As many as 10,000 social scientists are heading to Vancouver next month to exchange ideas in what has been called the largest meeting of the minds in North America.

Congress 2008, the annual gathering of researchers and policy makers representing 70 disciplines, takes place from May 31 to June 8 at the University of B.C.

“It’s a festival of ideas,” said Jody Ciufo, executive director of the Canadian Federation of the Humanities and Social Sciences.


Researchers and graduate students in fields like political science, geography and social work, will present research papers and receive feedback and criticism in more than 4,000 sessions.

They range from foreign policy in Afghanistan and government’s role in the oil sands to why women join terrorist organizations and even impolite responses to failed humour.

“People respond to those ideas, challenge them, reinforce them,” Ciufo said. “It’s all about — not just sharing what’s already there — but it’s a way of building on the knowledge itself.”

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