May 19, 2022

The Canadian Hermeneutic Institute marks 13 years

International conference co-founded by by UCalgary Nursing's Dr. Nancy Moules brings multi-disciplinary scholars of hermeneutic philosophy and hermeneutic research together
Conference attendees at 2017 CHI, Calgary
Conference attendees at 2017 CHI, Calgary Courtesy of Nancy Moules

The Canadian Hermeneutic Institute (CHI) will mark its 13th year in 2022, continuing the tradition of a themed presentation by an invited hermeneutic scholar (this year, Professor David Vessey from Grand Valley State University, Michigan) and papers presented by attendees. The CHI, cofounded in 2009 by UCalgary Nursing’s Dr. Nancy Moules (RN, PhD’00) and Drs. Nancy Johnston (York University) and Deborah McLeod (Dalhousie University/Capital Health) brings together scholars of hermeneutic philosophy and hermeneutic research across disciplines in creative dialogue and conversations of philosophy, research and practice.

“The community created by CHI is so profoundly influential in my own thinking, research and teaching and I do not feel my students would be as advanced and expert as they are if not for it,” says Moules, chair of the institute and professor and associate dean, research for UCalgary Nursing. Ongoing support from the faculty, event planner Amanda Barber (Capitol Conferences), and the many international scholars (Villanova University professor John D Caputo, Boston College’s Professor Richard Kearney and Professor Nicholas Davey from the University of Dundee, UK to name a few) has enabled CHI to gain global interest and support and will take place, as it did in 2021, virtually, from June 1st to the 3rd.  The first conference was held in Halifax and has criss-crossed the country in subsequent years — from Toronto to Calgary and will be an in-person event once again in Calgary in 2023.

Theodore George

2018 visiting scholar Ted George, CHI, Calgary

Courtesy of Nancy Moules

Hermeneutics is a philosophy of interpretation, the tenets of which can be applied in research. Noted philosopher, hermeneutic researcher, and head of the Department of Philosophy at Texas A&M University, Theodore “Ted” George, says participation in the Canadian Hermeneutics institute is to be part of something “exquisite.

“The CHI couples the most rigorous standards of theoretical inquiry with an uncompromising attention to the practical demands of applied research.

More than this, however, the CHI fosters an intellectual environment that brings scholars at every stage of career together, values the importance of earnest questions and every voice, and inspires new ideas.

- Ted George

"As a philosopher who specializes in hermeneutics, the CHI has been a significant influence on my research and an unparalleled opportunity to develop friendships and collaborate with colleagues across a number of disciplines,” says George, who was the 2018 CHI visiting scholar and again in 2021.

UCalgary Nursing has now become a hub for hermeneutic scholarly work largely due to the work by Moules, a prominent hermeneutic researcher herself, and is also the source of the Journal of Applied Hermeneutics. “In 2011, Professor Kearney, who was our visiting scholar in Calgary that year, initiated the idea of a journal as a vehicle to showcase the work of hermeneutics in its application to topics that inhabit our lives and professions, making the subtle interpretability of the world visible and available,” says Moules, who is its editor.

Co-founders Deborah McLeod (from left), Nancy Moules and Nancy Johnston with visiting scholar Richard Kearney, 2011

Co-founders Deborah McLeod (from left), Nancy Moules and Nancy Johnston with visiting scholar Richard Kearney, 2011

Courtesy of Nancy Moules

UCalgary Nursing dean, Dr. Sandra Davidson (PhD) agrees that the faculty has  greatly benefitted from being the hub of Canadian hermeneutic nursing research. “Having both the Journal and the CHI originating from here allows us to attract students and researchers interested in this methodology,” she acknowledges.

We are so proud to host the institute that has become internationally known.

- Sandra Davidson

Like the Journal, CHI is not restricted to discipline of nursing and nursing scholars of hermeneutics. “Yearly, the institute is populated by many members in other practice disciplines such as education, counselling psychology and social work, as well as scholars of philosophy that come internationally, particularly of hermeneutic philosophy and other forms of continental philosophy,” explains Moules.

Indeed, the work of CHI has been evident in resulting mention in a recent book by Professor Caputo (philosophy) with a chapter titled “Gadamerian Nurses” and an invitation to Moules to contribute a chapter in the 2022 book The Gadamerian Mind (T. George & G-J. van der Heiden, Eds., Routledge).

This year’s CHI is still open for registration. Please visit for details on this year’s program and how to register.