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Big Thinking speaker calls for compromise in the debate over trade and food security

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

In the final installment of the Big Thinking lecture series at this year’s Congress, Professor Jennifer Clapp (University of Waterloo) called for an end to polarization and the beginning of compromise and collaboration in the debate over trade and food security. Clapp began her lecture by framing the issue of food security: that more than 800 million people worldwide are chronically undernourished, and that many of those people are poor agriculturalists living in countries dependent on food imports.

Those seeking solutions to this and related issues of food security generally fall into two diametrically opposed ideological camps: those who see trade as the solution, and those who see it as the problem.

The pro-trade point of view argues that comparative advantage should increase production and efficiency, improve food distribution, and that market distortions (like tariffs and...

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Workshop offers alternate model for student engagement in and out of the classroom

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

On June 2 at Congress 2016, Lisa Stowe (University of Calgary) lead a special session of Career Corner hosted by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and the University of Calgary entitled Flip your classroom to increase student engagement. Stowe laid out an alternative to traditional lecturing by creating a community of learners in the classroom and by breaking down the traditional boundaries between instructors and students.

This community of learners is formed by literally flipping the environments in which new content is disseminated to students and in which students demonstrate knowledge of and make use of said content. In the flip method, new material is assigned as “homework” (in the form of online resources such as podcasts, YouTube clips and PowerPoint presentations), while creative engagement with that material is performed in the classroom.

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Celestina the Procuress a constant, transforming figure in Picasso’s art and life

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

Professor Carol Salus (Kent State University) wrote a fascinating presentation for Congress entitled Picasso, prostitution, and his favourite procuress, but was unable to attend this year’s Congress. Fortunately, Professor Enrique Fernandez (University of Manitoba) stepped in on June 1to present Professor Salus’s paper on her behalf.

Professor Salus described how the figure of Celestina, the aged madam/bawd from the fifteenth century Spanish novel La Celestina by Fernando de Rojas, remained a constant figure in his art throughout his career. Picasso was not, of course, the first artist to feature Celestina in his paintings, drawings, and etchings: Celestina and other “procuresses” like her appear in pan-European visual art from the Early Modern period onward (as can be attested by the multimedia Celestina gallery that Professor Fernandez curated for Congress 2016 and within...

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The Harper Decade: reflecting on ten years of Conservative government

Zahura Ahmed, Congress student blogger

From 2006 to 2015, Canadian federal politics were marked by the distinctive leadership style and priorities of Stephen Harper and the Conservative Party. From domestic and foreign policy, to institutions and structures, little in Canadian politics was left untouched. This morning, three prominent Conservative Canadians, Preston Manning, Ian Brodie, and Tom Flanagan, provided their reflections on the ‘Harper Decade’ at Congress 2016.

The three panelists spoke about Harper’s legacy, including their views on what were his major accomplishments as well as missteps. They highlighted his role in consolidating a strong new Conservative Party that was able to hold power and the support of many Canadians for so long. Panelists commented that under Stephen Harper the geopolitical centre of gravity of the party and Canadian politics shifted to the right, demonstrating that this is possible, which represents his...

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