Initiatives & Activities

Since its inception in 1983, the Institute has been dedicated to the exploration of the critical perspectives that relate social concerns to the cultural and historical legacy of the Humanities. In taking such a role, the Institute hopes to contribute reflective, contemplative, and critical public points of view on the conflicts and contentious issues of our time. 

Vancouver Campus

Publication & Programming

Contours Journal

Contours is the successor to the Institute for the Humanities’ previous journal, Humanitas. Its mandate is to publish original work that engages the contemporary significance of the humanities broadly understood and, therefore, focus on debates within historical and contemporary social and political thought, religion, and culture.

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Journal of Adorno Studies

The Institute for the Humanities is the new home of the Journal of Adorno Studies, previously at Duke for nine years. A key priority is to globalize a larger editorial board, to include Adorno scholars from outside of North America and Europe—Africa, Latin America and China.

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J. S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities

The holder of the J. S. Woodsworth Chair or Resident Scholar combines teaching and research with active engagement on issues concerning the wider community. The Chair or Resident Scholar works with the Director of the Institute for the Humanities and other faculty to further public understanding of its mandate.

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Joanne Brown Symposium on Violence and its Alternatives

Joanne Brown (1918–2003) was a social worker, an advocate for children and of lifelong learning, and an active supporter of the CCF/NDP. Toward the end of her life, she gave a generous endowment to the Institute for the Humanities to financially support an annual symposium that would bring together an interdisciplinary group of individuals in an informal setting to discuss how various forms of violence may be alleviated.

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Grace MacInnis Visiting Scholar

In honour of Grace MacInnis and her history of social and political service as a Member of Parliament for the New Democratic Party, an annual Grace MacInnis Visiting Scholar Program was initiated through the Institute for the Humanities in 1993. The Visiting Scholars are invited to Simon Fraser University to give public talks, as well as meet with faculty and students.

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Thakore Visiting Scholar

Since 1991, the Institute for the Humanities, in collaboration with the Thakore Charitable Foundation and J. S. Woodsworth Chair in the Humanities, has presented the Thakore Visiting Scholar Award to outstanding persons who have made the well-being of society their lifetime work. The scholars are hosted during the annual Gandhi Jayanti celebration at SFU.

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Annual Professor Chin Banerjee Memorial Lecture in Anti-Racism

This annual lecture cohosted by the Institute for the Humanities, the Dr. Hari Sharma Foundation, the South Asian Network for Secularism and Democracy, and the West Coast Coalition Against Racism is to commemorate the life, work, and political activism of Professor Chin Banerjee, who passed away on July 29, 2020.

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Undergraduate and graduate student support

The Institute for the Humanities provides support to undergraduate students through two annual student awards:

  1. In the summer term to help cover the costs associated with attending a travel-study/field school program offered by SFU.
  2. In the fall term to recognize and honour SFU students who have been active in voluntary community service in areas related to peace, justice, and human rights.

As well, the Institute pledges an annual grant to the Global Humanities MA Program to support initiatives and activities of its graduate students.

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