Communiqués de presse

Diversity, Appropriation and Online Hate: Humanities and Social Science Researchers discuss Cultural Issues


VANCOUVER, June 3, 2019  — The alt-right, cultural appropriation, and diversity in fashion are among the topics being discussed this week as the Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences gets underway at the University of British Columbia. Canada’s largest academic gathering, Congress brings 8,000 of the country’s brightest researchers, thinkers, and policy-makers to Vancouver from June 1-7.

Over 5,000 pieces of research are being presented on a wide range of topics. Some of the cultural and artistic issues being explored include:

  • Frogs, Red Pills, Torches, and Swastikas: An Examination of Alt-Right Masculinities
    This research focuses on the gendered language that “alt-right” figures use to construct their own ideal masculine persona, and how masculinity in Canada is intertwined with whiteness.  By shining a light on this, the project aims to counter the growth of such hateful groups.
    June 6 — 10:30 am -12:00 pm
  • Stonewall, Dad, and Me: An Eccentric Circle of Silence
    On his 81st birthday, the author’s father disclosed that he was at the Stonewall Inn on the night of the historic 1969 gay rights riots, working “on the job” as a cop. While his queer peers think he should interview him about Stonewall, he hasn’t…yet. In this session he will unpack and examine why.
    June 4 — 3:15 - 3:45 pm
  • The New Faces of Fashion - Representing and Responding to Disability in the Fashion Industry
    Representation of diversity in fashion is on the rise. This paper examines whether images of disability serve to challenge or reinforce stereotypes. The authors argue that consumers’ reactions to the use of disabled models provide an opportunity for increased representation and industry change.
    June 5 — 3:30 - 5:00 pm
  • Something Witchy This Way Comes: Examining Contemporary Pagan Backlash to the Sephora Witch Kit
    In 2018, Sephora released a ‘Starter Witch Kit’ which was quickly pulled due to accusations of cultural appropriation by Contemporary Pagans, who were in turn accused of appropriating from others. This research gives us insight into how cultural appropriation plays out in a multicultural modern society.
    June 4 — 10:45 am - 12:15 pm
  • Games that Stink: Towards a Theory of Olfaction in Digital Games

Videogames are typically thought of as an audio-visual medium. But this leaves other sensory domains under-served. This paper examines the use of smell in film, television, and virtual reality, and imagines what the use of smell in video games might look like.
June 5 — 1:30 - 3:00 pm

Congress is an annual gathering of over 70 scholarly associations, each holding their annual conference under one umbrella. This year’s theme is “Circles of Conversation”, reflecting  the need for dialogue, debate, and dissent within and across disciplines.

Congress is organized by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, which 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. Congress 2019 is hosted by The University of British Columbia.

The Congress 2019 media kit can be downloaded here. More information about Congress is available on their website, Twitter and Facebook.


For interview requests
Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Nicola Katz
Manager of Communications
Cell: 613-282-3489

University of British Columbia

Erik Rolfsen

Media Relations Specialist

Cell: 604-209-3048