Blog

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 lpolowin@ideas-idees.ca if you wish to propose a blog article. 

Accessibility on the Fringes in a Time of Crisis

Guest blog by James Deaville, professor and musicologist at Carleton University.

Post-secondary institutions have responded with alacrity to the needs of undergraduate students, whose lives and studies have been disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Graduate students whose research relies upon lab work, ethnography or archival study have found themselves more severely disadvantaged by the novel coronavirus’ impacts on access to these vital resources (Zahneis 2020). Faculty and staff have experienced significant disruptions of their own, as entry to campus offices is prohibited and the distinction between home and work further erodes. Some of us have the extra charge of home-schooling children while teaching, administering and—as time and energy permit—engaging in research activities. Add to that the veritable...

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The value of connection: work-from-home reflections on World Telecommunication and Internet Society day

Guest blog by Fenwick McKelvey, Associate Professor in Information and Communication Technology Policy in the Department of Communication Studies at Concordia University.

Here in Montreal, the pandemic coincided with an unusually cold spring, so my family has been spending our days indoors, connected to the outside world through the Internet. As someone who studies how we measure the Internet, I have been thinking about the value of my connection. On World Telecommunications Day, I would like to share my reflections on the relationship between how we measure the Internet and how we judge its effectiveness during a pandemic.

Like the weather, there are lots of ways to describe Internet. It. Instead of temperature, UV index or that...

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Soundscaping COVID-19: Experiential learning in a floating and then quarantined classroom

Guest blog by Shumaila Hemani, Ph.D in Music from the University of Alberta and Instructor at the Faculty of Extension, University of Alberta.

In what ways can we adapt our teaching in times of crisis to exhibit resilience such that the arts we teach inspire and empower students to act, especially in times of stress and crisis, and nurture their right to imagination?  I was part of the Music faculty at the Semester at Sea’s Spring 2020 voyage that abruptly ended a month early as a result of COVID-19.  I responded to the loss in experiential learning opportunities as a result of cancellation of the students’ field-classes in South Africa by bringing forward my own artistic practice and research at...

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Nostalgia as medicine: Music and resilience during COVID-19 in Iran

Guest blog by Siavash Rokni, a teacher, researcher, musician and doctoral candidate in communication at UQAM.

I am an Iranian-Canadian-Quebecois doctoral candidate in Communication and lecturer in History of Communication at Université de Québec à Montréal (UQAM). I am also a musician: I play classical flute and jazz saxophone and compose ensemble music. My thesis focuses on how Talfighi (fusion) music in Iran has navigated its place in the Iranian musical panorama since the post-Khatami era.

A couple of weeks ago, I spoke to a friend in southern Italy who is currently in quarantine due to the...

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Five surprising truths about language mixing

Guest blog by Dr. Shana Poplack, Member of the Order of Canada, Canada Research Chair in Linguistics and founding director of the Sociolinguistics Laboratory, both at the University of Ottawa.

On this International Day of Multilingualism, I celebrate coexisting languages and their speakers everywhere. I’m in good company, since more than half the world’s population is said to speak more than one language, often many more. This means that multilingualism is not the exception, but the norm. And yet this most ordinary state of affairs continues to be associated with a variety of deficits, mainly linguistic. One of the most salient and stigmatized is language “mixing”, widely considered to display laziness and ignorance, when not blamed for the deterioration or even demise of one or all of the languages involved. ...

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