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Preserving knowledge in the face of war and oppression: Stories of academic refugees fleeing Hitler’s regime

 

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

When academics and researchers are displaced by war or persecution, it is more than their lives and those of their families that face destruction; we also risk losing their accumulated expertise and future contributions to human knowledge. In times of political turmoil, intellectuals make easy targets for scapegoating and targeting, as they represent an imminent threat to totalitarian systems. The rise of the Third Reich in the middle of the 20th century proved no exception, resulting in the deaths and displacement of many of the German-speaking world’s academics.

This is the subject that six eminent academics spoke on, as part of multipart panel entitled Personal stories and institutional narratives from German-speaking émigré physicians, scientists, and academics between the 1930s and the 1960s. Presented by the Canadian Historical Association (CHA) and the Canadian Society for...

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Ideas matter: Telling your research story

 

Zahura Ahmed, Congress 2016 student blogger

Do you find yourself attending academic lectures on topics in which you are extremely interested, only to leave feeling confused, angry at your time wasted, and wondering how such a gripping topic was presented so poorly? Why are some academic presentations so long, difficult to follow, and simply boring? The truth is, researching and presenting require two completely different skill sets. Collecting, analyzing and synthesizing scholarly research are skills that do not automatically translate into the ability to effectively and accessibly deliver findings in the form of a presentation.

Shari Graydon of Informed Opinions was at Congress 2016 this week to deliver a Career Corner workshop entitled Ideas matter: Telling your research story, providing specific strategies and concrete tools to help individuals more effectively tell...

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We’re all in this canoe called Canada together

 

Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

Referencing the famous statue “Spirit of Haida Gwaii” by Indigenous artist Bill Reid, the Right Honourable Beverley McLachlin (Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada) addressed the issue of accommodation in her Big Thinking lecture The Rule of Law in a Multicultural Society, hosted by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences on May 30th.

The Chief Justice argued that accommodation is not a state to be achieved or a destination to be reached; it is an ongoing process, an ideal for which we must ever strive.

She spoke passionately about how to deal with diversity in modern society, how to deal with the “other,” which she sees as the most challenging issue facing the world today. She argued that Canada was founded as a nation that constitutionally recognized diversity (of various indigenous and European peoples under an umbrella of federalism that recognized differences in...

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We need to enlarge our circle of compassion, says Naomi Klein

 

Zahura Ahmed, Congress 2016 student blogger

There is no doubt that climate change is real and contributing to natural disasters around the world: our global temperature has risen by approximately one degree since the preindustrial era; recently we have seen how the Fort McMurray wildfires have displaced thousands of families; and the current extreme heat wave in India and Pakistan is expected to cost many lives. Climate scientists have said that this is the decade to make significant changes in order to prevent global warming. Urgent and swift action is needed. Award-winning author and journalist Naomi Klein believes that nations must take a leap, rather than small steps, in order to shift the world to a place where climate change does not pose the level of threat it does today.

Klein emphasizes an important point: climate change is not only a cause—a cause of disaster and the Earth behaving in strange ways—but also a symptom. It is a symptom...

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