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Chad Gaffield, FRSC
Board Director | RSC Past-President
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Year of Induction: 
2005
Mandate: 
2019-2021

BIOGRAPHY

Educated at McGill University and the University of Toronto, Professor Chad Gaffield has been for more than three decades at the leading edge internationally of the field now known as Digital Humanities. Along the way, he has become one of Canada’s leading historians of the deep cultural, social and economic changes of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries with special reference to the socio-cultural question of language. In addition, he as served in many leadership positions, including serving as President and CEO of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (2006-2014). In this role, he was responsible for multiple tri-council programs and was a member of the Board of Directors of the Canada Foundation for Innovation. He is currently Distinguished University Professor and University Research Chair in Digital Scholarship at the University of Ottawa.  

By developing and integrating digitally-enabled approaches into his research, Professor Gaffield’s award-winning books and articles on topics such as the changing minority-majority relationships of French-language and English-language communities have enhanced our understanding of the complex and multiple ways that individual and family life connected to the large-scale cultural and social transformations between the mid-19th and mid-20th centuries. 

Professor Gaffield has served as President of the Canadian Historical Association and President of the Humanities and Social Sciences Federation of Canada as well as in diverse research granting agencies including Genome Canada and the Fonds de recherche du Québec.  

Elected RSC Fellow, Professor Gaffield received in 2002 the RSC’s J.B. Tyrrell Historical Medal and, in 2007, the Province of Ontario’s Prix de la francophonie for his research on the history of French-language communities. The international Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations presented him with their top award in 2012, the Antonio Zampolli Prize, given every three years for “innovative use of information and communications technologies in the digital humanities.” Professor Gaffield received the Outstanding Achievement Award for Computing in the Arts and Humanities given by the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities-Société canadienne des humanités numériques in 2015. Carleton University awarded Professor Gaffield the Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, and he was appointed Officer of the Order of Canada in 2017.