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 of ideas it fosters on a grand scale what universities do on their campuses every day. It is this quest for knowledge and not just answers but also the right questions to ask that has propelled the university, the Federation and its flagship event, and the many associations within to these milestones.
As the world we live in becomes smaller with each passing day, it is the right questions and their answers that will maintain Canada at the forefront of research, which is no easy task. This year and its theme "@ the edge" have brought to us a small sample of this need to maintain a scholarly edge with the SSA. Its first ever conference was held on June 1-2, 2013 with roughly thirteen panels and some forty-five presenters from across the breadth of the country. Graduate students, post-docs faculty members, artists, and independent scholars all got together to make this a very successful two-day event for the fledgling organization. Moreover, the SSA sponsored two sessions in other association meetings which included the Robyn Wiegman lecture. By offering a venue for the widest possible range of papers the SSA furthers the Federation's goal of promoting the role of research and learning in the humanities and social sciences.
Moments, they say, make history. In a year's time these milestones will become history, and maybe rightly so, if only to achieve more than has already been achieved. Until then let's welcome the new association and its efforts to keep Canada at the forefront of research innovation.