CPSA 2014, day 1

2014-05-27

in Politics, Security, The environment

I was just at “Indigenous Peoples and Natural Resource Extraction: Perspectives Across Provinces“, but decided to switch things up a bit with “Remote and Preemptive Warfare“, which is largely about drones.

At 1:30pm, I have “Indigenous Peoples and Natural Resource Extraction: The Political Economy of Extraction, Enterprises and Resistance“.

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Milan May 27, 2014 at 12:20 pm
. June 1, 2014 at 12:29 pm

Career concerns may have been prominent, but the main business of Congress, where more than 6,000 academics gathered this week on the grounds of Brock University in St. Catharines, Ont., was still to be a marketplace of ideas. It’s where faculty and graduate students try out new hypotheses and hope the audience will identify gaps in the research before they submit it to a scholarly journal.

Conversations were intense regardless of the subject – what accounts for how evangelical churches work with immigrant and refugee communities; are books written by James Patterson’s co-authors more similar to each other than to the bestsellers he has written alone, for example. Debates over the significance of correlations continued at the beer tent.

Every field had its own celebration. On Monday, a small band of specialists in Nordic countries and arts talked Ibsen over Niagara wine. “We don’t have a lot of Scandinavian majors, but courses on myths are very popular,” said Ingrid K. Urberg, an associate professor at the University of Alberta, Augustana Campus.

Canadian scholars are better at leaving their research cloisters than their U.S. counterparts, said Mervyn Horgan, a sociologist at the University of Guelph. At the U.S. sociological association conference, thousands rather than hundreds turn up and all are jockeying for status. “They’re always looking at your badge to see if your university is prestigious enough to talk to you,” Dr. Horgan said.

Along with networking among faculty and grad students, Congress bills itself as a public festival of ideas with lectures on education, immigration and health among other events. This year, that included a “MakerBus,” a school bus that a group of students from Western University bought for $1,900 from a junkyard and converted into a mobile technology classroom. The bus was open to visitors, and featured 3-D printers, crafts from recycled technology hardware and chats about how to do tech education. Part of the point of the bus is to engage with non-academics and show kids and adults that being a scholar can happen outside a library, said Beth Compton, one of the founders of the bus and a PhD student in archeology at Western.

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