Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences

The Doctoral Dissertation – A Consultation

Guest blog by the Canadian Association for Graduate Studies (CAGS)

There was a time when a PhD dissertation in the Humanities or most Social Sciences was an early version of a single-authored scholarly manuscript. Things are changing. Today, the three-article thesis is accepted –  even the norm – in some disciplines. And dissertations comprised primarily of creative works are a basic requirement in other programs. 

In 2014, Eric Weissman’s (PhD Indi -Concordia) multi-media, interdisciplinary work “Spaces, Places and States of Mind: a Pragmatic Ethnography,” was given CAGS’s Distinguished Dissertation Award. Weissman’s approach recognized that the complexities of homelessness couldn’t be organized into a traditional manuscript. Another example...

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Expo Passport is back!

Guest blog by Ashley Craven, Event Planner, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The Expo Passport is back for Congress 2017! Once again, attendees will have the opportunity to win great prizes while they visit our exciting Congress Expo exhibitors. Expo is sold out this year and we are looking forward to featuring over 50 exhibitors for our attendees to meet. Check out a full list of exhibitors here

The Expo Passport will be attached to the outside of the Congress Essentials Guide that you will receive at registration. Keep this with you whenever you are in the Expo tradeshow in the Congress Hub. Whether it be to grab a quick snack or refuel on coffee at the RAMS Café, attend a Career...

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The role of poets as cultural game-changers

Guest blog by Manina Jones, President, Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English

What is the importance of the poet in the public sphere? 

George Elliott Clarke, Parliamentary Poet Laureate of Canada and E.J. Pratt Professor of Canadian Literature at the University of Toronto, is a literary critic keen to understand the rich history and continuing influence of Canadian literary cultures, the role of poets as cultural game-changers who can mobilize the power of language to challenge the way we think. As a poet, Clarke steps up to this role himself, in accessible, dramatic writing, and moving public performances. A scholar, poet and activist, Clarke pursues the mandate of Parliamentary Poet Laureate “to encourage and promote the importance of...

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The Lowdown on Big Data

Michael Todd, SAGE Publishing

Who’s doing big data?

Based on the buzz that the term has been creating since the turn of the century, perhaps a better question is who isn’t doing big data. Certainly the awareness of giant datasets and their potential to be mined for good, or ill, is well-nigh universal. As political scientist Gary King, who heads Harvard’s Institute for Quantitative Social Science, is fond of saying, “My mom now thinks she understands what I do.”

As with anything buzzy, the truth is that not nearly so many people really understand what big data really is, and an even smaller number are actively working with it. Last year, SAGE Publishing took a stab at figuring out who was doing big data work and what sort of support they needed. More than 9,000 people, mostly academics, worldwide answered SAGE’s survey. That survey resulted in a white paper,...

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The Federation and DHSI partner on digital skills training

Alyssa Arbuckle, Assistant Director, Research Partnerships & Development, Electronic Textual Cultures Lab, University of Victoria

The Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) is an annual training opportunity hosted at the University of Victoria in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. DHSI is the largest regular digital humanities skills training institute in the world, and has approximately 3,500 alumni. It is directed by Dr. Ray Siemens and coordinated by the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab on the University of Victoria campus. In 2016, DHSI welcomed over 800 participants across 43 courses led by an instructional team of around 70 individuals...

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Sharing the Land, Sharing a Future: Reconciliation

Zahura Ahmed, Congress student blogger

What kind of nation are we? What kind of nation do we want to be in the next 150 years? Cindy Blackstock, Executive Director of the First Nations Child & Family Caring Society of Canada, gave a compelling keynote at the “Sharing the Land, Sharing a Future” forum on Wednesday morning. Blackstock delivered a searing critique of government and academic inaction despite a history of studies, reports, Commissions, and recommendations. Approaching reconciliation through the lens of child welfare, she argued that in order to understand reconciliation, we must understand the Canadian state’s long history of placing itself between First Nations children and their families.

Blackstock stated that we too often perceive ourselves as benevolent, and in doing so we make excuses for our acts of omission as well as our minimal acts of justice. We are aware of the problems that Indigenous communities face, yet we...

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Imagining Canada’s Future/Imaginer l’avenir du Canada

What effects will the quest for energy and natural resources have on our society and our position on the world stage?

Quels effets la quête de ressources naturelles et d’énergie aura-t-elle sur la société canadienne et la place qu’occupe le Canada à l’échelle mondiale?

National forum organized by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada in partnership with the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada.

Forum national organisé par le Conseil de recherches en sciences humaines du Canada en partenariat avec la Fédération des sciences humaines du Canada

Concluding remarks /Quelques réflexions pour conclure”

Guy Laforest, MSRC
Président-élu, Fédération des sciences humaines du Canada
Professeur au département de science politique de l’Université Laval
Guy.Laforest@pol.ulaval.ca

...

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Thank you, volunteers!

Dear volunteers of the Congress for the Social Sciences and Humanities,

On behalf of myself and the entire Federation of the Social Sciences and Humanities I would like to extend a sincere thank you to each and every one of you. It is because of your hard work and dedication that the 85th edition of Canada’s largest interdisciplinary gathering of scholars and researchers was able to run with such ease.

During these past eight days, you have performed a number of essential duties that has supported the University of Calgary’s and the Federation for Social Sciences and Humanities production of Congress. Whether you were a volunteer in accommodation, audio-visual, hospitality, the mobile team, campus guide or a shuttle and event assistant, you played an essential role to the successful outcome of this year’s Congress and in providing a warm Western welcome to nearly 8,000 participants. The time and commitment you have dedicated to...

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Big Thinking speaker calls for compromise in the debate over trade and food security

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

In the final installment of the Big Thinking lecture series at this year’s Congress, Professor Jennifer Clapp (University of Waterloo) called for an end to polarization and the beginning of compromise and collaboration in the debate over trade and food security. Clapp began her lecture by framing the issue of food security: that more than 800 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished, and that many of those people are poor agriculturalists living in countries dependent on food imports.

Those seeking solutions to this and related issues of food security generally fall into two diametrically opposed ideological camps: those who see trade as the solution, and those who see it as the problem.

The pro-trade point of view argues that comparative advantage should increase production and efficiency, improve food distribution, and that market distortions (like tariffs and...

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Workshop offers alternate model for student engagement in and out of the classroom

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

On June 2 at Congress 2016, Lisa Stowe (University of Calgary) lead a special session of Career Corner hosted by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the University of Calgary entitled Flip your classroom to increase student engagement. Stowe laid out an alternative to traditional lecturing by creating a community of learners in the classroom and by breaking down the traditional boundaries between instructors and students.

This community of learners is formed by literally flipping the environments in which new content is disseminated to students and in which students demonstrate knowledge of and make use of said content. In the flip method, new material is assigned as “homework” (in the form of online resources such as podcasts, YouTube clips and PowerPoint presentations), while creative engagement with that material is performed in the classroom.

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