About Congress

About Congress

About Congress

Unrivaled in scope and impact, the annual Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences is the convergence of over 70 scholarly associations, each holding their annual conference under one umbrella. Now in its 88th year, this flagship event is much more than Canada’s largest gathering of scholars. Congress brings together academics, researchers, policy-makers, and practitioners to share findings, refine ideas, and build partnerships that will help shape the Canada of tomorrow.

Typically spanning seven days in late May and early June, and attracting over 8,000 attendees, Congress is organized by the Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences and hosted by a different Canadian university each year. The Federation, host university, scholarly associations and partners develop a full week of presentations, workshops, panels, public lectures, cultural events and receptions. It also features Canada’s largest academic trade show. The result? Luminaries, researchers, practitioners, policy-makers and students from across Canada and abroad meet, share ideas and engage in discussions that have direct importance for Canada and the lives of Canadians.

Congress programming is open to attendees, academics and non-academic audiences. From theatre research, literature studies and history to education, sociology and communications, Congress represents a unique showcase of scholarly excellence, creativity, and leadership.

Congress 2019 is being hosted by The University of British Columbia in Vancouver, British Columbia. The theme for this year’s Congress is “Circles of Conversation".

Land acknowledgement

We give thanks to the Musqueam people for welcoming us on their territory. We will be working diligently to live up to our collective responsibility to honour and respect their protocols and homeland, to build relationships, and to engage meaningfully with their knowledge in this Congress and beyond. Our gratitude extends to the Sḵwxw̱ ú7mesh (Squamish) and sə̓lílwətaʔɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) First Nations, for hosting Congress attendees on their unceded territories that we now know to be the city of Vancouver.

Theme: Circles of Conversation

With the theme “Circles of Conversation,” Congress 2019 in Vancouver will emphasize the deep, two-way relationships between the university and the communities it serves: local, provincial, national and global. Particular attention will be focused on productive scholarly relations with Indigenous communities.

“Circles of Conversation” will open up much-needed space for dialogue, debate, and dissent, and will showcase creative critical engagements within and across disciplines, with topics as diverse as sustainability, accessibility, global mobility, health, culture, education, and a myriad of other areas of scholarship that make our humanities and social sciences community so distinctly rich. Congress 2019 will foster and encourage circles of conversation among scholars, educators, students, political leaders, activists, and the public at large, so that people can speak with one another, listen and learn together.

This year’s Congress will place an emphasis on innovative engagements with today’s key issues and on art as an important form of engaged scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. The Big Thinking lecture series, for example, will feature an all artist lineup, with speakers from literature, the visual arts and the performing arts. Much of the UBC and Federation programming will also promote creative formats of engaging with different perspectives and knowledges.

Past and future Congresses

Information about past Congresses as well as Congress 2020, 2021, and 2022 can be found on the Federation's website.