January 19, 2021
The 2021 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences invites the HSS community to discuss “Northern Relations”
“If we continue to allow the Arctic to melt, we lose more than the planet that has nurtured us […]; we lose the wisdom required for us to sustain it.” – Sheila Watt-Cloutier
Sheila Watt-Cloutier grew up in the traditional ice-based hunting culture of the Inuit community of Kuujjuaq in Arctic Canada, where she was raised by a single mother and grandmother, and travelled only by dogteam for the first 10 years of her life. A Nobel Peace Prize nominee (2007), Sheila became one of the most influential Indigenous environmental, cultural, and human rights advocates in the world, speaking about how Indigenous life, human rights, and the threat of climate change are inextricably linked.
- Thanks to the support of the Canada Foundation for Innovation, Congress is proud to present, as part of its popular Big Thinking lecture series “Everything is connected: Environment, economy, foreign policy, sustainability, human rights and leadership in the 21st century” by Sheila Watt-Cloutier on June 3, 2021. Open to all Congress registrants.
- The Big Thinking series is sponsored by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. congress2021.ca/big-thinking
Over four years ago, when the University of Alberta became the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences’ partner university for Congress 2021, a theme had to be selected. A focus on the North seemed fitting for a partner institution with broad expertise in Northern research embodied by the six-decade history of UAlberta North and its predecessor the Canadian Circumpolar Institute. Building upon its strong ties with Northern communities and peoples, and a commitment to reciprocal and respectful relations, the University of Alberta chose “Northern Relations” as the theme for Congress 2021, leading to the design of a striking logo.
“The Congress 2021 logo features a mother bear and her cub crossing the land beneath a vibrant sky of northern lights,” explained Michael O’Driscoll, Congress 2021 Academic Convenor, University of Alberta.
- Discover the story behind the design of the Congress 2021 logo at congress2021.ca/about#2021-logo
- Watch the University of Alberta video on the topic! https://youtu.be/w3Euhtw3qh
At the University of Alberta, northern research spans a variety of fields and topics. Below are a few examples of areas of expertise that relate to northern research on campus, many of which will contribute to conversations at Congress 2021:
- Digital storytelling in the Inuvialuit Settlement Region
- Indigenous knowledges and community-based resource management
- Inuit literatures and language revitalization
- Anthropology of northern communities and geopolitics of resource frontiers
- Norse mythology and the Viking Age
- Archaeology of life histories in Northeast Asia
- Culturally-grounded architectural design in the Northwest Territories
- Pedagogy of land-based learning
Crystal Fraser, a Northerner herself, is Gwichyà Gwich'in from Inuvik and Dachan Choo Gę̀hnjik in the Northwest Territories. A member of the Department of History and Classics and the Faculty of Native Studies, Professor Fraser’s ground-breaking work has focused on student experiences at residential schools in the Inuvik Region.
Congress, as Canada’s largest gathering of scholars, aims to create opportunities to highlight Indigenous scholarship and perspectives, as well as offer a platform to carry forward the critical conversations on decolonization and anti-Black racism. Our hope is that Canadian and international scholarly voices will converge together at Congress 2021, share ideas, and contribute to this place that we call Canada, in all of its complexity.
Join us virtually from May 27 to June 4, 2021! Visit www.congress2021.ca.
October 30, 2020
Many things have changed since COVID-19 entered our lives, but one stubborn fact has remained the same: large, in-person gatherings are a public health risk. While we are all hoping for a breakthrough against the pandemic soon, public health officials are telling us it could be another year or more before we can safely go back to in-person meetings.
Congress is unique in many ways, but like thousands of other events around the world, it must respond to the realities of this ongoing global health emergency. Congress must adapt, just as we all have had to do, at home, with our colleagues, and in the classroom.
So today, I wish to inform you that the Federation, in partnership with the University of Alberta, will hold Congress 2021 entirely online. Together, we have a historic opportunity to demonstrate to the world that it is possible to have an equitable, accessible and environmentally sustainable virtual conference.
We arrived at our decision after spending the past few months carefully researching our options while listening to the needs of our members. The Federation is especially grateful for the extraordinary contributions of two Congress advisory groups: the Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonization (EDID) and the Task Force on Congress Contingency Planning. A summary of their work to date is now being finalized.
The work carried out by the Congress Advisory Committee on EDID, under the leadership of its Chair Dr. Malinda S. Smith and Vice-Chair Dr. Noreen Golfman, has given us an invaluable opportunity to humbly listen and learn. What we heard was that EDID must drive all aspects of planning and implementation, and we will work with all associations to develop Congress-wide EDID principles and practices. We must create opportunities to highlight Indigenous scholarship and perspectives, and lead the conversation on decolonization and anti-Black racism. There is still a long way to go, and the EDID Committee’s work continues, but we are committed to delivering the most accessible, equitable, and inclusive Congress possible. We are committed to embarking upon the necessary process of decolonization alongside member associations and our Congress partners.
The Task Force on Congress Contingency Planning, co-chaired by Director of Congress and Events Laura Chajkowski and Congress 2021 Academic Convenor Dr. Michael O’Driscoll, benefited greatly from the input of association executive members from across the Federation, and association input during our Virtual Planning Meeting in September. As a result, the Federation and the University of Alberta will offer you the technical support and training you need so that you and your members can focus on presenting your research and engaging in important conversations. We will provide the best-in-class online conferencing platform, so that you can enjoy a seamless virtual experience and lifelike networking with your peers. And we will maintain high-level impact for researchers, students, scholarly organizations, and publishers, and continue to support interdisciplinary sessions, national and international keynotes and graduate students through funding opportunities.
When the largest gathering of academics in Canada goes online, it opens up a world of possibilities for its participants. Congress 2021 will bridge divides as it breaks down geographic borders, create an avenue for higher attendance to conferences and events, and greater membership retention and acquisition opportunities. Our attendees will enjoy increased visibility for their research, and more time to browse the open events catalogue, all from the comfort of their homes or offices, and without incurring financial or environmental costs for travel and accommodations. So please join us!
Thank you for your continued support. We look forward to welcoming you to make this Congress a ground-breaking, unprecedented event.
Chair, Board of Directors
Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences
Virtual Congress Fast Facts
Commitment to EDID
- We are determined to uphold equity, diversity, inclusion and decolonization (EDID) across all Congress activities. As it stands, Congress does not address the needs of everyone, and we are working tirelessly to offer the most accessible, equitable and inclusive Congress possible.
- A summary of the work of the Advisory Committee on Equity, Diversity, Inclusion, and Decolonization (EDID) is being finalized.
- Congress 2021 has been extended by two days, starting on Thursday, May 27 and ending on Friday, June 4, 2021. This will allow associations to extend their number of programming days and accommodate time zone constraints, screen fatigue issues, and the needs of members working from demanding home environments.
- Congress 2021 will take place on a robust online platform supported by an infrastructure capable of hosting hundreds of simultaneous events of all types.
Fees & registration
- Registration fees will be discounted by 25% across all registrant types.
- Registration will be required to access the virtual event platform for the safety and care of all attendees.
Programming & funding
- Congress 2021 will feature the full suite of conferencing activities, from academic sessions to creative performances, book launches, networking and social event opportunities and meetings with editors and publishers.
- The Interdisciplinary Sessions and International Keynote funds, as well as the Congress Graduate Merit Awards will remain in place.