A Voice for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Canadian researchers analyse the spread of covid-19 misinformation online

As local and global information about COVID-19 continues to shift rapidly, social science and humanities researchers are investigating the nature of misinformation and conspiracy theories, methods of transmission for false information, and the impact of fake news on our behaviours and psychological well-being. 

A multidisciplinary team from the Université de Sherbrooke (UdeS), along with international partners, are compiling a macro-analysis of responses to COVID-19 related information from a broad range of sources and platforms. 

Canadian survey results compiled as part of the project show the pervasiveness of misinformation online.  

  • 38.4% believe that their government is hiding important information about COVID-19 
  • 15.0% believe that the pharmaceutical industry is involved in spreading COVID-19 
  • 52.7% of respondents were aware that they had been exposed to news about COVID-19 that proved to be false 

"From these...

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Trekking Toward Awe: Nonreligion in a Complex Future project examines nonreligion and hiking

Lily Polowin, Digital Communications Officer, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

One of our goals at the Federation is to demonstrate the value and contributions of humanities and social science research. Sometimes, that value can be explained in terms of the skills that graduates gain from their education. At other times, that value is clear in the way in which the insights of our researchers can be applied by policy- and decision-makers to create a more equitable society. And lastly, often that value is shown in the humanities and social sciences’ ability to ask questions that simply can’t be approached by the hard sciences fields: questions about what it means to be human and to live in society.

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Emma Donoghue: “We’re relying on the arts more than ever.”

Lily Polowin, Digital Communications Officer at the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

On Tuesday, June 2, the Association for College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) will present the plenary Generation Gaps with renowned Irish novelist and scholar Emma Donoghue. This will be Donoghue’s very first digital lecture (apart from a Facebook Live with author Philip Pullman!) and I had the honour to interview her for the occasion.

Generation Gaps will be a talk (with short readings) about the challenges – technical, psychological, political and even ethical – raised by writing about both youth and age. It is a subject even more timely than usual...

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Gabriel Miller addresses March for Science 2018

Speech made at the March for Science in Toronto on April 14, 2018

[Check against delivery]

Thank you. It’s wonderful to be here with you marching for knowledge, for evidence, and for science!

And I want to thank the organizers. Thank you for all the hard work that you put into today. And thank you for inviting me, someone who represents the humanities and social sciences to be part of today’s festivities.

You understand that there’s lots of space for everyone in this parade – everyone, that is, who cares about learning. Who cares about facts. Who cares about truth.

The tools and methods we use will differ depending on the subject, but beneath those differences is something much bigger and more important that unites us – a drive to better understand ourselves and the world we...

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Tools that help us talk about impacts in the humanities

Tim Kenyon, Professor of Philosophy and Associate Dean of Arts, Research, University of Waterloo; member of the Federation’s Impacts Project Advisory Group

On February 8-9, I was very happy to meet with colleagues at the University of Manitoba, during a visit organized by the Institute for Humanities. In presentations and discussion sessions, we covered topics relating to the measurement and appraisal of humanities research. A summary of some of the themes raised in those discussions follows.

When asked to provide evidence or descriptions of research impact, humanities researchers typically face two related difficulties. The first is the prevalence and influence of research metrics that do not capture humanities research accurately; the second is the difficulty of proposing characterizations of research impact that do capture humanities research accurately.

We discussed ways in which both difficulties can be addressed through an open,...

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Research community speaks out on U.S. travel ban

Gauri Sreenivasan, Director of Policy and Programs, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

As news of U.S. President Donald Trump’s early executive orders spread across news channels at the end of January, many Canadians and citizens around the world were alarmed by the swiftness of the move to close borders and target Muslim majority countries. Civil liberties lawyers and groups analyzed and challenged the text; many worried at home; thousands participated in...

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Sesquicentennial is no longer just about Canada

Paul Davidson, president, Universities Canada and Christine Tausig Ford, interim executive director, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Canada’s 150th anniversary offers up a unique moment in time -- a pause, if you will, to reflect on where we’ve been and our country’s potential for the future.

There will be many celebrations over the coming year to mark 150 years since Confederation, but our sesquicentennial is about much more than cake and fireworks. Most importantly, it’s about coming together to chart a path to 2067.

At our 200th anniversary, what kind of Canada do we want to be? What can and should we become as a nation?

That’s the challenge laid before 100 young leaders from universities...

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Time to Take Peer Review of Humanities and Social Sciences Research Seriously at CIHR

Matthew Herder, Associate Professor, Health Law Institute, Faculties of Medicine and Law, Dalhousie University @cmrherder

In September 2016, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) launched an International Peer Review Expert Panel under the Chairmanship of Sir Peter Gluckman, Chief Scientific Advisor to the Prime Minister of New Zealand, to assess the design and implementation of CIHR’s new grants adjudication processes. Nominated by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, Matthew Herder presented his testimony to the International Peer Review Expert Panel on January 17, 2017. You can read Herder’s full testimony here as well as his blog below, originally posted on Impact Ethics blog.  


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Full STEAM ahead!

Christine Tausig Ford, Interim Executive Director, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences 

It’s been a few weeks since I took on the position of interim executive director of the Federation, and I’m reminded daily of why I believe so passionately in the value of teaching, scholarship and research in the humanities and social sciences.

Recently, thanks to a suggestion by Julia Wright, a member of the Federation’s Board of Directors and a professor of English at Dalhousie University, I spent some time re-reading Percy Bysshe Shelley’s A Defence of Poetry.  The famous essay was far more meaningful to me today than decades ago, when I was an undergraduate studying English literature at the University of Toronto’s Trinity College. Back then, I didn’t really...

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The federal science review is an opportunity to strengthen Canadian research

Peter Severinson, Policy Analyst, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

This summer, the Canadian research community was tasked to address some of the sector’s most pressing challenges through the federal Fundamental Science Review, conducted by an independent panel struck by Minister of Science Kirsty Duncan. The Federation was an active participant in the review process, conducting extensive consultations with its members across the humanities and social sciences (HSS) community and delivering a comprehensive set of recommendations to the review committee in our official submission “Grasping the complexity of...

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