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 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 “Gathering at the Forks – Bridging Divides".

Land acknowledgement

We acknowledge that the Western campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the Anishinaabeg, Haudenosaunee, Lunaapeewak and Attawandaron peoples. 

Theme: Gathering at the Forks – Bridging divides

Congress 2020 offers the humanities and social sciences community a gathering place in London, Ontario, at the Forks of the Thames River, or Deshkan Ziibi (Antler River). The geographic metaphor connects with the land and water in this Great Lakes region of Turtle Island. Forks in a river reflect separation and divergence, symbolizing the issues that divide people. At the same time, London's Forks are a traditional gathering place, thus connoting convergence — a coming together to form community. The theme emphasizes that Congress assembles scholars, artists and members of the general public who engage with the world from differing viewpoints, offering a forum to share perspectives, to listen deeply and critically, and to respond. Also, it’s an invitation for people to listen to the land and the water. It brings a focus on interdisciplinarity (bridging disciplinary divides) and on internationalization (bridging national divides). At the same time, it highlights our disciplines’ engagement in bringing people together to build resilience in the face of forces that tear them apart (bridging political and ideological divides) and in overcoming the divisiveness of colonialism while promoting reconciliation between Indigenous peoples and settler populations.

Past and future Congresses

Information about past and future Congresses can be found on the Federation's website.