Knowledge Waiting to be Discovered: Leroy Little Bear speaks on Blackfoot Metaphysics

By Zahura Ahmed, Congress 2016 student blogger

Questioning our very way of thinking, long-time First Nations education advocate and scholar Leroy Little Bear delivered a mind-blowing Big Thinking lecture to a packed house at Congress 2016 this afternoon with wisdom, wit, and extraordinary knowledge. Little Bear explained his view of the limits of Western metaphysics. Metaphysics are those things that are so embodied within an individual that they form the foundational and often unconscious basis of one’s thoughts and behaviour, as well as the organization of society.

Little Bear stated thatWestern metaphysics has been largely shaped by the Enlightenment period of European history.  Western ways of thought are primarily driven by rationalism: everything is about matter; we look at things in isolation; and, we are future-oriented. It rejects arriving at truths through faith, reliance on the past, or intuition, and rejects anything to...


Eugenics and its modern world implications


Zahura Ahmed, Congress 2016 student blogger

Imagine having no agency over your reproductive decisions. Imagine that those around you believe that you are not capable of making decisions for yourself and your future. Now, imagine a society in which your body is policed to the point where institutions have the right to legally sterilize you without your consent. From 1928 to 1972, this was a reality for persons with disabilities or mental illnesses in Western Canada, predominantly practiced in Alberta. The Sexual Sterilization Act of Alberta disproportionally affected vulnerable populations, including women, indigenous persons and institutionalized persons.

Nicola Fairbrother presented insights on the history of eugenics in Western Canada in the session entitled Surviving Eugenics in Alberta at Congress 2016. Fairbrother’s research focused on the story of eugenic survivors, as this problematic part of history remains largely...


At the intersections of queer and youth, there is no single story


Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

The Congress 2016 roundtable hosted by the Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English (ACCUTE) and the Association for Research in Cultures of Young People (ARCYP) on May 31st entitled At the Intersections of Queer and Youth featured some of the brightest up and coming minds from Canadian academia.

Recent graduates Jordan Fischer (University of Calgary) and Andrea Oakunsheyld (University of Calgary), and Doctoral Candidates Isabelle Groenhof (University of Calgary), Meredith Snyder (University of Alberta), and Joshua Whitehead (University of Calgary) each presented papers on queer spaces and methods of identity formation in popular culture. These topics ranged from literature (Groenhof, Snyder and Whitehead) to music (Fischer) to fan fiction (Oakunsheyld). Each brought a unique perspective and emerging voice to the roundtable.

As different as each...


Beyond the Academy: The public side of Congress panels


Caleb Snider, Congress 2016 student blogger

The academic papers being presented here at the 2016 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences all represent research and study that pushes the boundaries of scholarship. Many of those same papers also have an immediate and direct relevance to public life, whether in the realm of public policy or in popular culture.

Take for example the May 28th Canadian Communication Association (CCA) Annual Meeting panel entitled Food: Classifications, Recommendations, Regulations, in which Doctoral Candidate Rebecca Carruthers Den Hoed, Dr. Emily Truman, and Professor Charlene Elliott (all from the University of Calgary) presented their research into how food and nutrition is marketed and presented by public institutions, private health initiatives and the modern commercial food industry. All three presenters called for a radical shift in public policy to promote a new kind of media literacy...