About Congress

About Congress

About Congress

Unrivaled in scope and impact, the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences is the convergence of over 70 scholarly associations, each holding their annual conference under one umbrella. Now in its 90th year, this flagship event is much more than Canada’s largest gathering of scholars. Congress brings together academics, researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners to share findings, refine ideas, and build partnerships that will help shape the Canada of tomorrow.

Typically spanning seven days in late May and early June, and attracting over 8,000 attendees, Congress is organized by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences in partnership with different Canadian university each year. The Federation, partner university, scholarly associations and partners develop a full week of presentations, workshops, panels, public lectures, cultural events and receptions. It also features Canada’s largest academic trade show. The result? Luminaries, researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and students from across Canada and abroad meet, share ideas and engage in discussions that have direct importance for Canada and the lives of Canadians.

Congress programming is open to attendees, academics and non-academic audiences. From theatre research, literature studies and history to education, sociology and communications, Congress represents a unique showcase of scholarly excellence, creativity, and leadership.

Congress 2021 is organized in partnership with the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Congress 2021 will take place from May 29 to June 4. The theme for this year’s Congress is “Northern Relations".

Land acknowledgement

The University of Alberta respectfully acknowledges that we are located on Treaty 6 territory and Homeland of the Métis, a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples including the Cree, Blackfoot, Métis, Nakota Sioux, Iroquois, Dene, Ojibway/ Saulteaux/Anishinaabe, Inuit, and many others whose histories, languages, and cultures continue to influence our vibrant community.

Theme: Northern Relations 

As one of Canada’s major northward-facing research institutions, the University of Alberta will invite Congress delegates to turn their attention to the North, and invite northern peoples—Indigenous and non-Indigenous—to lead the conversation. As a theme, “Northern Relations” encourages delegates to explore the connections between peoples, communities, cultures, and ways of knowing, while also listening to those voices that speak directly to some of the most pressing matters of relation (to the land, to each other) in the North: climate change, governance, social justice, reconciliation, reciprocity, education, and much more. A relation is not only an association and an affiliation, it is also an act of telling or reporting; relations are at the heart of how peoples communicate, organize knowledge, and understand their place in the world. Edmonton, for thousands of years a traditional gathering place for diverse Indigenous peoples, is an ideal location to consider not only relations across the North, but also relations between the North and the South. Join us to listen, learn, and relate.

About the 2021 logo

The Congress 2021 logo concept idea stems from its theme Northern Relations. The ribbons of light are representative of Northern lights, but also suggest sound waves, a symphony of voices, perspectives, ideas, communities and cultures coming together in harmony. The dots within the light ribbons suggest stars and constellations. Bears, a common University of Alberta symbol, are the other main feature of the logo. The bear cub follows in the footsteps of its mother; they are moving together in the same direction, communicating the concept of leading by example and being aware of the generational impact of our actions.

Past and future Congresses

Information about past and future Congresses can be found on the Federation's website.