvement. Your comments are truly valuable to us, so we encourage you to let us know how you feel, even just by sending us an email or a tweet. Our...

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