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Wilfrid Laurier University Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing
October 26, 2016
Canadian Excellence


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Congress 2012

Margaret Atwood among speakers at Congress 2012, hosted by Laurier and Waterloo

Communications, Public Affairs & Marketing

Nov 11/11

Margaret Atwood, Thomas Homer-Dixon and Jane Urquhart are among the people who will speak in Waterloo next spring for the 2012 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences (Congress 2012).

Organized by the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (CFHSS), Congress 2012 is the largest interdisciplinary conference in Canada. It will be co-hosted by Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo from May 26 to June 2, 2012. More than 7,000 academics, practitioners and policy-makers will assemble to discuss the conference’s theme of “Crossroads: Scholarship for an Uncertain World.”

The Congress 2012 Big Thinking lecture series is open to both Congress delegates and Waterloo region community members. The series will highlight the importance of humanities and social sciences scholarship and the “Big Thinkers” will discuss issues of central importance to the community, society and the world at large.

The speakers include:

  • Margaret Atwood, author of more than fifty volumes of poetry, children’s literature, fiction and non-fiction.
  • Thomas Homer-Dixon, chair of Global Systems at the Centre for International Governance Innovation and director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation at the University of Waterloo.
  • Janine Brodie, Canada Research Chair in Political Economy and Social Governance at the University of Alberta.
  • Chris Hedges, Pulitzer Prize-winning American journalist, author and former war correspondent.
  • Jane Urquhart, author of seven internationally acclaimed novels.
  • Mary Eberts, co-founder of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), litigation counsel to the Native Women’s Association of Canada and Ariel F. Sallows Chair in Human Rights at the University of Saskatchewan.
  • Sidonie Smith, professor of English and Women’s Studies at the University of Michigan.

“Through this series of public lectures and through Congress itself, researchers in the social sciences and humanities can take stock of the significant changes affecting Canada and the world, from new technologies and environmental and political changes to economic upheavals,” said Max Blouw, Laurier president and vice-chancellor. “Congress 2012’s theme of ‘Crossroads’ and exceptional roster of Big Thinkers will facilitate discussion and collaboration on these complex global issues across disciplines.”

The speakers were announced at an after-work reception and presentation at the Communitech Hub in Kitchener that served as a ‘curtain raiser’ for Congress 2012. Renowned social scientists Darin Barney from McGill University and Barbara Crow from York University were joined by Kevin Tuer from the Canadian Digital Media Network. The digital experts explored the topic of “Canadians at the Crossroads: How technology challenges us to change.”

“The [Congress 2012] conference theme is Crossroads: Scholarship for an Uncertain World, and tonight’s contemplation of where Canada goes from here is an à propos taste of what is to come,” said Blouw at the event.

Congress 2012 will bring together more than 70 scholarly associations in the humanities and social sciences. Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo are co-hosting the 81st Congress from May 26 to June 2, 2012. For more information, visit:


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