The COVID-19 crisis has cast new light on the importance of identifying and addressing Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonization (EDID) issues within our society and our scholarly communities, while reminding us of the critical role for scholars in the Humanities and Social Sciences (HSS) in finding solutions to structural inequities. The global pandemic has also brought to the forefront questions about how we can make the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences more open, accessible, and inclusive, and leverage this unique platform to support critical conversations on important social issues.
“As Canada’s largest academic gathering, Congress annually empowers more than 8,000 scholars to have critical discussions, build and strengthen networks, and showcase the incredibly valuable work happening within the Humanities and Social Sciences,” said Patrizia Albanese, Chair of the Board of Directors at the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. “We have a duty to make the opportunities and benefits of Congress as accessible as possible to all members of our community, especially historically under-represented groups and members who have felt marginalized."
Today we are announcing the creation of a Congress Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonization (EDID), composed of the following members:
Malinda S. Smith (Chair), outgoing Professor of Political Science, University of Alberta, incoming Vice-Provost (EDI), University of Calgary
Noreen Golfman (Vice-Chair), former Provost and VP Academic, Memorial University; Past President, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Marie Battiste, Professor, Educational Foundations, University of Saskatchewan
Wesley Crichlow, Professor and Associate Dean (EDI), Ontario Tech University, Federation EDI Board Lead
Jay Dolmage, Professor and Associate Chair, Undergraduate Communication Outcome Initiative, University of Waterloo
Florence Glanfield, Vice-Provost, Indigenous Programming & Research, University of Alberta
Claudia Malacrida, Professor of Sociology, University of Lethbridge, Federation Board member
Anne-José Villeneuve, Associate Professor, French Linguistics, Campus St Jean, University of Alberta
This committee of experts will help the Federation identify and address barriers to equitable, diversely and inclusive participation in Congress and other events. It will advise the Federation on how to carry forward critical conversations about anti-colonialism and anti-Black racism, originally planned to take place at Congress 2020, before that event had to be cancelled due to the pandemic. The Committee will also advise the Federation Board on actions we can take to support reconciliation and decolonization with First Nations, Inuit, and Métis peoples.
“We have recruited a talented group of committee members,” said Professor Malinda S. Smith, Chair of the Congress Advisory Committee on EDID and incoming Vice-Provost (Equity, Diversity and Inclusion) at the University of Calgary. “Each member brings to the table EDID knowledge and experience and can help connect us to people, institutions and communities that are essential to this work, whether it’s anti-racism and equity-seeking groups, scholarly associations, institutional partners or Indigenous communities that will be critical to us turning advice and recommendations into relevant policies, protocols and actions to effect meaningful change.”
Smith previously served as the VP Equity Issues (2009-2012) at the Federation and as Co-Chair of the City of Calgary's public hearings on systemic racism (7-9 July, 2020).
The Advisory Committee will start working immediately, and proposals for a more equitable, diverse and inclusive way forward will be identified and shared by early 2021. Time-sensitive recommendations regarding Congress 2021 will be communicated earlier in order to provide the appropriate guidance to participating associations.
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About the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
The Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences promotes research and teaching for the advancement of an inclusive, democratic and prosperous society. With a membership now comprising over 160 universities, colleges and scholarly associations, the Federation represents a diverse community of 91,000 researchers and graduate students across Canada. The Federation organizes Canada’s largest academic gathering, the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, bringing together more than 8,000 participants each year. For more information about the Federation, visit www.ideas-idees.ca. The Federation office is located on the traditional, unceded Algonquin territory in Ottawa.