The Culture of Research: Retooling the Humanities
A Public Forum
Friday, October 20, 2006
The Arboretum, the University of Guelph
The TransCanada Institute, University of Guelph, and Canada Research Chairs Daniel Coleman (McMaster) & Smaro Kamboureli (Guelph)
3:30 – 5:30, followed by a reception 5:30 – 7:00
Are you interested in the economic, political and cultural paradigms and conditions that inform and shape the pedagogical directions and research in the Humanities today?
Are you wondering how to negotiate between policy-oriented and critique-oriented research objectives, or why the contribution and significance of a Humanities scholar’s research today is measured on the basis of external funding?
The Culture of Research: “Retooling” the Humanitiesworkshop is designed as an intensive critical dialogue among scholars interested in investigating the impact of Retooling the Humanites current institutional paradigms on research funding, grant policies, and allocations for teaching which in turn shape the production and dissemination of knowledge in the Humanities in Canadian universities. Interested in assessing as much the evolving state of affairs in the Humanities at present as the path to “future knowledge” outlined in the recently released policy document, Knowledge Council: SSHRC, 2006-2011, this workshop will include a public forum and research papers presented by scholars. The research papers will result in a book publication edited by the organizers.
Questions and issues the participants are invited to address may include:
- The economic, political, and cultural paradigms and conditions that inform and shape the pedagogical directions and research in the Humanities today
- The goals, practices, or assumptions of the culture of science and culture of arts research
- Negotiating between policy-oriented and critique-oriented research objectives
- What “retooling” (Knowledge Council) of research in the Humanities should enhance or avoid; the impact of this “retooling” process on academic life and work
- The ways in which research funding as currently configured privileges a techno-science mode of research
- Research funding of Humanities projects and the corporatization of universities
- The contribution and significance of a Humanities scholars’ research measured on the basis on external funding; grantspersonship as the measure of valuable research
- The uses of external funding by universities (e.g., funding often siphoned by university administrations to supplement losses in base-budget funding)
- Identifying research themes, inter/disciplinary areas, and research categories: key words and grant applications
- Funding agencies: application and evaluation processes
- The function of university strategic plans
- Dissemination of research in the Humanities: how, as the Knowledge Council puts it, Humanities scholars can “do a better job of getting hard-won knowledge out into the world”; what it means, for researchers and society at large, to “use knowledge”; how to measure the “impact” of research knowledge vis à vis the public; what constitutes the “public”
- The occlusion of the classroom in the focus on registering a “public” impact for Humanities research
- Accountability—for individual scholars, university administrations, funding agencies
- Transparency, consultation, policy-making, implementation, monitoring: who or what institutional structures should establish research funding priorities and themes (e.g., it has become customary for SSHRC to set deadlines for elaborate applications for research programs only a month or so after a new program is announced)
- What “innovation” entails and how it can be “measured”
- What “systematic transformation of knowledge into action” (Knowledge Council) means, and what its implications are
- Diversity as a commodity versus diversity as a politics. (Many universities identify diversity as a core value or strategic goal of university life; how much is this a selling feature and how much a project of structural change?)
- The pedagogical gains and/or risks of establishing fast-track graduate degrees
- Partnerships with various sectors of the community: research possibilities and independence; negotiating difficulties
- Research methodologies and tools in the Humanities
- Clustering research and collaboration: gains and risks
- Indigenizing universities: the status of indigenous studies in Canadian scholarship and universities; the histories of indigenous studies programs: First Nations University (Saskatchewan), on-reserve extension programs, etc.