I'm Off to my First Conference
I'm getting ready to attend my first conference of the summer this upcoming weekend (June 1 - 3). This one is part of the large Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences organized by the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences. According to the website, it "is the largest annual academic gathering in Canada; its multidisciplinary character marks it as unique in the world." More than 8,000 delegates are expected at this year's meetings. Sounds pretty impressive, hm? Until sometime in the 1990s, the Congress used to be called "The Learneds," but I guess "Congress" sounds much better. At any rate, each year in Canada, a very large cadre of researchers, graduate students, and policy makers gather in a Canadian city at one of the major Canadian universities to share and discuss their research. This is done in a variety of annual meetings of various societies ranging from those very large in membership - like the Canadian Historical Association (CHA) and Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA) - to those much smaller - like the Canadian Society of Church History (CSCH) or the Canadian Society for the Study of Rhetoric (CSSR). In total almost 70 associations meet over the course of nine or ten days. It's quite a hive of activity wherever it's happening! Frequently scholars choose to attend the meetings of more than one society so we're off back and forth across campus hearing and giving papers to one another. It's also a great time to catch up with friends whom we see once a year at this annual gathering.
This year, the Congress is at University of British Columbia in beautiful Vancouver just down the road from Trinity. It's the first time in a long time that the Congress has been held in the province in which I live. The last time that occurred was in 2000 when I was in graduate school at the University of Alberta and the meetings were held there. The best thing about the Congress is that it moves across Canada each year going back and forth between central Canada, western Canada, and eastern Canada. In addition to gathering to share research, we get to see Canada in all of its vast geographic beauty. One of my favourite meetings was at Memorial University in St. John's; what a beautiful city and province Newfoundland is! This year, I'll be attending the meetings of the Canadian Historical Association and the Canadian Society of Church History. I'm on the executive of the latter so in addition to the papers portion, we try to get through a fair bit of business. I'm not presenting a paper at this year's conference, but I am chairing a session and commenting on a set of papers in a joint session of the two associations. I'll tell you more about the sessions next week. At this point, I'm looking forward to seeing friends and colleagues and visiting the ever-amazing and always-impossible-to-turn-down book fair. One of my greatest weaknesses is books....
On a personal note, the first foals of the year have been born at the ranch! Baby number one arrived on Saturday the 24th of May and to date (May 29) there are five. One of our own mares is due to foal any day now. I'll post a photo and updated information when the happy event has occurred!