Welcome to the blog for the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. Posts on this site are the opinion of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Federation, its staff or its board of directors. Entries are posted in the language of the author.

Members of the university research community are invited to make guest blog submissions on issues relating to the wellbeing of the humanities and social sciences research and learning enterprise in Canada. Click here to read the Federations’ blog policy. Please contact Lily Polowin at if you wish to propose a blog article. 

Embracing Econferences: a step toward limiting the negative effects of conference culture

Guest blog by Chelsea Miya, Oliver Rossier, and Geoffrey Rockwell, University of Alberta

One of the largest gatherings of scholars in the country will be moving online this year. Thousands of Congress 2021 attendees will not be flying or driving across Canada to the University of Alberta. Instead, they’ll be gathering virtually.

Our reliance on in-person gatherings has been dramatically challenged in the past year, as academics (along with much of the world) were forced to isolate.

While there have been major hurdles while transitioning to online, there have undoubtedly been benefits. One of those has been the environmental impact.

Flying is one of the most significant contributors to greenhouse gas emissions. A sustainability audit at University California Santa Barbara in 2014 found that about one third of the campus’s CO2 footprint (55,000,000 lbs.) came from flying to conferences, talks, and meetings (Hiltner); and a 2018...

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“The stories came from myself, too.” Markoosie Patsauq and the beginnings of Inuit literature in Canada

Guest blog by Valerie Henitiuk, Concordia University of Edmonton, and Marc-Antoine Mahieu, INALCO, Sorbonne Paris Cité

“That’s how it started. I wrote it in syllabics first and then they asked me to write it in English and that’s where the difficult time starts […].”

photo of Markoosie Patsauq, courtesy of Editions Boreal

National Indigenous Languages Day offers a prime opportunity to talk about the first Indigenous novel ever published in Canada, written by an Inuk whose family was among those forcibly relocated to the High Arctic in 1953, and who helped lead the fight for redress. Markoosie Patsauq later became both a pilot and a beloved author translated around the world. He wrote—originally in Inuktitut syllabics—a story whose English adaptation remains, 50 years later,...

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Layerings of risk: researchers document the experiences of racialized communities during COVID-19

While cases of COVID-19 continue to mount around the world, many communities face an additional, more insidious threat: "the virus of racism." Researchers across Canada have been examining the nature of race-based discrimination and its impacts, particularly on East Asian communities in Canada, throughout the pandemic.

Based in academic fields as diverse as administrative studies, sociology, social work, and English and cultural studies, scholars are working alongside Chinese diaspora communities to discover how to best support their physical and mental health, and sense of belonging, during this pandemic and in public health crises to come.

Tracking the experiences of East Asian seniors

Dr. Christine Ann Walsh, Professor of Social Work at the University of Calgary, alongside graduate researchers Qianyun Wang and Jacky Ka Kei Liu sought to learn about the specific experiences of older immigrants within Alberta's Chinese diaspora community....

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Democracy in the classroom: Struggles for mental equilibrium, trust and knowledge

Guest blog by Constance Morley, PhD, Conflict Studies, Saint Paul University

Recent events in the United States are a stark reminder of how currents of racist hatred and thinking can lurk, concealed in the privacy of people’s thoughts until called-upon or provoked. There are folks who maybe had the misfortune of being raised by parents who missed the history lessons of the 1960s that awakened North Americans to grave inequalities, segregation in America and the need to learn the truths about colonialism. Governments slowly started to address racial injustices in America and elsewhere, offering political support for greater cultural diversity. Still, undercurrents of racism in society persisted or reappeared in new forms. In America, a whole range of “white power” groups slowly formed since the Vietnam War,...

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Universities and the George Floyd moment

Guest post by Temitope Oriola, joint editor-in-chief of African Security, associate professor at the University of Alberta, two-time Carnegie fellow, recipient of the Governor General of Canada Academic Gold Medal and president of the Canadian Association of African Studies (CAAS)

George Floyd’s digitized and widely disseminated asphyxiation through that knee on the neck has led to global protests against police violence. The murder of George Floyd on the streets of Minneapolis on May 25, 2020 has also spurred challenges to historical injustices (as well as their ostensible sites and symbols) and social inequalities. There is also increasing solidarity with the...

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