juin 2013

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SSH News: Conferences, Canadian higher ed, and “Heart of the Matter” reactions

 

Image courtesy of UBC Library.

Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

This year’s Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences may be over, but the 2013 World Social Science Forum (WSSF) is just around the corner. Taking place in Montreal from October 13-15, the WSSF is organized by the International Social Science Council (ISSC) and expects to draw over 1,000 delegates from 80 countries to explore the theme...

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Pushing boundaries at Congress 2014

Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

A popular description of the creative mind is the ability to “think outside the box”, to consider what options are available beyond the cardboard walls of tradition and the Styrofoam peanuts of habit. Sometimes, what comes in one box isn’t sufficient, and solutions may be found in the contents of another; innovation requires the understanding that “the box” is not “the only box” – there are many different boxes, each package a unique configuration of ideas – and they aren’t necessarily sealed. At Congress 2013, Daniel Weinstock’s Big Thinking lecture explored how divisive social issues may be addressed by integrating various ideologies to create a workable compromise (kind of like this, but with ideas instead of IKEAs). Socially valuable...

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Congress 2013 feedback

It’s been just over two weeks since Congress 2013 wrapped up, and we’re still receiving some really valuable feedback; our annual post-Congress survey has brought in hundreds of responses already, and we’ve had a great collection of blog posts shared with us by attendees reflecting on their experience.

Here at the Federation, we strive to ensure that the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences is well-organized, productive, and enjoyable for all. We send out a survey at the end of every Congress and work to incorporate the feedback we receive into the following year’s planning. By completing our survey, you can help us to develop in both logistics and programming, and provide us with your thoughts on any areas with room for improvement. Your comments are truly valuable to us, so we encourage you to let us know how you feel, even just by sending us an email or a tweet. Our...

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SSH News: “The Heart of the Matter”, Canadian Studies, & Impressions of Congress 2013

Christine McKenna, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The American Academy of Arts & Sciences released a report this week entitled “The Heart of the Matter”, which examines the value of social sciences and humanities (SSH) in the pursuit of a strengthened economy and cohesive society. The report makes recommendations for improving American SSH education, and suggests that in combination with STEM disciplines (the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), a liberal arts education could promote innovation and improve understanding of the contexts in which science-based research is applied. An article in the ...

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One last look back at Congress 2013: My top 7 highlights

Maryse Bernard www.twitter.com/MaryseVictoria

I arrived at Congress 2013 feeling intimidated. With a title like “Canada’s largest academic gathering,” it was difficult not to be. Its history of bringing together some of our country’s most innovative thinkers across a wide range of disciplines (Margaret Atwood last year—seriously?), only added to the pressure. Freshly graduated with a BA in writing, I had been hired to cover some of the events for the Federation’s blog. As the impressive conference approached, I prayed to the journalism gods that I was up for the challenge. 

All...

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Reconciliation through reason

Elizabeth White

Five days into Congress’s Big Thinking series we are met by the P-word - philosophy. It would be expected for its connotations – a dwelling in abstraction and removal from apparent worldly application – that the lecture would invite the attention of only a select few academics and powerful minds. But the academic and political reputation and innovative, socially impactful work of Daniel Weinstock, the MacDonald Professor of Law at McGill University, drew a full house of keen attendees to his reflexive and broadly relevant presentation, “So, are you still a philosopher?”

Through discussion of his theoretical and analytical approach, Weinstock introduced the audience to philosophy in action.  In ideology and application, he actively and critically engages public policy concerning ethics and human rights. His approach invigorates and solidifies studies of socio-political philosophy, rendering them dynamic, accessible,...

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Impact of Harper’s reshaping of Canadian history and identity discussed in micro-lecture session

Vanessa Hawk

Political scientists and historians alike filled seats and pulled chairs from neighbouring rooms across to see the “History under Harper: Federal identity initiatives in Conservative Canada” panel discussion; such a popular event that not even the early hour could dissuade the audience from spilling into the hallway.

Twelve academics were allotted three minutes each in the micro-lecture session to discuss the how historical initiatives undertaken by the Harper government have and will impact Canadian identity and institutions.

Matt James (UVic) manned the timer during the discussion, which was hosted in partnership by the Canadian Historical Association and the Canadian Political Science Association on Wednesday, June 5.

Panelists highlighted numerous examples of federal initiatives under Harper’s government that have reshaped Canadians’ understanding of our history and therefore our identity. While the consensus seemed to...

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What does a 21st century learning experience look like?

Andrina Fawcett http://twitter.com/thecardigangirl

Personalized learning with dashboard

Brad King of Simon Fraser University discussed how he changed typical collaboration practices used to build technology in his presentation “Designing a 21st Century Learning Experience”. King, developer of the customized digital dashboard used by the West Vancouver school district, allows students to create their own digital space which includes a school centered social network, assignment notifications, built in calendar with assignment alerts, and customizable skins. “This allows students the opportunity to have a digital record of their school career”, King stated, but perhaps more...

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Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond raises her voice so that others can be heard

Maryse Bernard www.twitter.com/MaryseVictoria

The introduction to Monday afternoon’s Big Thinking lecture recalled Congress 2013’s theme of “@ the edge.” Not only does this reflect the University of Victoria’s location on the West Coast, but also a commitment to addressing social challenges and inequality, promoting diversity and inclusivity, and ensuring marginalized voices are recognized.

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond, President of the Canadian Council of Child and Youth Advocates, dedicates her life to...

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Some years are just special!

Randip Bakshi http://www.twitter.com/randipbakshi

Some years are just special. 2013, it seems, would be one such year as it marks not one, not two, but three far-reaching milestones. First, the University of Victoria turns fifty this year, establishing itself as a leading, comprehensive research university not just in Canada but across the continent and maybe even beyond. Second, Congress, an annual meeting of Canada's scholars, researchers, and thinkers, turns eighty-two. Finally, it will be the year when its seventieth member, the Sexaulity Studies Association (SSA), came into existence. For many of us the impact of these short lived moments would be but a drop in a rather large academic ocean. With a host of activities to choose from and countless panels across disciplines, some even multidisciplinary, Congress reinforces the true spirit of modern day academia. As an environment for the exchange...

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Panel explores successes and further options for BC’s carbon tax

Vanessa Hawk

The Environmental Studies Association of Canada hosted a panel exploring “The Benefits of Carbon Taxation”, which was sponsored by the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) and held on Tuesday, June 4 in the Bob Wright Centre.

The panel consisted of James Mack, head of the BC Climate Action Secretariat within the Ministry of Environment, Stewart Elgie, professor of law and economics at the University of Ottawa and Katya Rhodes, Vanier scholar and PhD candidate in sustainable energy management at SFU.

The panel explored the history of BC’s carbon tax and evaluated its environmental and economic impact, concluding that the policy is successful in reducing carbon emissions...

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Research in practice: Students share their research at the Internship Showcase

Andrina Fawcett http://twitter.com/thecardigangirl

Tuesday afternoon students showcased some of the amazing scholarship they have been producing in relationship with the community at the Congress 2013 Expo Space.

Gaming to gain problem solving skills

Teacher and Educational Psychology PhD student Andrew Sung looked at executive function training in children with autism and spectrum disorder.

Challenges with executive functioning result in problem solving, attention, and working memory difficulties in autistic children. However, as Andrew explained, “if you can improve an autistic child's attention and problem solving skills then that can lead to better school readiness and perhaps better social...

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Much maligned Monsters: Islam, Immigration, and Islamization

Randip Bakshi http://www.twitter.com/randipbakshi

Doug Saunders taking questions after his Big Thinking lecture at Congress 2013

I must confess this was a session I was very skeptical about. I wondered, as Saunders wondered when writing his book, how someone who subscribes to many of these myths could be objective, let alone compassionate, in his analysis. Objectivity aside, I couldn't help but ask myself if anyone was willing to accept Saunders' criticism of the "Muslim Tide" hypothesis. We live in an age where words like extremism, fundamentalism, and Islamophobia are regular adjectives in our day-to-day vocabulary; how, then, does this book purport to counter the very myths that have largely...

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Trials and Trust: Joy Kogawa Offers Lessons on the Art of Writing and of Life

Maryse Bernard www.twitter.com/MaryseVictoria

An early start wouldn't keep the Phillip T. Young Recital Hall from filling up for Monday morning’s Big Thinking event. By 7:30 AM, the lobby buzzed with delegates, eager for novelist and poet Joy Kogawa’s “On the Edge of Always” lecture. Upon taking the stage, the writer expressed how she was not only extremely thankful for the audience’s presence, but also overwhelmed.

“These are all people who read, who think, who ponder,” said Kogawa. “It’s actually really unthinkable that I’m here…because I’m not educated. Because I have not even one year of university to my name.”

Humility and gratitude seemed to...

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A specter of Canada’s literary past: Tweeting the @Wilfred_Watson Archive

Andrina Fawcett http://twitter.com/thecardigangirl

Nicholas van Orden, Paul Hjartarson and Harvey Quamen’s aptly named “I Tweet Dead People” was presented in partnership with EMiC as part of a larger panel this morning for the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities.

The project, which began primarily as a marketing tool, seeks to highlight scholarship that is being produced in relation to the Wilfred Watson Archive. As Nick van Orden put it, “we wanted to make previously unpublished material accessible to the public”. Wilfred Watson, Canadian author and playwright, was born in early 20th century England, and later relocated to Canada. Obtaining his B.A in English as a mature student, he continued his scholarship and...

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Medieval Medley: Painting and Sculpture at the CSM Meeting

Randip Bakshi http://www.twitter.com/randipbakshi

The panelists setting up as the session chair looks on. (Featured: John Osborne, Erica Dodd, and Lesley Jessop)

Monday afternoon's session on Painting and Sculpture noted John Osborne, President of the Canadian Society of Medievalists, was a "truly UVic panel" as all of the presenters were affilaited with the University of Victoria. Now this in itself is a compelling point when it comes to medieval art historical scholarship in Canada but we'll get to that momentarily. The panel's three presenters are trained art historians and include Lesley Jessop, Sessional Instructor at the Department of History in Art, Joseph Polzer, Associate Fellow at the Centre for...

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Short and sweet – finalist Storytellers present SSHRC funded research projects in 3 minutes or less

Andrina Fawcett http://twitter.com/thecardigangirl

From left to right: Kirk Luther, Manon Jolicœur, Cheryl Heykoop, Steve Wilcox, Janine Stockford, SSHRC President Chad Gaffield

The Congress 2013 Expo space was buzzing early Monday afternoon as the 25 Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Research for a Better Life: The Storytellers finalists prepared for their presentations. In a pre-performance pep talk, SSHRC president Chad Gaffield confided in the finalists, “it was extremely stiff competition to get here, so you should all be extremely proud of yourselves.”

This is the first year that The Storytellers project has...

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Panel calls for national-level Open Access infrastructure

Vanessa Hawk

Left to Right: Janet Halliwell, Gisèle Yasmeen, Jean-Francois Fortin, Brian Owen

 

Open access is increasingly becoming a hot issue for academics, publishers and institutions around the world with the advent of free, online access to research that is destabilizing the way in which research and publications are disseminated and funded.

It is no longer a matter of if, but when open access (OA) policy will be implemented in Canada, as was the consensus at the Open Access Symposium on Monday, June 3.

The first panel, “Funding Sustainable Open Access,” included Gisèle Yasmeen, SSHRC VP Research, Jean-Francois Fortin, SSHRC Director Research Portfolio, Brian Owen, Chair of the CARL/CRKN Open Access Task Force and Janet Halliwell, who is...

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Wishful Thinking Indeed

Randip Bakshi http://www.twitter.com/randipbakshi

Robyn Wiegman's aptly titled lecture "Wishful Thinking: On a Queer Feminist Criticism and the Reparative Turn" was in layman's terms sold out! The room was buzzing with activity an hour before the event was scheduled and the people just kept coming. In many ways the turnout was a sharp reminder that theoretical discourse has indeed become an academic tool. For many of us Wiegman does not need an introduction but that doesn't mean I won't give her one! Robyn Wiegman is currently Professor of Literature and Women's Studies at Duke University having previously taught at various institutions including Syracuse University and the University of California (Irvine). One of...

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La littérature des mondes magiques et des mémoires : Dany Laferrière voit grand et en profondeur

Maryse Bernard www.twitter.com/MaryseVictoria

Antonia Maioni et Dany Laferrière

À première vue, les écrivains Jorge Luis Borges et Dany Laferrière se ressemblent peu. Le premier, un érudit argentin décédé en 1986, composait des paysages fantastiques dans sa prose et sa poésie. Le deuxième, un romancier originaire d’Haïti, écrit largement en style autobiographique. Ses œuvres illustrent des endroits concrets de son passé, suivant sa jeunesse à Port-au-Prince, jusqu’à sa vie adulte une fois arrivé au Québec en 1976.

D’après l’apparence opposée de leurs styles, il peut être surprenant d’apprendre que Borges...

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Getting it right from the start - Big Thinker Margaret McCain speaks at Congress 2013

Andrina Fawcett http://twitter.com/thecardigangirl

Honorable Margaret McCain, chair of the Margaret & Wallace McCain Family Foundation, spoke this morning at Congress 2013 on the importance of Early Childhood Education (ECE) and childhood development. Her follow up Early Years Study 3, which was produced in partnership with J. Fraser Mustard and Kerry McCuaig, continues the notable findings from the first and second installments of the study. The previous two Early Years studies shaped the idea that early learning experiences form the architecture of the brain by building a blueprint for future health, academic success, and general well being. McCain stressed that building...

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Retro Rerun: The Evolution of Canadian Nursing Uniforms

Randip Bakshi http://www.twitter.com/randipbakshi

Nursing Costume Parade

There is an often repeated (bad) joke about a male nurse being asked whether he wears skirts just like his female counterparts. If only the jokers knew that the skirt is a recent inclusion in the the history of nursing fashion! To familiarize the public about nursing outfits the Canadian Association for the History of Nursing and the Canadian Association for the History of Medicine joined hands to hold a live fashion show at McPherson Library to showcase Canadian nursing outfits since the late nineteenth-century. Shiela Rankin-Zerr and Glennis Zilm, both professors at UBC's School of Nursing, organized the show to illustrate the diversity of nursing uniforms and their impact on women's fashion. As Glennis Zilm correctly stated: "Nurses have been at the forefront of revolutionizing women's clothing." The Maltwood...

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Louise Arbour on International Conflict Earns Standing Ovation at First Big Thinking Lecture

Vanessa Hawk

Image: Mélanie Béchard

 

In the first lecture of the Big Thinking speaker series, Farquhar Auditorium filled to hear Louise Arbour speak about global conflicts and international security. Arbour was met with a standing ovation at the end of her speech and several audience members jumped to the provided microphones asking further questions about violent conflicts and the role of international actors in an engaging Q&A period.

Arbour is the President and CEO of International Crisis Group and has earned a globally renowned legal career as the former United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights from 2004 to 2008 and Chief Prosecutor before the International Criminal Tribunals for the former Yugoslavia and Rwanda.

The International...

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Sophie Marcotte conçoit une communauté virtuelle autour de l'oeuvre de Gabrielle Roy


Au cours des dernières années, des changements majeurs ont bouleversé la Bibliothèque et Archives Canada. Les manuscrits d’écrivains ne sont notamment plus conservés dans le même édifice où ils doivent être consultés par les chercheurs, ce qui entraîne des conséquences importantes sur le travail de ceux-ci. L’attente pour les documents dure environ une semaine.


Dans un monde d’information instantanée, ceci semble être un système désuet. Professeure de littérature au Département d’...

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"Why do I keep coming to Congress?"

This week will be Patricia Roy’s 46th year attending the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. Her speech at our media kick-off event on Friday – which included remarks from UVic president David Turpin, Federation president Antonia Maioni, Academic Convenor Andrew Rippin, and Congress Chair Catherine Mateer – offers a wonderful glimpse into the opportunities and excitement surrounding Congress that have continued to grow over the years:

I hasten to point out that I was a fairly young student when I attended my first Congress, or as it was then known, the Learneds. I have attended almost every year since. In 1965, the meetings were much smaller. To cite an example, the Canadian Historical Association, one of the larger groups at the Congress, then only had two or three...

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Open Access Symposium: Where we are, where we're going, how we'll get there

Karen Diepeveen
Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

One of the best parts of Congress is the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary conversations - not just about research, but about the future of the social science and humanities disciplines. This year, we're continuing conversations around Open Access at a half-day symposium, organized by Michael Eberle Sinatra of the Université de Montréal. Two panels will serve as starting points for discussions around where we are, where we're going, and how we're going to get there - delving deep into the world of Canadian and global approaches to open access.

It all kicks off Monday, June 3, at 9:00am in Room 150 of the McKinnon Building. The full program has just been released:

9.00am: Welcome by Ray Siemens and Michael E. Sinatra
9.05-9.30: Andrea Whiteley (Calgary) on international...

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