Annual conference

Click here for information about the 2015 AGM.

2014 Annual Conference

 Friday, March 28, 2014, 8:30 am – 6:00 pm
McGill Faculty Club
3450 McTavish Street, Montreal, Quebec

2014 theme: Transformations

The Federation’s 2014 Annual Conference and Annual General Meeting (AGM) featured panel discussions on transformations in undergraduate teaching and the future of the PhD, workshops on the future of Congress and Big Data, a Big Thinking lecture on “Borders without Boundaries”, and an address from Chad Gaffield, President of SSHRC.


The event was live streamed and is now available for your viewing in several shorter segments:

8:30 am to 8:45 am: Welcome

Suzanne Fortier, Principal and Vice Chancellor, McGill University

Biography: Prof. Suzanne Fortier became the 17th Principal and Vice-Chancellor of McGill University in 2013. She has served as President of the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) from 2006 - 2013, as Vice-Principal (Research) from 1995 - 2000 and Vice-Principal (Academic) from 2000 - 2005 at Queen's University. Prof. Fortier is a crystallographer by training, specializing in the development of mathematical and artificial intelligence methodologies for protein structure determination. She has authored or co-authored over 80 scientific publications and had made numerous invited scientific presentations. She has received the Clara Benson Award for distinguished contributions to chemistry by a woman (1997), the Entrepreneurship Award from Communications and Information Technology Ontario (1997), the Queen's University Distinguished Service Award (2005), an Honorary Doctor of Letters degree from Thompson Rivers University in British Columbia (June 2006) and the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal (2012). She is also a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an officer of France’s National Order of Merit. Prof. Fortier currently is a member of the Strategic Committee of Investissements d’Excellence Bordeaux; the Ontario Task Force on Competitiveness, Productivity and Economic Progress; and serves on the Board of Directors of Montreal International; the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal; and the Conference Board of Canada. 

8:45 am to 9:15 am: Presidential Address and Highlights from 2013

Antonia Maioni, President, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

Biography: Antonia Maioni was appointed president of the Federation for the Humanities and Social Science in 2013. She holds a cross-appointment as Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science (Faculty of Arts) and the Institute for Health and Social Policy (Faculty of Medicine) at McGill University. Her teaching portfolio spans across political science, Canadian Studies, and the Foundations of Medicine Program. She is also a member of the International Masters for Health Leadership program’s teaching team in the Desautels Faculty of Management, member of the Board of the Canadian Foundation for Health Innovation and sits on the Research Council of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research (CIFAR). From 2001 to 2011, Professor Maioni held the position of Director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada and William Dawson Scholar at McGill University, bringing leadership in public policy issues and interdisciplinary research to local, national and international audiences.

  • Click here to read the Presidential Address (pdf)

9:15 am to 10:30 am: Panel 1: Transformations in Undergraduate Education: Beyond MOOCs

Technology allows undergraduate teaching to reach more students in more formats than ever before, yet many undergraduate classes continue to take place in lecture theatres in much the same way as they have for decades.  This session will explore current and future transformations in undergraduate education, examining lessons learned from MOOCs (massive open online courses) and distance education, and exploring beyond to what the future could look like.

Panel Members:

  • Fernand Gervais (Moderator), Director, Teaching and Learning, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, and Associate Dean at the Faculty of Graduate Studies, Laval University
  • Thérèse Laferrière, Professor of Education, Laval University and Director of CRIRES (Centre de recherche et d’intervention sur la réussite scolaire)
  • Vivek Venkatesh, Associate Professor in Educational Technology and Associate Dean, Academic Programs and Development, Faculty of Education, Concordia University
  • Dilip Soman, Corus Chair in Communication Strategy, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

11:00 am to 12:15 pm: Concurrent Workshops

Concurrent Workshop 1: The Future of Congress

Congress is a unique Canadian creation in disseminating ideas and new research from the humanities and social sciences. Known as the Learneds for decades, Congress has become one of the largest multi-disciplinary academic gatherings in the world. Yet, Congress has struggled to attract international delegates (5-8% are from outside Canada) and to become more than a conference of conferences. Congress delegate surveys strongly indicate both a desire for greater inter-disciplinarity and internationalism at Congress. Workshop participants will brainstorm on:

  • Possible new long term programming collaboration between scholarly societies that could be open to all delegates
  • Possible new ways to share ideas and trigger national conversations during and after Congress
  • Possible enhanced or new international relationships that could encourage international attendance
  • Possible new names to better capture the essence of Congress
  • Possible new fee structure (e.g. passport) that would give the possibility for a delegate to access sessions from any participating society

Concurrent Workshop 2: Big Data

"Digital Infrastructures for SSH Researchers"

Led by the Federation's Research Dissemination Advisory Committee, this session will offer an overview of the emergence of “big data” and its impact on Social Sciences and Humanities researchers. Several consultations on digital infrastructures are underway in which our community are represented but it is crucial to have a better awareness and a stronger response from our community.

This bilingual workshop will feature two speakers who will present two perspectives on the needs for digital infrastructures tailored to our community. Short position papers will be available ahead of time, along with some relevant information on "big data" and digital infrastructures.

Concurrent Workshop 3: SSHRC’s Program Architecture Renewal: Looking Back and Looking Forward

Brent Herbert-Copley, SSHRC’s Vice-President, Research & Research Capacity, will discuss the funding agency’s program architecture renewal in terms of its original principles and goals, touching on results to date and elements that SSHRC is monitoring.  A significant portion of the session will be reserved for SSHRC to hear from the research community; this will be an opportunity for researchers to share with the agency their experiences with the program architecture renewal and its impact, as well as voice any concerns and suggestions for possible future improvements to SSHRC’s program delivery.

Presentation by Brent Herbert-Copley, Vice-President, Research Programs, SSHRC (PDF)

12:15 pm to 1:30 pm: Annual General Meeting

  • Click here to view the 2013 Annual Report (pdf)
  • Click here to watch the 2013 Annual Report video
  • Click here to watch an address from Stephen Toope, Presiden-Elect, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

1:45 pm to 2:15 pm: Plenary Address: Challenges to the Humanities and Social Sciences Community

Chad Gaffield, President of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)

Biography: Chad Gaffield, one of Canada’s foremost historians, was appointed president of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in September 2006. His appointment followed a 20-year career at the University of Ottawa, during which he held a University Research Chair and various other positions, including founding director of the Institute of Canadian Studies. Dr. Gaffield is a former president of the Canadian Historical Association and the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences. He has won many awards for his teaching, research and innovations related to computer-based, interdisciplinary and multi-institutional collaboration.

2:15 pm to 3:30 pm: Panel 2: Transformations in Graduate Education: The Future of the PhD

First-class humanities and social science research and teaching are needed in an increasingly globalized and complex world; and graduate training at the highest levels is required. But with non-completion rates as high as 50% and only about 20%-30% of graduates finding employment within the academy, humanities PhD programs in particular face an urgent problem. This session sets out to recast that problem as an opportunity. How might we transform the PhD into a program that leads toward a multiplicity of academic and non-academic career paths, that strengthens what the humanities and social sciences can bring to the world, and that prepares talented young people to contribute to the betterment of Canada and the world?

Panel Members:

  • Leigh Yetter (Moderator), Executive Director, Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas, McGill University
  • Kathryn Muller, Consultant in Philanthropy
  • Sidonie Smith, Mary Fair Croushore Professor of the Humanities and Director, Institute for the Humanities, University of Michigan
  • Paul Yachnin, Tomlinson Professor of Shakespeare Studies and Director, Institute for the Public Life of Arts and Ideas, McGill University

3:45 pm to 4:30 pm: Big Thinking Lecture

“Borders Without Boundaries”

Kevin Kee, Associate Vice-President Research (Social Sciences and Humanities) and Canada Research Chair in Digital Humanities, Brock University

In the last generation the Internet and digital media have transformed many aspects of our lives.  In the field of digital humanities, researchers have explored how these technologies can enrich and expand our scholarly practices.  Kevin Kee draws on this research, and builds on the title of the 2014 Congress of the Social Sciences and Humanities, "Borders Without Boundaries / Frontières sans limites," to survey the ways in which we can change knowledge production, and redraw the boundaries that define scholarship.  Researchers once faced a scarcity of information and limited access to sources, but today we are overwhelmed by an ever-increasing, easily-accessible body of knowledge that requires new methods and tools to organize and manage.  Previously, the conclusions of our research were communicated on paper, but emerging media forms provide us with opportunities to more effectively convey our research processes, and our analyses.  Scholarship was traditionally peer reviewed and then published through established channels, but researchers are increasingly posting drafts of their work to the Internet, enabling groups, rather than individuals, to award attention.  Finally, completed research was disseminated to the public, but the emergence of online communities of interest, rich in knowledge and expertise, allows us to include citizens in the creation of knowledge.  Dr. Kee suggests that drawing on the methods and tools of the digital age will change how we research, write, publish, and share knowledge, and help us strengthen and expand the social sciences and humanities.

Biography: Kevin Kee is the Associate Vice-President Research (Social Sciences and Humanities) and Canada Research Chair in Digital Humanities at Brock University. Previously, he was a Director and Project Director at the National Film Board of Canada, and an Assistant Professor in the Departments of History, and Integrated Studies in Education (D.I.S.E.), as well as the Director of Undergraduate Programs (D.I.S.E) at McGill University. Since arriving at Brock in 2005, Dr. Kee has worked to place the university at the forefront of digital humanities research and development, and Niagara at the leading edge of interactive media production. He has led or helped lead the conception and establishment at Brock of undergraduate programs (the Interactive Arts and Sciences minor and major programs), business incubators and generators (the Niagara Interactive Media Generator (now the Niagara Interactive Media Generator-Generator at One)), conferences (the Interacting with Immersive Worlds Conferences), and research projects and symposia series (such as Pastplay). He is interested in the use of computing to analyze and express culture, and history in particular, in innovative ways. His research program lies at the intersection of history, computing, education, and game studies.

4:30 pm to 4:40 pm: Thanks and closing remarks

Graham Carr, Past President, Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences

4:45 pm to 6:00pm: Reception

Announcement of the finalists for the 2014 Canada Prizes