Why the things we take for granted could be keys to innovation

Organizational cultures are ripe for change when the familiar starts to seem odd

Why the things we take for granted could be keys to innovationImagine having never seen a handshake. You would know nothing of the different levels of importance and intimacy, when it should be done, what’s happening during the shake and even whether you can learn something from the shake itself. Trying to learn about it all at once would be akin to learning a new language.…

Brain science and theatre background provide a unique perspective

Professor's experimental approach explores science, technology, society and the environment

Brain science and theatre background provide a unique perspectiveFor Yelena Gluzman, science and theatre have much in common. And she’s intimately familiar with both. That makes her a great fit as the newest addition to Media and Technology Studies in the Faculty of Arts at the University of Alberta, where she’s teaching a new course on the interrelations of science, technology, society and environment.…

Sometimes demographic ‘facts’ aren’t quite what they seem

Much of what’s presented as news now is better described as narrative spinning

Sometimes demographic ‘facts’ aren’t quite what they seemIf you follow American news, you’ve probably come across many assertions that by mid-century the United States is set to become a “majority-minority” country. For the first time since its founding, whites will no longer form a majority of the population. This has been greeted with a range of reactions. Some people are dismayed, or…

Understanding the social effects of climate change critical to adaptation

Balancing physical and social needs key to ensuring equity in affected communities

Understanding the social effects of climate change critical to adaptationAs our world adapts to climate change, a renewed focus on social vulnerability is critical to supporting affected communities, according to a study by University of Alberta urban planning experts. “Our research shows we must expand our thinking beyond solely the physical aspects of climate change, and to instead design for the social effects of…

Atlanta baseball team’s offensive name must go

Indigenous nicknames, logos, mascots and rituals are inappropriate and insensitive

Atlanta baseball team’s offensive name must goWhy is this so hard? In the year 2021, why do some sports organizations still insist on using Indigenous American names, mascots, caricatures, rituals, etc., to promote their team? And in the case of Atlanta’s Major League Baseball team, why do they continue to encourage fans to do the tomahawk chop by turning the lights…

Simple but powerful body language tips that exude charisma

Charismatic leaders are perceived to be confident, upbeat and inspirational

Simple but powerful body language tips that exude charismaIn business dealings, charisma counts. A lot. And charisma is as much about impressions and body language as it is about issues and substance. I've seen many qualified people get passed over for promotion (or lose a sale or fail an interview) simply because they couldn’t project an engaging attitude. Max Weber, the father of…

Session helps researchers practise Indigenous-engaged scholarship

SKIPP offers a space to discuss ethical and respectful research as part of Career Corner series at Congress 2021 virtual conference

Session helps researchers practise Indigenous-engaged scholarshipChanging standards around Indigenous engagement in research is a key initiative of the University of Alberta’s Situated Knowledges: Indigenous Peoples and Place (SKIPP) signature area. Florence Glanfield, SKIPP co-lead, will help share that focus with early-career researchers during the 2021 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences. On June 3, Glanfield, who is also vice-provost (Indigenous programming and…

The importance of social connection in a time of isolation

Social isolation has become a defining feature of modern Western societies and there’s a growing concern about its effects

The importance of social connection in a time of isolationWhen people look back at this pandemic, they will remember many things, but perhaps most of all they will recall the changes in social behaviour. There’s the obsessive washing of hands, not touching our face, forgoing handshakes, hoarding toilet paper, wearing masks, working from home and, of course, social distancing – or, more accurately, physical…

Is it time to start a ruckus and resist the fear?

How have we been so easily persuaded to abandon our livelihoods and embrace isolation with barely a question?

Is it time to start a ruckus and resist the fear?No one enjoys a holding pattern. Not when planes circle and wait to land and not today, while we wait for a virus to pass. Yet this is exactly the place most of us have found ourselves over the past six weeks. We’re restlessly awaiting the moment when health and political authorities loosen restrictions and…

Can we bring our disaffected youth back into the fold?

Cynicism and class divisions are leading to cultural insecurity, reducing tolerance and compassion. Something must change

Can we bring our disaffected youth back into the fold?The international landscape is in unprecedented flux, challenging assumptions of social, political and economic progress for youth everywhere. Globalization, technological advances, demographic pressures from global migration, sectarian and ideological conflicts, and economic disparities have all affected the cohesiveness of societies. Shifting unemployment patterns and doubts about the sustainability of social security systems and the environment…

Come on, get happy: if a survey says we are, it must be true

Apparently, as you get older you get happier. Sclerotic, arthritic, calcified, deaf, blind, stupid and poor equals happy? Where do I sign up?

Come on, get happy: if a survey says we are, it must be trueIn a few years, people my age will get back pain, clogged arteries, brittle bones, hearing loss, cataracts, arthritis, heart disease, dementia and schizophrenia. What they won’t get, apparently, is unhappy about it. Citing a recent national survey, Canadian Press reports that older people in this country are generally more buoyant than younger ones. In…

Sympathizing with minorities, with a twist

Sociologists have convinced us to think of people solely in terms of their census categories and their victim credentials

Sympathizing with minorities, with a twistWhen an acquaintance accused me of being unsympathetic to minorities, I was indignant. I’m a member of a much-maligned minority ethnic group, with which I identify strongly. And both of my children are visible minorities: my son was adopted from Thailand and my daughter was adopted from China. In this cultural moment, to be unsympathetic…

How to address social inequality without an inheritance tax

Ideas about taxing, restricting or abolishing your inheritance have been floated by western social thinkers for centuries

How to address social inequality without an inheritance taxShould Canadians be taxed on inheritance? The question is increasingly being asked, but the answer is not straight-forward. This discussion is inherently linked to maintaining inequality from one generation to another – and basically to a skewing of the playing field of life from the start. Such debates aren’t new. In fact, they centre on…