Inter-disciplinary research in the spotlight at largest academic congress in Canada

Posted on Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Ruby Heap

 Will robots steal our jobs? Can carbon-pricing save our planet? University of Ottawa professors and researchers will lead interdisciplinary talks on these questions and more at the 2015 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences.

As academic convenor for the 2015 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, a major gathering of 70 scholarly associations, Ruby Heap wanted to showcase the interdisciplinary nature of the research being led by uOttawa professors.

With that in mind, Heap, uOttawa’s associate vice-president, research, says it was a “real coup” to secure seven interdisciplinary symposia events that will be open to the public during the congress, which runs from May 30 to June 5 on the University of Ottawa’s campus.

“Our researchers at uOttawa’s institutes and centres deal with very hot issues, not just for academics but for society at large,” says Heap.

Under the theme of “Capital Ideas,” more than 8,000 academics, policy-makers and researchers are expected to attend the largest gathering of scholars in Canada, to share findings and forge new partnerships. Now in its 84thyear, the congress is an umbrella for the annual meetings of 70 associations representing disciplines as diverse as history, political science, communications, women’s studies, literature and education.

Here’s just a few highlights:

-          On June 1, History Professor Chad Gaffield, University Research Chair in digital scholarship, will take part in a discussion titled When Data Meets the Soul of Culture, which will include Guy Berthiaume, librarian and archivist of Canada;

-          On June 3, Associate Professor Marc Saner, director of the uOttawa Institute for Science, Society and Policy (ISSP), will host a symposium Technological Unemployment and the Future of Work, on the impact of advances in artificial intelligence on the workplace;

-          On June 3, School of Psychology Associate Professor Elisa Romano, of the uOttawa Interdisciplinary Research Laboratory on the Rights of the Child, Faculty of Law, Civil Section, will host the symposium Promoting Children’s Rights and Resilience: An Interdisciplinary Perspective. Marvin Bernstein, chief policy adviser at UNICEF Canada, will give a keynote speech on how the child welfare system can be used to promote children’s rights and review the impact of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child over the past 25 years;

-          On June 4, Professor Stewart Elgie, director of uOttawa’s Institute of the Environment, will host an interdisciplinary panel titled Climate Change Policies for a Low Carbon Economy. The event will hear past political leaders — including former Quebec premier Jean Charest — from three different countries discuss the challenges they faced and lessons learned as they implemented carbon pricing policies;

Many other uOttawa professors and students will be sharing knowledge that challenges assumptions and pushes boundaries. Interested in attending? Check the full program or join the growing number of volunteers who will make the event a success.

Find out more by reading our May Tabaret feature Convergence in the Capital.

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