A new imagination - Catherine Dauvergne and the new politics of immigration

Samara Bissonnette

In an installment of the Big Thinking series for Congress 2014, Catherine Dauvergne delivered one of her newest big ideas yesterday at Brock University in a presentation titled "The End of Settler Societies and the New Politics of Immigration". As a member of The Trudeau Foundation, which was founded in 2001 in tribute to the humanitarian virtues of Pierre Trudeau himself, Dauvergne acts as a pro-bono lawyer, a teacher, and a student of research herself, as she researches a new understanding of the politics of immigration around the world, with particular attention to our Canadian home. As a professor, she imparts advice and assistance to young scholars in her field and maintains the belief that "to really do justice to a big idea, you need time more than anything else", to which she added that "the Trudeau Foundation is a gift of time" to her...

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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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A conversation through time: a case study of Anne Clifford

Samara Bissonnette

In a twenty-first century university conference room, Dr. Leah Knight brought her audience back through time to the North in the English Renaissance. Her in-depth studies of one Anne Clifford, Countess of Dorset, were brought to life as she delivered a tantalizing taste of her research in a presentation entitled, "Living La Vida Local: Anne Clifford's Personal Typology of Place". Through a close analysis of Anne's own records, that Dr. Knight described how in terms of obsession, tedium and repetition, she was able to paint a colourful picture of Renaissance life.

In a time when technology advances at a pace that turns life into a hazy blur of speed, bustle, and impatience, taking a look at Cliford's life and records is incredibly worth-while for emphasizing the importance of the "simple life" and the local life that surrounds us on a daily basis. Clifford's interest in reassesing the value of the local...

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SSH News: Humanities Perspectives, FPACarleton Critical Panel Discussion, Imagining Canada’s Future

Humanities on the defensive? Yes. No. Maybe. One thing is for sure, this week has featured insightful reads on the value-added of education and training in the humanities, including:

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SSH News: Innovation, Humanities in the Digital Age, Big Data

Last Saturday was International Women’s Day, so it’s only fitting to share that ideas can be… smart and beautiful! “For years now, the call for more real-looking models to be used in clothing ads has been echoed by women around the globe. A San Francisco-based fashion retailer appears to be heeding that cry this season -- at least in part -- by using PhDs and doctoral candidates instead of fashion models to show off its goods” (CBC News).

While equity and diversity are being embraced in the digital age in this way, ubiquitous advanced technologies are also impacting the pace of innovation and the social sciences and humanities. This week, Bill Gates “disagreed forcefully...

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Concordia Looks Back 53 Years with University TV

Christine Mitchell, Department of English, Concordia University

The Concordia University community will take a peek into its past later this week when its Media History Research Centre holds a screening of two half-hour television episodes produced on the university campus in 1961.

The programs were part of a seven-episode series that was shot live in temporary campus studios and aired on Sunday mornings at 10:00. The episodes featured faculty, students and administrative personnel in mock classroom situations and in dialogue with host Syd Davidson and focused on university life. The program’s topic is summed up in its simple title: University. Campus newspaper The Georgian described the program as “the first English-language experiment in televised education at the university level.”

Today’s audience may be surprised to discover its forebears concentrating on and grappling over many of the same concerns that abound on Canadian university...

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Showing the human face of the humanities - the Humanities Matter Web Series and Bus Tour

The MakerBus team, Ryan Hunt, Kim Martin, and Beth Compton

Things aren’t looking very bright for the arts and humanities at the moment. In our current age of austerity, arts and humanities budgets are easy targets for spending reductions. In both the United States and Canada, politicians seem focused on cuts. During his 2012 presidential campaign, Mitt Romney identified the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts as programs that should be “eliminated.” Even after softening his tone regarding the arts and humanities, Romney continued to advocate for harsh cuts that...

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SSH News: Big Thinking, Canada’s Innovation Challenge, AAAS 2014

This month’s Big Thinking lecture presented by Joseph Heath, Director, Centre for Ethics, and Professor, Department of Philosophy and School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto, is now available to view online. This lecture addressed "reason versus passion" in politics and what we are sacrificing when we allow our political system to be dominated by appeals to passion rather than reason. The event was also captured in an article in The Hill Times this week: U of T prof calls for Enlightenment 2.0 to combat environment of ‘truthiness’ (available by subscription only).


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Forward thinking: Interdisciplinary programs and the adjacent possible

Michael Ullyot, Associate Dean (Teaching and Learning), Faculty of Arts, University of Calgary

When I was an undergraduate, the recruiting poster for an interdisciplinary program in the humanities asked, "What do Leonardo da Vinci and Martha Stewart have in common?" The answer: "They're both generalists."

Whatever you think of its chosen exemplars, that program is no more. All interdisciplinary programs ebb and flow with intellectual currents, as they should -- but their common aim is to imagine future fields of study, emerging from the fields between the disciplinary borders of our imagined present. So computational linguistics, for instance, arose from exchanges between linguists and computer scientists. Often...

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SSH News: Big Thinking, Federal Budget 2014, SSHRC Impact Awards

The most recent Big Thinking lecture "Reason versus passion in politics" was presented on Tuesday by Joseph Heath, Director, Centre for Ethics, and Professor, Department of Philosophy and School of Public Policy and Governance, University of Toronto. This lecture addressed "reason versus passion" in politics and what we are sacrificing when we allow our political system to be dominated by appeals to passion rather than reason. Léo Charbonneau, editor at University Affairs, reflected on Heath's talk in his article “Emotion should not rule over reason in politics” (University Affairs).

And just maybe, reason in politics did prevail this week… To the applause of many...

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