Geography Students Involved in Environmental Research Should Consider Attending ESAC 2013!

DGES PhD candidate Ryan Katz-Rosene talks about Environmental Studies Association of Canada Annual Conference

By Ryan Katz-Rosene, Phd Candidate, DGES

In 2010, the Annual Congress of the Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences (often simply referred to as ‘Congress’ in Canadian academic circles) was held at Concordia University in Montreal. As a Master’s student at the time, I figured this was a great opportunity to attend a national level academic conference, given its proximity to Ottawa. Like most graduate students, my first experience at ‘Congress’ was an eye-opener: I was amazed by the thousands of academics who poured into downtown Montreal over a period of some ten days, who attended multiple overlapping conferences, and who could be identified at cafes and restaurants by their name badges and CFHSS book bags.  The experience was such a whirlwind that somehow, by the time I had finished my own five day stint in Montreal I had become a board member of the Environmental Studies Association of Canada (ESAC).

Since then I have helped to plan and have attended ESAC’s Annual Conferences in 2011 at the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton, and in 2012 at the University of Waterloo. For those not aware of how these pieces all fit together – ESAC is just one of the dozens of ‘learned societies’ that fall under the umbrella the CFHSS (in fact, there are 81 scholarly association members of CFHSS). Another one of these scholarly members with which you may be familiar with is the Canadian Association of Geographers (or CAG). The CFHSS’ Annual ‘Congress’ is really just a shell of a conference, within which many of the smaller members (such as ESAC) can hold their Annual Conferences. Because many of these conferences overlap, it’s a great opportunity to attend multiple conferences and thus partake in an adventure of academic interdisciplinarity.

Now here’s where I get to ESAC 2013: Now you know that, as a conference organizer, I have a certain vested interest in promoting this event… but I think there is good reason to do so. ESAC’s next Annual Conference will be held at Congress 2013 at the University of Victoria, in British Columbia, from June 3rd – 5th. The broad theme of the conference is “Edges and Flows: Diversity, Environment and Society”. Scholars involved in environmental research are invited to submit proposals (but make note of the fast-approaching deadline: January 20th). More information about submitting proposals found here.

The conference offers a great platform and opportunity to network with like-minded scholars across the country, and learn about and share latest insights in environmental research. At last year’s conference we had a big name speaker – Bill McKibben. This year we hope to bring out an equally big name for our keynote address. ESAC does have a budget for graduate student travel subsidies, and students who are presenting on their current research are also able to apply for travel and conference funds through the Faculty of Postdoctoral and Graduate Affairs (via their home department). It promises to be a great time, and who knows – perhaps you’ll end up on the board of one of Canada’s learned societies by the time you’re on your way back to Ontario?

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