Tkatoron/Toronto, Virtual, and Distributed Local

The COVID-19 pandemic has meant facing a year of uncertainty. Originally, Toronto was the host site for 4S 2021. However, restrictions on travel and social gatherings have made in-person international conferencing in Toronto (Tkaronto) impossible.

In keeping with our theme of Good Relations: Practices and Methods in Unequal and Uncertain Worlds, 4S 2021 will provide everyone with a meaningful, welcoming, and generative virtual conference. In addition, we will supplement our virtual gathering with a toolkit so that people can organize regional gatherings and co-watching events, insofar as their local health protocols allow.

We are happy to announce that we will be using Midspace as our virtual platform will have opportunities for socializing, meetups, networking, exhibits, tours, and more. Midspace (formerly Clowdr) is a social enterprise and state-of-the-art platform for hosting engaging and accessible virtual events. Their mission is to make inclusive, accessible, climate-friendly virtual conferences as socially engaging as physical conferences.  Watch this video to learn more.

Position on University of Toronto Censure

The 2021 4S Annual Meeting will be held in Toronto virtually but is not hosted by the University of Toronto. Nonetheless, the conference co-chairs and 4S Council wish to make the following statement about its affiliation with University of Toronto.

The Society for Social Studies of Science (4S) supports the CAUT censure of the University of Toronto. 4S is committed to upholding academic freedom. Therefore, in hosting its 2021 annual conference in Toronto, 4S commits to respecting the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) censure of the University of Toronto (U of T). The decision to respect censure is unanimously affirmed by the conference co-chairs and 4S Council. 4S will not accept any sponsorships or funds for its annual meeting from the U of T while it is under censure.

On April 22, 2021, the CAUT imposed a rare censure on the U of T over its decision to terminate the candidacy of Dr. Valentina Azarova for the Directorship of the International Human Rights Program (IHRP) at the Faculty of Law.

Censure asks that scholars refuse speaking engagements, appointments, distinctions, and honours offered by the University offered as at the University of Toronto. The terms of the censure do not ask U of T scholars and students to withdraw from collaborations or invitations not held at the University of Toronto, such as participating in the 4S conference as organizers or individuals.

  • Read the CAUT censure statement here.
  • Find out more about the procedures for following the censure here.
  • Read the U of T President’s response rejecting the terms of the censure here.
  • Learn more about what happened and ongoing support for the censure here.

Land Acknowledgement

The land acknowledgement is a formal statement recognizing the enduring relationship that exists between Indigenous Peoples and their traditional lands. Acknowledging the land is an Indigenous protocol used to honour the Indigenous territories you are working, living, or visiting. Land acknowledgements are not given in a past tense, but recognize that colonialism is an ongoing process. We offer this land acknowledgement as part of enacting good relations.

Toronto, or Tkaranto, has been the site of human activity for 15,000 years. This sacred land is the territory of the Huron-Wendat and Petun First Nations, the Seneca, the Mississaugas of the Credit River and the nations of the Haudenosaunee Confederacy. It is marked by a history of settler colonialism and genocide, as well as resistance; it is a site of ongoing colonial projects, even as their persistence and violence is erased in dominant accounts of of the city.

Today, Tkaranto is still the home to Indigenous people from across Turtle Island. Intersecting communities consist of those native to this land, Indigenous people from other territories; settlers who have come here by choice; communities forced into diasporas by the trans-Atlantic slave trade; or otherwise a result of settler colonialism and imperialism. The territory is the subject of the Dish With One Spoon Wampum Belt Covenant, an agreement between the Haudenosaunee and Anishinaabe Confederacies to peaceably share, care for, and protect the land around the Great Lakes. Subsequent Indigenous Nations and peoples, Europeans and all newcomers have been invited into this treaty.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission has 94 Calls to Action including reaffirming that treaties with Indigenous Peoples be lawfully honoured. Tkaronto is covered by Treaty 13 and the Williams Treaty. We are grateful for the opportunity to visit and work on this land and recognize our varied responsibilities towards it.