Open conversation at Congress 2010 

By Russ Cooper

“In the past, the theme hasn’t always been a priority for the host universities of Congress. It is for us.”

Ronald Rudin, History Professor and Academic Convenor for the 2010 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences, is serious about making the theme of Connected Understanding/Le savoir branché work. From May 28 to June 4, thousands of delegates and guests will be here for the largest annual academic gathering in Canada.

“The theme is the first chance for the host to put its stamp on the Congress. When I showed up [to the Canadian Federation of Humanities and Social Sciences] with a theme we had reflected on and developed in-depth, it was unanimously approved.”

One significant topic of conversation will no doubt be open access to information. Rudin hopes Congress will facilitate a broad range of discussion on the topic in hopes of raising understanding of the issues that are involved, not only for researchers, but also for the broader public.

“Congress isn’t parliament,” says Rudin. “We plan to raise questions for those who don’t think about it, but probably should. We’ll have a captive audience to consider a topic pertinent to all present.”

While many details are still being arranged, Rudin is proud to announce the first major keynote address which will be sponsored jointly by Concordia and the Federation is Robert Darnton, Harvard Library Director, well-known historian and outspoken commentator on open access and the Google book settlement (see Journal, March 19, 2009). He will speak on the first day of Congress.

As details are finalized, more panel discussions, speakers and opportunities for exchange will be organized. Rudin considers copyright, whether publicly-funded research should be made public and the future of academic journals as possible topics.

To learn about Congress 2010 at Concordia, including news, bios of Concordians involved and a preview of its events, check out the new website.


Concordia University