University of Sydney to host prestigious Congress of HASS 2023

24 November 2023
A gathering of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences experts
The Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences (CHASS) will meet at the University of Sydney Camperdown campus in the final week of November, 2023, bringing together scholars from around Australia and the world.

The University of Sydney is set to host the esteemed Congress of the Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (CHASS) from 27 November to 1 December, marking the largest assembly of HASS academics in Australia. Over 2000 delegates, including leading researchers, educators, and professionals from around the country and the world, will converge both physically on the Camperdown campus and virtually in a hybrid format.

The CHASS Congress, an initiative uniting peak bodies and discipline associations in HASS, provides a collaborative platform for workshops and conferences, fostering interdisciplinary dialogue and advancing scholarship in the humanities. Following the success of the inaugural Congress at the University of Melbourne in 2022, this year's event is expected to draw similar numbers.

photo of a middle aged woman with short hair looking to one side and smiling

Professor Lisa Adkins

Reflecting on the significance of hosting such a prestigious gathering, Professor Lisa Adkins, Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Sydney, expressed feeling both honoured and deeply excited to be bringing together influential minds to shape the future of the humanities.

“As one of the major centres of humanities, arts, and social sciences (HASS) teaching and research in Australia, our Faculty is delighted to host the Congress of HASS in 2023,” Professor Adkins said. “I am personally looking forward to plenaries on The Future of HASS in the University and the Future of HASS Research. Recent global events have shown that now, more than ever, we need the critical capacities of the HASS disciplines to understand the history and complexity of the world in which we live. I look forward to joining you at the 2023 Congress.”

Congress of HASS 2023

The CHASS program, spanning from 27 November to 1 December, will showcase presentations and workshops from 15 participating HASS disciplines, including the Australian Historical Association, Australian Association of Philosophy, Australian and New Zealand Association for Medieval and Early Modern Studies, Canadian-Australian Partnership for Open Scholarship, Australian Linguistic Society, Chinese Studies Association of Australia, and the Australian University Heads of English, among others.

In the true spirit of the Congress, a joint keynote with the Australasian Society for Continental Philosophy and the Australian Political Studies Association, Professor Joanne Faulkner from Macquarie University will delve into the topic of "Representation, Settler Colonialism, and 'the Aboriginal Child': a politics of subalternity?"

Bestselling author Richard Glover will be delivering a public lecture on History as Inspiration. Professor Emeritus Carol Gigliotti, an author, artist, animal activist, and scholar, will speak about Why knowledge of animal cultures is critical. Professor Erich Round from the University of Queensland, a morphologist, phonologist, and modeller of language change and language diversity, will deliver a keynote about Inflection point: From a cognitive spark to astounding linguistic richness.

Highlight Events

Monday, 27 November, 5.45 pm

Congress of HASS Shared Plenary Panel: The Future of HASS in the University

In the context of the Universities Accord process, this panel will feature a facilitated discussion with distinguished panellists reflecting on the state of HASS in the University sector, including its reputation with students, employers, and the wider community. Speakers include:

  • Lisa Adkins (Dean of Faculty of Arts and Social Science, University of Sydney)
  • Frank Bongiorno (Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and Professor of History ANU)
  • Rhonda Itaoui (Centre for Western Sydney, Western Sydney University)
  • Gabriel Miller (President and Chief Executive Officer, Federation for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, Canada)

Facilitator – Luke Slattery (Higher Education journalist)

Thursday, 30 November, 5.45 pm

Congress of HASS Shared Plenary Panel: The Future of HASS Research

This panel will delve into the future of HASS research, discussing its role in addressing contemporary and future challenges and the funding context researchers are likely to face. Speakers include:

  • Anika Gauja (Executive Director for Economic, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Australian Research Council)
  • Terry Flew (Australian Research Council Laureate Fellow – Professor of Digital Communication and Culture at The University of Sydney)
  •  Kylie Brass (Director of Policy and Research, Australian Academy of the Humanities)

Facilitator – Matthew Champion (Council for the Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences and Senior Lecturer in History at the University of Melbourne)

The Congress of HASS 2023 is proudly supported by the University of Sydney and the University of Melbourne, reinforcing the commitment to advancing excellence in humanities, arts, and social sciences.

Dan Woodman, the current CHASS president and the convener of the Congress of HASS, is TR Ashworth Professor of Sociology in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne.

Professor Woodman said: “Many of the most pressing questions we face as a society are about how we live together and what makes lives valuable and meaningful in times of change and global turmoil. These are questions for HASS. I am delighted that so many of our leading HASS associations have agreed to come together as part of the Congress at the University of Sydney to share some of the best HASS scholarship Australia has to offer."