CEDAR at the Congress in Montreal – Susan’s take

Last week (June 16-21) during the heat wave I was in Montreal, participating in three conferences as part of the Congress of Humanities and Social Sciences – the big event with 70+ academic conferences together held every year at a different university in Canada. This year McGill University was the host, and given the situation on the campus with the anti-war encampment and a law faculty strike, all three of my conferences were moved elsewhere in the city.

I spent most of my time at the Society of Socialist Studies conference, moved to UQAM’s Sherbrooke Pavilion. M.V. Ramana and I co-organized a panel: “Challenging the Canadian Nuclear Establishment” with fellow panelists PhD student Laura Tanguay and Professor Mark Winfield, both from York University. We agreed to repeat the panel presentations at an open zoom event, details to follow later this year. At the panel I presented my paper in development “Challenging Hegemonic Corporate Media Discourse on Nuclear Power: The NB Media Coop” written with research assistant Emma Fackenthall who also attended the session. We’re still doing the analysis and will aim to finish drafting the paper this year. In addition to listening to many interesting presentations, I also had fun hanging out with Ramana and Laura for three days.

The Canadian Sociological Association pulled out of Congress entirely and held a parallel virtual conference. I presented my paper, “Nuclear Waste on Indigenous Homelands: A Settler Critique” using slides prepared by research assistant Abby Bartlett, in collaboration with Ramana. Abby and I are working on a report on the topic, aiming to have a draft by the end of the summer, working in collaboration with our CEDAR Indigenous research partners. I presented the slides by zoom from my non-air-conditioned residence room at the top of the McGill campus. Aside from that one session, I skipped the rest of the CSA virtual conference so I could attend the in-person sessions at other venues.

My third and final presentation was at the Canadian Communication Association conference, moved to the Université de Montréal campus. I also chaired my panel after the original chair was unable to attend. I’ve been working on my CCA paper, “The nuclear industry, the government and the public sphere” for more than a year and have revised it numerous times as new info from my access to information requests has come in. I’m still waiting for one request, from Global Affairs Canada, and as soon as it arrives I should be able to finish that paper quickly and submit it for review and publication.

On reflection, the week in Montreal was well worth it. I’ll return home with lots of good ideas for further research. I met up with some former, current and possibly future academic colleagues. I was also able to meet up with family in Montreal and Ottawa where I lived for many years. Next year, the Congress will be in Toronto at George Brown College and I’m already thinking ahead to which conferences I’ll take part in. Three conferences in one week is definitely my limit.

Susan’s colleagues Laura Tanguay (York U) and M.V. Ramana (UBC) after the first day of the Socialist Studies conference in Montreal, June 17, 2024.