Big Thinking

Sociologist Irene Bloemraad Speaks about Immigration in Canada


By Nour Aoude

Recent changes to immigration law in Canada drew criticism from legal and human rights groups, reminding us that immigration policy is an ongoing and heated conversation in which we all have a stake. In order to engage in this conversation as effectively as possible, it is important to benefit from the opinion of expert researchers on Canadian immigration.

What are the unique strengths of Canada’s immigration policy? How do we stack up against the US and other immigrant-attracting countries? Is our system beginning...

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Moving beyond the mic: Big Thinking speakers keep thinking big

Since the kick-off to the 2013-2014 season, three of the Federation’s Big Thinking lectures have featured a top-flight researcher who continues to make airwaves with ideas and opinions on issues affecting current policy discussions. Let’s see what they have been up to since speaking to us in Ottawa...

In October, Richard Hawkins, Professor and Canada Research Chair in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy at the University of Calgary, “proposed how policy makers can - and must - start thinking very differently about innovation. He argued that Canadian policies aimed at stimulating innovation are directly at odds with what we've...

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Innovation for the nation


Christine McKenna Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

The 2013-2014 season of Big Thinking kicked off on October 3rd with Dr. Richard Hawkins, Professor at the University of Calgary and Fellow of the Institute for Science Society and Policy (ISSP) at the University of Ottawa. While prorogation meant this month’s lecture couldn’t be held at the usual venue on Parliament Hill, the alternative location at HUB Ottawa – a collaborative working space designed to promote social innovation – provided an environment that nicely matched the theme of Hawkins’ address: “Whither innovation? Moving beyond the buzzword.”

Does Canada ...

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Inclusive Innovation: what is the role of rural and remote regions in the knowledge economy?

Governments the world over have launched ambitious national innovation strategies, designed to use scientific and technological developments to produce economic growth and address social challenges. Canada has been one of the most aggressive on this front, supporting a wide range of measures designed to promote commercialization and job creation. Globally, these policies have strengthened urban economies, but have had much smaller impacts on rural and remote regions.  In Canada, northern, rural and Aboriginal communities have yet to feel the full benefit of scientific and technological initiatives. Our innovation outputs as a whole continue to lag internationally. 

How do we address this innovation deficit, while also encouraging creative regional development? Join Ken Coates, Canada Research Chair in Regional Innovation, as he explores how...

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Big Thinking: Alex Sévigny on CBC

Photo courtesy Marcio Cabral de Moura

On March 8, Alex Sévigny, Program Director in the McMaster-Syracuse Master of Communications Management program at McMaster University, came to Ottawa as part of CFHSS' Big Thinking lecture series on Parliament Hill. His lecture, Who's driving the story? Question Period, social media and changing political communications, was attended by over 100 MPs, Senators, business and not-for-profit folk--look for the video of his talk up on our site shortly. Before heading up to the Hill to give the breakfast lecture, Alex...

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Innovation? What innovation? Re-thinking progress and how we measure it

CHFSS kicked off the Winter 2012 Big Thinking series on January 31 with Professor Jeremy de Beer from the University of Ottawa. Held in partnership with the Association of Universities and Colleges of Canada (AUCC), the event drew over 150 MPs, Senators and public servants, as well as many university presidents who were in town as part of AUCC’s Day on the Hill.

Prof. de Beer’s talk, Innovation? What innovation? Re-thinking progress and how we measure it, explored new options for considering intellectual property and how policies can best encourage new, creative research. He argued for a more holistic approach to innovation, one that values the contributions of the social sciences and humanities, while also challenging the ways we traditionally measure...

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Generation Next: How are the children of immigrants faring in Canada

Alison Hebbs, Director, Policy and Communications
Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

You’d think that many people take on the life-altering process of moving to a new country with a better life for their children in mind. Canada has worked hard to open its doors for families in search of a brighter future.

And how are these efforts translating? Well, in Canada, the pattern is one of upward mobility for second generation immigrants...overall. For example, the children of Chinese and South Asian immigrants outperform their parents when it comes to educational attainment and labour market outcomes. Actually, they outperform the general Canadian population too. However, as Dr. Philip Kelly, associate professor of geography at York University, explained...

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Big Thinking Podcast: Double Diepeveen and shiny things edition

Photo courtesy joshuaseye on Flickr.

Will the real modernity please stand up? This episode of the Big Thinking podcast delves into the world of modernity, skepticism, fraud and satire. Leonard Diepeveen of Dalhousie University talks about his research on the emergence of striking new art, bored soldiers writing fake avant garde verse, and parodies of Gertrude Stein – and what that reveals about modernity and society, even today. Plus, we get a sneak preview of Len’s explorations – with Timothy van Laar of the University of Illinois – of all things shiny.


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Big Thinking: Dwayne Donald on Aboriginal-Canadian relations and educational priorities

On What Terms Can We Speak? Aboriginal-Canadian Relations as an Education Priority

Last June, Chief Shawn Atleo made a passionate plea to all governments, education institutions and private organizations to support the Assembly of First Nations vision of creating a strong educational foundation for Aboriginal students. Across Canada, emerging educational initiatives are aimed at engaging and retaining Aboriginal youth in the school and university systems. Yet much of the research informing these initiatives focuses on identifying culturally-relevant educational approaches that can foster higher rates of Aboriginal student success. While very important, this focus implies that these initiatives are only a concern for Aboriginal students, their families, and their teachers.

In this talk,...

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Big Thinking Podcast launches!

We're very pleased to announce the launch of our Big Thinking podcast series, featuring interviews with some of Canada's big thinkers in the humanities and social sciences. This podcast brings these researchers right to your computer, your iPod or your stereo.

In Episode One of the Big Thinking podcast, we talk to Evan Fraser from the University of Guelph about Food Riots, what his food utopia would look like and how a moisture regime motivate changes in the way we think about our food. Simply click below and start listening!


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