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 89th 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 2020 is being hosted by Western University in London, Ontario. The theme for this year’s Congress is “Bridging Divides: Confronting Colonialism and Anti-Black Racism".
We acknowledge that the Western University campus is situated on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak and Attawandaron (Neutral) people, on lands connected with the London Township and Sombra Treaties of 1796 and with the Dish with One Spoon Covenant Wampum. This land continues to be home to diverse Indigenous peoples who are recognized as contemporary stewards of the land and vital contributors to society.
Congress 2020 offers a gathering place on the banks of London’s Deshkan Ziibi, on the traditional lands of the Anishinaabek, Haudenosaunee, Lūnaapéewak, and Attawandaron (Neutral) peoples, not far from where some of Upper Canada’s earliest Black refugees arrived after fleeing slavery in the United States. The river’s Forks downstream from the Western University campus are a traditional meeting place where two tributaries converge, a place to come together to listen to the land and water, to build resilience as we confront what divides us. Congress 2020 will encourage multidisciplinary engagement under the broad concept of bridging divides, while specifically emphasizing the dispossession of Indigenous peoples and the enslavement of Africans in the new world. Settler colonialism, as part of a broader imperial project, erases Indigenous peoples by appropriating land and delegitimizing traditional knowledge, and dehumanizes Black people, subjecting them to the tropes of everyday anti-Black racism. As we come together to confront white privilege and white supremacy, and examine experiences shared by Indigenous peoples and African Canadians, we also invite our community to reflect critically on social, ethnic, political and epistemological divisions more broadly, forming a future vision that bridges divides between divergent ways of knowing and navigating our world.
Past and future Congresses
Information about past and future Congresses can be found on the Federation's website.